Identifying a Top NYC Web Designer: What to Look For?

Mar 16, 2018 -- Posted by : andrew

Overhead view of web designer materials

There are an estimated 129, 000 plus web developers in the U.S. and most them live and work in California and New York 1. So, if finding the right NYC web designer feels like finding a needle in a haystack, you’re not alone. Don’t risk getting burned by an amateur web designer. Your website and business are far too important. Instead, use this post to weed through potential candidates to find the very best person or agency for the job.

What’s at Stake?

If you’re looking for a web designer, you already know how important your website is. With nearly 200 million individuals shopping online (by the way, that’s more than half the U.S. population)2, it’s essential that your website fulfills its purpose. But, what exactly does that mean? What’s at stake?

A high-quality website—that’s one that looks great, loads fast, engages audience members, and makes a persuasive case for your business—has the potential to:

  • Attract new customers
  • Increase brand awareness
  • Generate sales
  • Give you a competitive edge over the competition

However, a low-quality website—that’s one that’s visually unappealing, loads slowly, fails to engage audience members, and frustrates prospects—can:

  • Turn away customers for good
  • Cost you sales
  • Destroy your credibility
  • Prompt consumers to lose trust in your brand
  • Lead to business failure

Given the overwhelming value of investing in a high-quality website and the potential cost of going with a low-quality website, working with a professional web designer is well worth the investment.

But, how do you choose the right web designer for your business?

Let’s take a look.

What to Look for When Deciding on a Web designer in NY

NYC web designer at work

You know what you want to accomplish with your website, and maybe you have a sense for how you want it to look? That’s a great starting point. You’ll want to share that information with potential web designers. So, let’s start there and look at what to keep an eye out for when hiring a web designer or web design agency.

1. Evidence that they’re listening to you

You are the expert when it comes to your business and your industry. You know your audience best. You’re extremely familiar with your products and services, and you have a gut feeling about what will work and what won’t. You need to share this with each web designer while explaining your vision and they need to listen. If you don’t feel like the designer or agency is listening to you, run away. Your website needs to present your business to the world. It’s not the pet project of an artistic ego.

Here a few signs that the designer is actively listening to you:

  • They take notes and ask thought provoking follow up questions
  • They can paraphrase what you’ve said
  • They know your top goals and their suggestions for accomplishing them align with what you’ve shared

2. An ability to contribute expertise and knowledge

Web designers are creative individuals, but they also need the skills and abilities to turn their creativity into a viable, fast-loading, high-quality website. Look to see that the web designer has their own ideas that enhance and expand yours. You’ll also want to ask them about their technical skills and how they plan to implement all the ideas they’ve discussed. It’s okay to expect them to tell you how they will accomplish the job.

Here are a few signs that the designer can do a good job:

  • They aren’t shy about sharing how they’ll execute a creative vision
  • They can speak specifically to time frames, color choices, etc.
  • They give their expert opinion
  • They aren’t afraid to tell you when they don’t think something you want will work
  • They’re more than willing to keep you in the loop throughout the project

3. They won't touch a website unless it will be responsive

Because the number of individuals browsing the web with smartphones and mobile devices has increased dramatically, it’s almost unethical these days to encourage a business to create a website that isn’t responsive—that is a website that doesn’t load well on smartphones and mobile devices. Any web designer you hire should know how to design a responsive website.

Regarding responsive design, look for a web designer who:

  • Automatically brings up creating a responsive website
  • Suggests creating a separate mobile friendly website if necessary (though this is usually not the preferred method)

4. They use evidence-based design choices

Heat maps and other types of software have made it possible for marketers to see which parts of a website attract the most attention and engagement from consumers. Your designer should base their design decisions on such data because a “pretty website” isn’t sufficient. Websites must convert and that means the right designs need to be in the right places, surrounded by the right text.

A designer that uses data to inform their design choices will:

  • Direct you toward certain decisions while supporting their decision with evidence
  • Be able to justify their choices with data
  • Approach your project with practicality and creativity—not just a desire to produce art
  • Appreciate and be aware of modern design trends but believe trendy isn’t always best for every business—some organizations; for example, those in the B2B world, usually have reasons to stay away from trendy features like sliders. Research shows some of what’s considered trendy annoys B2B professionals on websites.

NYC web designer’s laptop with dollar bills on it

5. They charge fairly for their work

While it’s tempting to use the cheapest designer, you’re probably doing yourself and your business a disservice if you do. If you want professional work, you need to be prepared to pay professional prices.

If a designer tells you they’ll create a completely custom website for $2,000, run! What they will probably do is adjust a template theme in a site like WordPress. That’s NOT custom. So, it won’t be what you’re expecting to get from your investment.

Remember what’s at stake with your website. A high-quality website can launch your business into a brighter future. A low-quality website, on the other hand, can put you out of business. So, invest wisely. If done properly, the one-time fee you pay for website design services will pay for itself repeatedly for years.

How to Get Started with a NYC Web Designer

Now that you know what to look for, you’re ready to get out there and interview some web designers!

To get started, you’ll want to search for NYC web designers on the internet or ask friends and colleagues for a referral. Once you find a few you’re interested in working with, vet their website. You want them to design yours, so you should absolutely be evaluating them based on theirs.

Use the quality of their website to narrow your list of choices and reach out to the 3-5 designers you like best. Discuss your needs with them and keep an eye out for the five things we mentioned in this post using the tips we provided.

If you follow the advice outlined here, you’ll be well on your way to success, and your experience with the website designer you choose will be far more pleasant than if you went into the web design process blind.

Sources:

  1. https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151134.htm
  2. http://fortune.com/2016/06/08/online-shopping-increases/

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