You may wonder what on earth a website designer does and how he or she can help you get your website up and running. Maybe you wonder if being a website designer is for you. Let’s take a look and see.
You may be thinking about a freelance website designer but there are web developers employed across a wide range of businesses. They can be freelancers but many of them are employed either directly by the firm that they work for or by a sub-contractor brought in by the business needing the skills.
For example, the UK government’s website Govuk was designed by people from the Cabinet Office called the Government Digital Service It’s a great, award winning website, by the way. It is really easy to use and helps a lot of people interact with various government departments on a daily basis.
Further aspects of a web designers job include:
As with any job, the list goes on.
The freelancer web developer will also need to run his or her business and carry out all of the functions that any business needs, such as finding clients, interacting with them, and keeping financial records as well as delivering web development work for customers.
There is nothing to stop you from educating yourself to become a web designer. Indeed, many people have established a successful career, either self-employed or working for a web design agency, purely by learning everything themselves.
There are many books and courses available, including some wonderful ones which are free on edx.org.
You would need to be careful and do some research if you want to become an employee because employers may want to see formal qualifications. There are national higher diplomas and degrees in suitable subjects, for instance. Make sure that you understand exactly what potential employers want so that your efforts are best placed.
Your web designer can have a huge effect on your business. Really, they can. A well-designed web site that ranks highly on the search engines and which converts web visitors into customers well can change a failing business to a viable one or good one to becoming wildly successful.
Remember, people do not look at page 2 or 3 of a web search. Get on to the first page of results and you can do well, get to numbers one to 3 and you can do very, very well. You can go back to the homepage here.
So, find out what research your potential web developer will do beforehand. They need to know your business, your competitors, and what you are trying to achieve with your website. They certainly need to understand what your potential customers are putting into the search engines and matching these to your web site.
There are various types of website developer. Some do all the work themselves, some outsource certain parts of it, and some get other people to do all of the work. Find out which it is and how happy you are with the answers. Do you really want your website made by someone in a far-flung part of the world?
There are developers who only use a particular platform. WordPress and Joomla are popular and can do a great job. Other developers use a language to code your website from scratch. This can lead to a very fast and well-designed website but can be more expensive. You will want to know which it is because a WordPress website needs updating monthly, for instance, whilst you will need a more specialist website developer to update your site in the future if it is made in html5.
Future maintenance and how much it is going to cost are key issues. Some people have websites that are built once and never touched again and do their job perfectly well. The cost of the website hosting, and where your website is hosted, is a key point as this will be an ongoing cost. How will update the plugins on your WordPress website? What is the cost for the developer to do this for you and can your website developer show you how to do this yourself if you wish?
There are questions to ask about how the transaction will proceed. Find out what you willed pay and at what stage and what will happen if you are not happy with the finished article. You should discover how long the whole thing will take. Most developers will show you their work as it progresses but ask them how many revisions are available once the site is finished. Normally, it is two.
It is always good practice to see if there are previous clients who you can contact for a reference and to view their websites.
Once it is online your website has its files stored on a server which is what website visitors see when they look at the site. You should find out who gets the original files. It is work that you have paid for so you should get a copy of them. That means that you can then go to another web designer in the future if you need to do so.
Finally, check if you will actually own the website once it is completed. The domain name should be registered in your name (or your company’s name) so check that this will be the case and that you get the paperwork to prove it. Otherwise, the developer will own the domain and effectively the website. This may be ok but it means that the web developer has control of the website. They could forget to renew the domain, which means that someone else could buy it, or put up the price of renewing it in the future. Make sure that you own the domain name.