10 facts about freelance web designers you didn’t know
Posted on 10th September 2018 by Phil Ainley MCIM
Web design and development is a technical skill. It requires a lot of hard work, study, research and a good web designer will have countless hours of experience under their belt.
Most web designers don’t get involved in the day-to-day running and marketing of the business they work in. Why would they? There are business managers and directors for those tasks.
So, it’s little surprise to find that a lot of web designers have great difficulty finding business and running their business when they start out as freelancers.
1. They are developers, not marketers or business managers
Web designers are not marketers. Nor are they graphic designers or business managers. Because of this many web designers find it difficult when they start out as freelancers. Running your own business, no matter what it’s size may be, is tough and a large portion of web designers and developers will turn to contracting through an agency, rather than freelancing, so they don’t have to deal with PAYE, tax and National Insurance contributions.
Like most employees who make the jump to self-employment, they have the skills needed for their job, but don’t necessarily have the skills needed to run a business and market it to attract clients.
UK freelance statistics show there are approximately 1.4 million freelancers in the UK. This number has grown by 14% in the past decade.
2. They are not copywriters
A good web designer will produce a stunning, yet simple to use website for you. But do not expect them to write your webpage copy for you. They are not writers, nor do they know your business or your industry sector.
You are the expert in your business sector, so it is up to you to work with a copywriter to ensure your website copy is accurate and written with on-page search engine optimisation in mind.
3. Photoshop is not their core skill
When someone speaks about design, people immediately think of Photoshop or WordPress. For a web designer, Photoshop and WordPress are only a couple of the tools in their Arsenal. Skills they carry include coding for php and html. They can write CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and integrate databases into eCommerce systems.
Some website designers prefer not to work with WordPress, preferring Magento or even older platforms such as Dreamweaver for their development work.
4. They can lack confidence in their work
Web designers will always worry that a client won’t like something about the website they’ve produced for them. They try so hard to think like the user, so they can design an intuitive website for them. This leads to a lot of A/B testing and can ultimately provide more questions than answers.
When you meet with your web designer, bear this in mind. They will have results, stats, figures to show you, but they will ultimately want you to make the final decision on which course of action to take.
5. They are passionate about their job
Web designers are so committed to their jobs that they can often talk for hours about pixels, php and other coding languages. Even when they are not working, many web designers are thinking about new ideas for projects they have on the go, constantly trying to come up with more efficient solutions to making their websites better.
As the client you will benefit from this passion by receiving a website that is the very best it can be, simply because passion makes designers care more about their work.
6. They always go the extra mile without the credit they deserve
Many web designers will commit more time on your website design than they have quoted for it. As will most design disciplines, working on one aspect of a project can lead to new ideas for another aspect. This can easily double the agreed time spent on a website design.
The good news is that most web designers are happy to do this for you to produce the best results possible. Remember, it costs nothing to say thank you and show a little appreciation, but the returns you gain from it can be huge.
7. They can understand what a client wants to achieve
Years of experience teaches the web designer to decipher what a client is trying to say and understand what the client wants to achieve from their website. A good web designer will be able to do this very quickly and you will see your vision of your new website on-screen in a short time.
Pick an inexperienced web designer, or one that may be offering ‘cheap’ web design services and you may find you get a completely different result to what you want.
8. They know what it takes
Don’t think that when a web designer says it will take a long time to create a website, or make amendments, with a cost over your budget that they are trying it on. They’re not.
Web designers know how much work is involved, even for what can be construed as the simplest of tasks. Usually, the simpler something appears online, the more time it has taken to achieve.
9. When they say your website may be too old, it would be worth listening to them
It’s difficult to comprehend, but even a website that is 2 years old can be out of date. The internet moves at a break-neck speed and shows no signs of slowing down. Google continues to make updates, such as the recent ‘broad core’ algorithm update in August.
As a result, all web design professionals have to work hard to stay up-to-date with the latest coding standards, browser compatibility updates and search engine algorithms.
There are still thousands of active websites that are not responsive to mobile devices. Although, desktop computers still make up the lion’s share of website visits, this won’t last much longer with mobiles being preferred by millennials. Mobile devices now account for nearly 2 out of every 3 minutes spent online.
Your website design could make or break your online sales conversions. According to SWEOR, 75% of consumers admit to making judgements about a company’s credibility based on its website design. If your website carries an old design, it could impact on your business.
According to Blue Corona, 48% of users say that if they arrive on a business website that doesn’t work well on a mobile, they take it as an indication of the business simply not caring.
85% of adults think that a company’s website when viewed on a mobile should be at least as good, if not better, than its desktop version. This is probably true, a good mobile website will enhance the customer’s user experience, which in-turn will help increase the time they spend on your website and help to increase online sales and other conversions such as signing up for your newsletter.
77% of agencies believe that a bad website User Experience is a weakness for their clients.
Is it time to update your website?
10. They are devils for detail
Just like hunting animals, web designers have highly attuned senses. They can find the smallest inaccuracies and discrepancies. This skill is vital for their role as they have to sift through thousands of lines of code to find and amend errors.
What does this all mean?
Bear these points in mind when working with your website designer, or when you are looking for a website designer to revamp your current website.
Web designers are not magicians, yet some of the results they produce can be magical. Throughout your relationship with your web designer treat them with respect, give them credit where it is due, and don’t ask them to undertake work that is not part of their skills set.
Above all, if you have an old website, particularly if it is not responsive to mobiles, consider an update. It could help to improve your business.
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