How to find the best web designers near you. This can be a difficult task, and even when you think you’ve picked the right designer for you, you may still have doubts.
This post on how to find the best web designers near you is designed to make this process easier and to get rid of any doubts you may have once you have made your mind up.
So let’s get right to it!
Make a list
The very first thing you need to do is make a list of all the designers you’d like to work with. Whether it be local or national, simply put the ones you like the look of in your list.
The reason you want to make a list is so you can tick off the ones you are going to consider and the cross off the bad ones.
This helps not only lets you keep track of your potential designers, but also makes carrying out the upcoming checks easier, as you can make a note of all the pros and cons of each next to their names.
A nice example to make this super clear:
- No testimonials
- Small portfolio
- Badly designed website
- Large portfolio
- Well designed website
- No testimonials
- Medium portfolio
- Badly designed website
This is by no means a complete comparison list, it’s just a snippet of what you could include. But, as you can imagine, once the list is complete, you will get a much clearer picture of the ones you’d consider and the ones you would cross off.
The very first thing you want to do is search for actual designers/design agencies.
Once you’ve done this, visit their website and get an overall feel of each.
You will generally get a feel if you like them or not from looking at the website.
After all, their website will generally match the direction of the type of work they produce. Unless of course, the designer has used a theme for their work.
This is one more thing to look out for, does the design/agency use themes or builders for their websites and even client work.
If they do, this can make any work they produce have similarities between one another. Here is why you want to stay away from website software builders.
Cost, cost, cost. This is usually the thing that comes to mind when looking for work (design work) to be carried out.
First things first, ignore the cost of any services you see when compiling your list.
What we mean is that, if you think the services are a bit pricey put this thought to the side.
You want to look at the quality of work based on the price.
Ask yourself, does the work seem good for the cost?
If the designer includes a package, put the cost to the side for the time being. What you want to look at is what they include for each package.
Packages are not always the best, however, so keep this in mind. Here’s why.
The next step after seeing any costs of services is to look at the designer’s portfolio of work.
This is the section that everyone will go to first or second after seeing a glaring section on packages (if the designer uses the package system).
Firstly, look at the quality of the featured listing image. Is it well put together, have they included a meaningful image or have they just plonked any old image for the featured image.
You can tell by clicking through the portfolio piece and judging whether or not the featured image properly relates to what you are currently looking at.
If so, the designer has put thought into what to include for the featured listing image.
This is a good sign the designer cares about their work.
Secondly, look at what’s included in the portfolio piece.
The things you want to look out for are:
- Good introduction to the portfolio piece
- Good follow up imagery/graphics
- The process of what was required to complete the project
- Does what is represented match the real project?
For an example of a good portfolio piece, see our piece on Robbie Thompson (fitness coach) that covers branding, digital marketing, e-commerce, web design.
This is a prime example of what a portfolio piece should look like and be made up of.
If you get a feeling the designer is trying to hide something in there work, or just adding it to “fill” up their portfolio section, make a note of this on your list next to the designer/design agency.
Look for active content on the web designers website. If there is plenty of content (blog posts, client work) available this means the web designer actively maintains their website and cares about what people see.
They also care about how your project (client work) looks on their site.
This benefits both parties, potentially free advertising for you and to entice future potential clients.
Have consistent updates in content means the web designer is focused on organic SEO.
Organic means not paying for their site to be fully search engine optimised.
Not paying for SEO is not bad by any means. Here is a post to help get you started with digital marketing, focusing on organic SEO can take time, a long time. As a matter of fact, it can take nearly a full year to start seeing any results.
What this means is that the web designer actively focuses on their work.
This means when they come to complete a web project for you, you can be sure you will be consistently dealt with. It won’t just be a quick and sign off job, then forget about you.
A web designer that focuses on content and organic SEO will want the same for you, this is because this is how they operate.
However, if you do want a quick SEO then paid SEO can easily be planned out.
If this was the latter (stale un-updated website), this is a sign that they simply do not care what potential clients see. They only care whether or not they are being paid.
At this point, if there is plenty of content all over the place. Make sure to monitor updates over a period of time.
