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When hiring a WordPress website designer, it’s crucial to avoid common pitfalls that can lead to dissatisfaction and wasted resources. One of the most common mistakes is not clearly defining your project requirements. Without a detailed brief outlining your needs, you risk receiving a final product that doesn’t align with your vision.

Another mistake to steer clear of is choosing a designer solely based on price. While budget is an important factor, opting for the cheapest option may result in subpar quality or lack of necessary expertise. It’s essential to balance cost with skill and experience when selecting a WordPress website designer.

Furthermore, overlooking the importance of checking references and portfolios can be detrimental. By reviewing past work and client feedback, you can gain valuable insights into the designer’s capabilities and professionalism. Don’t skip this step as it can save you from hiring someone who doesn’t meet your expectations.

Lastly, failing to establish clear communication channels with your chosen designer can lead to misunderstandings and delays in the project timeline. Make sure you have regular check-ins and open lines of communication to ensure that both parties are on the same page throughout the design process.

By avoiding these common mistakes when hiring a WordPress website designer, you can increase the likelihood of achieving a successful outcome that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.

1. Lack of Research

Once you know what you need, it’s time to assess each potential designer’s ability to actually fulfill that need. This is best done by reviewing each designer’s portfolio and sample work. Don’t rely solely on the first impression you get from the designer’s website or his/her rate. Some of the best designers are affordable and can still be found on bid websites. Likewise, a hasty decision to go with a high-rate professional can lead to nothing but financial strain and an unmet completion of the project. Look at the samples, compare them to the needs of your website, and ask the following questions: – Has this designer successfully created a website with similar needs to mine? – Do the examples reflect the quality and style that I am looking for on my website? – Has the designer created similar work for businesses or individuals in my same industry?

The first step in hiring a WordPress designer is to understand your own needs and the needs of your own website. Many make the mistake of not clearly defining what they wish to achieve with their website or failing to prioritize their needs. The result is a scatter-brained attempt at hiring a designer, with the only clear criteria being cost. This is a recipe for disaster and wasted time. Take the effort to figure out what you need out of the designer. What is the most important to you? What are you willing to be flexible on? Are you looking for a long term relationship or a one time service? When you have a clear understanding about what your website needs, you can then be more selective in researching the right designer.

1.1. Not understanding the specific needs of your website

Before you even begin investigating the possibilities for a designer or posting a job advertisement, you should invest some time into understanding the specific needs of your website. This may be more than just deciding that your website should ‘look good’ or ‘be easier to use’. Sit down and spend some time working out what you actually want from your website. This will help you to be firm with potential designers and will also help the designer to understand your desires, thus resulting in the best possible outcome. The aim here is to make a list of clear and concise instructions that, when finished, can be used to measure the potential designer’s competence. For example, ‘I would like a three-column design with no more than 10 colors’ or ‘I want a rotating image banner and a way to alter the images and links myself’. If you are unsure of what you want, then you are also at risk of falling into the trap of miscommunication. This happens when you don’t fully appreciate what the designer is saying but agree to it anyway. If you later see the difference between what was done and what you imagined, you will have to confront the designer about it, which can be awkward and time-consuming. In some situations, it may mean giving in and settling for something that you didn’t want. This usually happens because the client changed the design specifications while the project was in progress. This extra design time may affect your wallet more than you realize. A final bit of reasoning for understanding your needs is that many designers specialize in a certain type of website or platform. By having clear instructions, you can weed out unsuitable candidates right away.

1.2. Failing to research the designer’s portfolio and past work

It is almost impossible to find a job working for a reputed designer or developer that has not completed some sort of formal training, such as design school or website development training. Failing to research their education, past work, or design style can lead to wasted time and money when the end result is far from your expectations. To try to quantify a designer’s experience, many will start by using their portfolio. A web designer’s portfolio is typically a page on their personal website or can be a third-party site such as Behance or Dribble. This is where a designer will post examples of their work in hopes of attracting potential clients. This is the step in the research process where most employers fall short. Many web designers have only a few examples in their portfolio, and they are outdated or not very good. This could be because it is extremely expensive to have a high-quality portfolio designed, or because the designer simply does not have many projects under their belt. If they have a few samples of work with a note that says “I have more that I can show you,” then this is also a red flag. If you like what you see, but there is not a lot of it, move on to another designer. Step two includes contacting the past clients for references. This can be done via email, or if the designer is local one could ask for a quick meeting. Now is where you will make a big mistake. People running websites for small businesses may not have the time or inclination to write you a glowing review and refer more business your way. Asking them a few questions that will help build an idea of what the designer is like to work with and his work ethic is crucial to your decision-making process.

