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How – and Why – to Choose a Website Designer

Using a website designer will give your business the “professional edge”. Briefed properly, a designer will be able to give your business a strong brand identity and will be able to communicate the benefits of working with you to your target market.

Before you go rushing ahead leaping on the first designer you come across, you need to make sure that you have the right designer for you and your business, and understand what different designers do.

A graphic designer will have probably come up through art school and have learned their “˜trade’ and developed their skills in a marketing agency. They will be used to taking a brief and creating a corporate logo and identity, and then translate that into any marketing collateral that you may choose to utilise (for instance, website, brochure, compliment slip, letterheads, adverts, direct mail piece, T-Shirts and so on).

A website designer will generally have “˜just’ learned to create websites, and will be skilled at communicating your brand via your website. They will understand website structure, search engine optimisation and how to add e-commerce (eg PayPal) capabilities and so on.

A website programmer will more than likely work alongside a designer: they take the design and then do the actual creation of the website with all the clever techie bits. My husband is an IT Director and is very clever with all things technical. He can create a website and make it do all sorts of clever, technical things, but he is NOT a designer and would never attempt the design element. So, make sure that you’re briefing a designer, not a programmer. Some designers can do the programming, but programmers (on their own) generally can’t design.

Before deciding which route to go, you need to decide the following:
– Why you need a website (you may not);
– What you need it to do for you;
– What will be on it;
– What other marketing collateral you are likely to need over time.

If you need a website and nothing else, I would be tempted to go with a website designer. If you need the whole “shebang” – ie corporate identity, letterhead, compliment slips etc, then go with a graphic designer who also does websites, or works with a programmer alongside them.

If you need a logo created and then a website, but nothing else, then a good website designer should be able to do that for you. However you need to brief in the logo first and get that right before you move on to briefing the website.

Next week I’ll talk in a little more detail about how to get the best out of your chosen designer.

Have a great week,
Kim.