Choosing a freelance web designer; creative, techie or perfect mix?
Finding a web designer to suit your needs can be a bit of a minefield, particularly if you don’t really know how to judge one from another. How do you choose? And what exactly is a web designer?
The web designer revealed
If you go to a web design agency, web design teams will often be split into a ‘backend’ technical team and a ‘frontend’ creative team, all of whom may be referred to as web designers or web developers. These will most likely be bound together by good project management and probably involve additional web editorial or marketing input to bring the content of the website to life. So, when you choose a freelancer you are trying to find one person who either has varying degrees of all the above skillsets themselves, or who has access to these skillsets. No easy task!
Technical and creative teamwork
One way of getting to grips with the different roles played by the tecchies and the creatives is to think of the technical team as the mechanics who roll their sleeves up and get into the nitty gritty of designing the engine of the website; the database, the scripting and code. The creative team are like the interior designers furnishing the interior of the car and spraying on the paint. As well as the visual creatives you have the wordsmith creatives who lure visitors from the home page deeper into the site through their clever copywriting that makes visitors want to read more.
Match your freelancer’s strengths with your business needs
Understanding the different roles played when you have a whole team of people working on your website will help you understand what to look for in a freelancer. Most likely the freelancer’s strength will lie in one of the above areas and they may be weaker in the other areas. For example, you may have someone who is a whiz at the technical stuff but not so hot at the graphic design; and, is a site that is functional but perhaps not so visually appealing likely to achieve your goals? On the other hand, you may find someone whose visual designs look amazing but whose copy lacks the sparkle to entice prospects beyond the home page. As with most things it is all about weighing up what is most important to you and your business requirements.
At least if you are aware of whether your web designer’s roots lay in the tecchie, visual or marketing sphere you will be clear about what you are getting for your money and where their potential strengths and weaknesses may lie. And, if you’re really lucky you will find someone who is strong in all areas!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Julia Odgers has over 10 years professional experience of web design and online marketing. She is currently working as a freelance web designer based between Poole and Bournemouth in Dorset focusing on offering affordable websites to small businesses and individuals. Visit her online at http://www.juliaodgers.co.uk