This way you can really make sure content is consistently updated.
It isn’t just content on the website you want to look out for. You want to see what social media channels the web designer is on and whether or not they are actively maintained.
Social media channels to look out for include:
If the social media channels are well maintained, this is a good sign the web designer cares about current clients and future clients. It also means they are transparent about how they operate.
What we mean by transparent is that the web designer is open to opinions, feedback and reviews when they share content.
This is because people can easily comment and message on these channels.
This is super good because through communicating on these channels, you as the client can get instant responses and the web designer can get to know you (target audience).
This means they know how to treat you properly and what to expect when they come to complete a web project for you.
If there is limited to none, this means the web designer does not want:
- To spend the time on these extra channels
- See or respond to any comments
- Does not care about spreading their work (your work if it’s a portfolio piece)
How do they Communicate
We have just talked about communicating through social media, but there are other ways in which a web designer can communicate with you.
- Are they willing to come out and talk to you in person?
- Do they have readily available email/phone communication
- Do they use forms on their website?
- Do they actively use social media to communicate?
The answer should be yes to all.
This is because everyone has their own preferred method of getting in touch with someone.
Not only this, but different situations call for different forms of communication.
- A general inquiry could be completed through email
- An emergency could be completed over the phone
- A quick question could be asked through social media chat
One thing we haven’t covered yet is a live chat on the web designer’s website.
This is actually one of the more popular ways in which people like to communicate.
This is because it’s super handy and easy to use.
You don’t have to move away from the page you are on, nor you have to phone them.
This is one area to look out for as if the web designer cannot be bothered to respond to any requests or talk to you, this feature would not be available.
Regarding social media, you can see how a web designer/agency talks to other people.
This has already been mentioned, but you really want to see your web designer communicates with people.
The very last thing you want is negative responses or no response at all to any problems you have.
One other way to compare designers is by looking on upwork, Fiverr etc. directories. This is kind of like going to Moneysupermarket or GoCompare to compare insurance quotes. But instead, you get a list of designers and their work.
These directories make it very easy to find and compare designers and can take the leg work out of doing manual searches on the old search engine.
This is because you can apply very specific filters to filter out the very designers you want.
You can filter the type of work you need to be done, the cost when you need the work done by and more!
However, these sites are not always the best to use. Keep an eye out for our future post on why we do not recommend using these types of sites to get work done.
One other place you can look is Dribble. Dribble is a place where designers can show off their work.
Be sure to check out if they use Dribbble and look at any work they have posted as well as any comments the work receives.
Once you have looked at some work and are happy with what the designer/agency outputs. The next step is to find out their process.
For any good work, a good process needs to be defined.
This is so that no steps are missed and no shortcuts taken. This means the process must be well regimented.
If a well-designed process is in place it will generally show in the work.
A general process could consist of the following:
- The importance of a specific area (branding, web design, digital marketing)
- The Discovery session
- Building ideas
For a real-life example of a good process, check out our web page.
Having a process also means the web designer will have an immediate plan of action and will know every step to take to get your project completed.
Having a process does not make your project generic, however. For example, for a web project, there will be a wireframing session in the process.
Wireframing websites is a must for every website. The next step after this is the design, but a good web designer will make every design and functionality unique.
Reviews and testimonials.
These are two very obvious steps to carry out, and you probably do this anyway.
There are various ways to find reviews and testimonials:
- Visit the designer’s website
- Find them on directories such as Fiverr
- Google reviews
- Trust Pilot
- Social media
Social media is a very good, if not, the best way to find out what people really say about a designer/design agency.
This is also a very good way to find out how a designer/agency interacts with their clients.
This is because they can easily comment and gather more feedback on each individual post.
Look at clients
Make sure you know what types of clients the web designer works with.
You want to know this so that you can have a look at their websites and find out how well they are doing.
- Does the website function as it should?
- Is there good call to actions?
- Is the user experience good?
- Is the design good?
You also want to know how big the clients are. If the web designer has worked with the likes of
- Georg Jenson
Then you know they must know what they are really doing.