1.3. Ignoring client testimonials and reviews

Many have fallen into this detrimental pit. Once a simple “I’ll just not look at that” approach is taken, future potential problems are then ignored, making the decision for a WordPress website designer into a guessing game more than anything. Client reviews and testimonials can tell you an awful lot about a person and a company. Let’s face it, if the feedback was that good, do you honestly think they would not be promoting this? If it has been stated that a particular employee has gone above and beyond for a customer, then this should fill you with some confidence. As if they have done it before, then they should be able to do it again. Generally, the happiness felt through the client is then bounced to yourself when you have a session and should offer reassurance. This is even better if the client is being retained, as would you not want the same result? Viewing the testimonials for a web designer may allow you to speak to a previous customer in the future. If the progression was a good one, then the client would not hesitate to recommend, and this may lead to you following the art of delegation and getting someone else to take the job off your hands.

2. Unrealistic Expectations

Assuming the designer will handle all aspects of website maintenance. A web designer’s job is to design and create a website, following which they will hand over all rights and responsibilities to the client. If the client wishes to have the designer manage the site in the future, it can be arranged, but it is not something that should be assumed. A client may believe that since the designer built their site, it is their job to manage it. This leads back to the first point of realistic expectation. If a client has hired a freelance designer on the cheap to build a small website for their business, the likelihood is the designer will build the site, test it, and make it live before moving onto another project. The maintenance and management of the site is something that the client will need to do themselves. Cost will vary on this depending on the size of the site. For example, static HTML, small scripting, or a CMS such as WordPress. It is important to discuss with the designer at the beginning what the overall cost will be. An honest designer will give an approximate time-frame and quote for the maintenance of your website.

Expecting a high-quality website on a tight budget. Clients often think they can get something for nothing. If a web designer is designing a website for you on the cheap, it may be due to the fact that the end product will be something that is rushed and could have adverse effects on your business, potentially losing you more money further down the line. What you want to aim for is a beautifully designed website that is clear, clean, concise, and easy to navigate. It needs to be something that will not only attract visitors but also keep them engaged, up-to-date, and interested in coming back! Try and see your website as an investment which will potentially earn you double what you are spending. A website done well can have a huge impact on your business.

2.1. Expecting a high-quality website on a tight budget

An important thing to remember is that getting a website designed is an investment for your business. A professional design will cost more but might mean a much greater return on your investment. If you pay for a website that does not accomplish anything for you, then you have wasted your money. Always consider your target market. If your target market is older adults or people from a higher socio-economic group, first impressions are important and so is your website. A bad or amateur design might lose you potential customers.

Many businesses expect a high-quality website suitable for their businesses, but they often do not understand how much it will cost. If hiring a professional designer, this can be expensive, although there are many designers available who are offering the similar quality for a fraction of the cost. Often, you get what you pay for. There are many overseas designers who can provide a good service, but communication can sometimes be an issue. How do you ask for changes to be made to your website if the designer does not understand what you are asking for? Other issues can be time zones. Updating your website during UK daytime might mean your website is offline during their working hours due to the time difference.

2.2. Assuming the designer will handle all aspects of website maintenance

Even without updates, sometimes your site will break seemingly out of nowhere. A few years back, my site broke at the beginning of a presentation I was giving about how great WordPress is and why I use it for my sites (sometimes that’s just the way it goes with technology). I had to navigate through my site in front of the audience, so I had to quickly switch to the default theme (there goes my custom design), determine which plugin was causing the issue, deactivate it, and then reactivate the theme. I would say I spent about an hour cleaning up the mess. This is not the kind of annoyance you want to be experiencing with a business website, and it would have been quite stressful had I not been able to quickly fix the issue. This was an easy problem for me to resolve because I’m familiar with WordPress and it is specifically the type of problem I am comfortable dealing with. The average person with no coding or web development experience would have been looking at an expensive repair. A good maintenance plan can avoid problems like this by having an experienced WordPress developer take care of it.

