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Today, having a functional and well-designed website isn't just a nice thing for a business to have; it's an essential part of competing in our digitized and connected world. In fact, it's fair to say that a business's website is their link to the wider world; it's a place where current customers stay connected and new customers make contact. It can be a company's most effective marketing tool and their brand ambassador to the public at large.
The importance of a business's website cannot be overstated. Studies have shown that 70% to 80% of people will look into a company online before visiting them in person or making a purchase. That means that a company's website will often create the very first impression that a prospective customer gets, and if it's a bad one, it will likely be the only impression they ever have.
If you're a business owner or manager, that means that choosing a website designer that will help put your company's best foot forward can be one of the most important business decisions you ever make. Still, without experience in design or a frame of reference to aid in the choice, it can be difficult to make a good, informed decision. For the business owner that has never commissioned a website, here are the four key traits of skilled web designers.
Skilled Website Designers Communicate Clearly
The first key trait you will always find in a skilled web designer is excellent communication skills. Since they will be responsible for not only the design of the site but also for bridging the knowledge gap between themselves and their novice customers, their ability to communicate is of paramount importance. It should be possible to gauge their proficiency from the moment you first contact them. If your first conversation results in anything other than a feeling that you're already on the same page, it's already time to move on.
Skilled Website Developers Are Flexible
A skilled website designer should be capable and willing to build the website their customer requests, and not only the type of site that they feel like producing. Visit this website for an example - a single look at their website makes it clear that you won't be subject to a one-size-fits-all approach, and that's as it should be. Unfortunately, it's become a trend for website design teams to adopt a strict templating approach, which robs their clients of a unique site that stands out from the crowd. If your potential designer won't be flexible, you won't be happy with the end result.
Web Design Experts Understand SEO
When building a business website, plenty of attention must be paid to aesthetics. After all, every business wants a website that will wow its' visitors. Skilled website developers, however, understand that even the most beautiful website in the world will be useless if nobody can find it. That means they should be adept at weaving SEO-friendly features into every design. They should also be able to articulate to their customers the reason that they've settled on a particular mixture of features, and how that will benefit the site's ultimate placement among search results. If they can't (or won't) do that, walk away.
A Skilled Web Design Team Is Technically Adept
It may sound like a no-brainer, but to be a skilled designer, one must also be technically adept. A surprising number of website designers these days have excellent design credentials, but little in the way of in-depth technical knowledge. In practice, that means that they'll struggle with complex backend integrations and things like database management and website security. In a world where small business websites are attacked an average of 44 times a day, that won't cut it. When choosing a design expert, if they're all style and no substance, you're asking for trouble.
Designed to Thrive
If you manage to hire web developers that possess these four key traits, you'll be well on your way to a business website that you'll not only love, but one that will be safe, secure, and built to bring in an audience. It's also a safe bet that you will have found a collaborator that will take the time to understand your business, and help you to understand theirs. In the end, you'll make the kind of team that it takes to create something special – and isn't that exactly what you want your business website to be?
Andre Smith is a marketing specialist, blogs about IT (cloud computing), small business and human resources.View Andre Smith`s profile for more