Attend Local Events
Attending local events is a very good way to find out what a web designer is like in person.
A good type of event to attend is a networking event. At these events, the web designer will have spent time setting up their stand advertising their services and any merchandise they have.
While at these events you can ask the questions that would normally be asked over the phone, social media and email etc. In person.
Meeting a person is the best way to get a feel of them and see how passionate they really care about their work.
This will also show through their stand. Have they put much effort into the presentation? Does it not look tacky?
You can also ask them technical questions if they provide a clear and concise answer they know what they are doing.
One other thing to point out when attending events. Listen to what other people are saying about a specific web designer.
If you hear someone talking about the web designer, don’t be afraid to talk to them and get involved. You never know, they might have had a recent project completed by the web designer.
Look out for Bad Signs
One way to spot any negative areas is by looking at:
- Does the website have clear and concise navigation
- Is there cross-links between pages
- Are categories/tags properly used on content
- Does the website feel good to use
- Does the overall design work?
Put simply, if the navigation is not clear or concise, it can have an impact on SEO.
This post covers all the points mentioned above, so be sure to check it out.
But in short, if you have a bad feeling about any of the above, it is usually a sign to stay away.
This is because if the web designer’s website doesn’t sit right, it also means you could potentially end up with a bad website.
If you have any doubts at this point, be sure to check out the portfolio of work.
Prepare a Good Proposal
One of the best things you can do when looking for a web project is to complete a proposal.
A project proposal might consist of:
- Your company, what you do, etc.
- Your company’s proficiencies
- The potential client’s need
- How you can meet the need
- The timeframes & milestones
- How much the project will cost (desired cost)
Having a good and proper proposal makes the setup/planning process a breeze.
The web designer will have a good idea of what you want, they can then put their proposal together and present it to you.
The proposal you receive will give you (usually) up to three options with different price points.
Here is a nice website checklist for you to go over if you are contemplating a new web project.
What you want to do when starting a conversation is to give good context. If you make a proposal that you can send to numerous web designers (when looking for one). You will be able to consolidate this down into a nice summary that will fit in the message box (if you are using a form).
Good web designers will respond to good proposals, if you put little or no effort into the initial communication, such as “hello, I need branding” along with nothing else.
Yes, these types of requests happen and these are generally be moved to the side.
Arrange a Meeting
Arranging a meeting means the web designer wants to put time aside to meet you. Having a meeting is a good way to get to know the web designer and get a feel of them.
Things to ask yourself include:
- Are they engaged?
- Are they motivated?
- Are they asking appropriate questions?
- Giving you clear concise answers?
If the answer is no to any of the above this is a sign that you might want to reconsider your chosen web designer.
This is because if they lack motivation, are they going to be motivated throughout your project? If they aren’t giving clear or concise answers, do they know what they are talking about?
Generally speaking, you will know yourself if the web designer feels right.
What Services do they Provide
A good web designer will provide numerous services on top of “just making websites”.
These services will generally include:
- Web design
- Digital marketing
If they provide digital marketing (and they should), this means once your web project is completed a digital marketing plan will be put in place.
This means you will be cared for once the web designer has finished your project.
What the Team is made up of
When looking for any web project, you should find out how the web designer/agency operates.
Is there a dedicated designer and developer, or is it a shared workload (freelancer or team member) where one person does both design and development.
The one thing to look out for is a dedicated designer and developer.
We could go in-depth on this topic, but we have a post on reasons to work with a professional web design agency that will answer any questions you may have at this point.
Conclusion: How to Find the Best Web Designers Near You
Finding a good web designer is very important. It ensures the success of your web project.
Even more so if you are wanting to have good organic SEO.
Going through each of the points made in this post will ensure you end up with a good web designer.
Here is a brief list:
- Make a list
- Compare websites
- Social media
- How do they Communicate
- Read Reviews
- Look at Clients
- Attend Local Events
- Look out for Bad Signs
- Prepare a Good Proposal
- Arrange a Meeting
- What Services do they Provide
- What the Team is made up of
if you are interested in having a web project completed, be sure to check us out.
reading time: 16 minutes