The designer will handle the technical aspects of your WordPress site and you will be responsible for the upkeep. Websites are software and need regular updates. WordPress releases regular updates to fix security issues and bugs. Each week, it also checks for updates in your themes and plugins. If there is a problem with an update, this can cause conflicts resulting in your site becoming broken or functioning improperly. Any custom coding or design edits add further risk to the updating process. Your designer should be backing up your site before doing any updates so if an update does cause a problem, the site can be easily returned to its previous state. If you are maintaining your own website, you will need to find out what updates were done, test the site to make sure it’s still working properly, and possibly troubleshoot and resolve any problems.

2.3. Not considering the time required for the design process

A common mistake when hiring someone to build a website is not taking into account the length of time the process can take. It can be a surprise to some people that building a website can take longer than expected, and when the end-date isn’t met, it can cause hard feelings and bad business. The reason a website can take longer than expected is because often times clients will change the scope of a project and continue to add ideas. It’s important to realize the difference between minor and major changes in the website and the effect it can have on the duration of the project. It’s also just as important for the web designer to give an accurate time estimate to build the website. By far the most common reason for unmet expectations is usually the time it will take to complete a project. This can again be frustrating for both the customer and the designer. A common approach for a client is to set a low estimate for the project in hope the developer will bite and accept, however, if the time estimate is too low, it can cause the developer to rush through and not give his best work. If you’re a client reading this, it’s important to ask how long it will take to build a website and make sure that it’s more than a random ballpark figure. A good gauge for the time required is usually to ask for a minimum and maximum price and the time it will take to complete it for each price. This will ensure a good quality website and the cheapest price possible, a win-win situation for both parties.

3. Poor Communication

Timing is crucial. It is not effective for the client to be unavailable for large periods, as this can cause delays and hinder progress. Agreeing to a realistic timeline at the start is also beneficial. This will help the designer to accurately allocate the time required and will enable both parties to make the necessary sacrifices to meet deadlines. Regular updates and check-ins at scheduled intervals will maintain momentum and provide an opportunity for continued feedback and direction.

Improvement includes a more successful process involving good communication between client and designer in developing a useful blueprint before beginning the design work. The more thoroughly the client can articulate needs and expectations, the better the end product will be. Although word-of-mouth is a powerful tool for establishing the expertise and experience of a designer, making sure that there is a clear and agreed-upon set of expectations prior to commencement will avoid many disappointments at a later stage. A blueprint can have many forms: a simple document outlining the requirements, a series of discussions, or email – the method doesn’t matter as much as the end result.

3.1. Lack of clear communication about project requirements and goals

When a client offers an opportunity for a project, they might be less experienced or have a difficult time describing what they are looking for, often assuming the service provider just ‘knows’ what to do. They may offer a brief summary of what they want, and leave the rest for the designer to figure out. This can be problematic because the designer might create something not quite in line with what you had in mind and have to start from scratch when it could have been resolved with more detail in the beginning. This tends to happen with small business owners who are in immediate need of a professional website but do not yet have the capital to hire a more expensive design firm. These clients are often looking for a quick fix but find they have to get a new site in the end because it was not to their satisfaction. Another mistake clients make is creating their own design while at the same time hiring a designer. With many design services, this is not a problem, and the designer does not mind. But if you are looking to hire a professional, it tends to insult them if after meetings of planning and a deposit, the client creates their own site and requests occasional help from the designer or leaves the designer with menial tasks. Often this can lead to a misunderstanding, disputes, and eventual termination of the project. An easy way to avoid this is to be upfront from the beginning; if you are a client looking to hire a designer, say so. And as a designer, if you foresee these dilemmas, it is in your best interest to inform the client that it may not be worth their investment and to decline the job.

3.2. Failing to establish a timeline and regular check-ins

Many website designers have encountered the scenario in which their client fails to provide any sort of timeline or deadlines for when the project should be completed. This can be frustrating for the designer as they may have other projects on the go and can’t commit the time to your website, or they could allocate too much time for your project and end up losing money if it ends up taking longer than expected. It also generally shows that the client is not yet 100% committed to the website, and their urgency for the project may not be as high as first indicated. At the end of the day, it is difficult to work towards an undefined goal. An even worse case is when a project does have a set launch date, however it is not communicated to the designer. This can cause embarrassment for both parties when the designer has still been working on a project that is supposed to be completed, because they were unaware that the launch date had arrived.

3.3. Not providing timely feedback and direction

Quite often, clients that have a good deal of confidence in the ability and quality of a designer feel that they can just give them a general idea of what is required and then leave them to do it. This can greatly downplay the success of a project, as the direction required to produce a highly effective website may not have been received, or the client’s thoughts on what was expected could be very different from what the designer was thinking. In most cases, anything less than a detailed and documented specification and plan is not enough, and it is always best to over communicate than to under communicate. An effective website that produces a high return on investment is likely to be achieved when there is a high level of detailed input from the client. Commissioning a web design is an iterative process. It’s very rare that a design concept first time is exactly what a client was looking for. Quite often the first concepts are not even close to what was expected! Good designers recognize this and expect it, after all it’s one of the main reasons a client should hire a professional in the first place. To be successful in achieving a design that will work effectively, it’s essential to ensure that regular feedback and reviews are built into the project. This is part of the reason why it is important to establish a timeline with deliverable dates and ways to track progress. Journals and blogs are a good way to document progress and will ensure that nothing is missed.

3.4. Ignoring the importance of ongoing communication after the website is launched

Communication does not stop once a web project is complete. It is crucial for the client to keep the designer updated as to any future plans or aspirations that may affect the site. Whether the designer is to provide ongoing maintenance, or the client is looking to internally expand upon the site, a web designer’s job is to be informed of the outcomes of the site’s success and to adjust any features and functions accordingly. Any time there is an addition or an alteration to the site, there should be communication between the client and the designer. This includes, but is not limited to: new projects or products, new or changed site features, site restructuring, and marketing campaigns. With so many scheduled check-ins and feedback demands, it is common for both the communication and the connection between client and designer to fizzle out once the primary web project is complete. To avoid lack of communication, it is in the best interest of the client to set the designer to an ongoing service and to develop a long-term relationship. This way, both parties are fully aware of the desires and intentions of the other. The failure to communicate over the long-term often leads to lost clients as the client may be dissatisfied with the end result of the project due to undocumented changes during the developmental stage. The client may seek to hire another designer and may fail to contact the original designer for site information or to contract a site rebuild with the original designer. This is a risk and a loss for both parties.

4. Neglecting to Consider SEO and User Experience

Mobile technology has forever changed web design. Unfortunately, many businesses design a website for desktop view and then create a basic mobile website as an afterthought. Mobile websites are no longer a secondary version. In fact, many designers are creating mobile versions and then a basic desktop website. With so many mobile devices having the ability to view regular websites, a responsive design is now recommended. A responsive design means that the website will adjust to the screen size of the device being used. This eliminates the need for separate mobile websites and will be a long-term cost saving. At the same time, it ensures that the full functionality of your website can be viewed on any device. Ask your designer their thoughts on mobile technology and how they plan to integrate your website with this growing trend. If they don’t mention responsive design, you may want to consider someone else.

Not discussing SEO strategies and optimization with the designer can lead to a pretty website that no one ever sees. Many designers are not well versed in SEO. In fact, most designers actually know little about SEO and often fall victim to unproven tactics. The end result is usually an expensive service that fails to deliver the expected results. It can be a frustrating experience, but the key to success is educating both yourself and the designer in the SEO process. Start by clearly defining your SEO goals. Be sure they understand that their design should incorporate your SEO goals. Educating the designer on your search engine optimization goals also provides you with a greater ability to measure the success of the website at delivering your goals. A good designer can then easily turn those goals into an effective site that enhances your business.

4.1. Not discussing SEO strategies and optimization with the designer

Overlooking search engine optimization (SEO) is a common mistake made by many business owners when they opt for a website designer. Many people believe that by building a website and making it live, customers will find them. This may be true to some extent, however, SEO is what helps you rise above your competition. Discuss SEO with your website designer. Find out how much the designer knows about the intricacies of SEO. Discover if the designer understands the concept of keywords and their density throughout your page. Find out what the designer knows about the meta tags on each page and whether they are able to embed your keywords into these. More importantly, find out if the designer can produce an SEO-friendly website and if they understand that this design goes far beyond using Flash. This information will be crucial to your website’s long-term success and your ROI.

4.2. Overlooking the importance of responsive design and mobile compatibility

An example of mobile enhancement is WPTouch that automatically applies a simple and elegant theme to your website for mobile visitors. Mobile web usage is on the rise, and in my own experience, I have seen some websites that look decent on a full screen but have tiny text and images that are unusable. This is something that should not be overlooked.

Responsive Web Design (RWD) accomplishes this, making it user-friendly across all platforms without creating separate pages for different devices. This single-site delivery approach is favored by the industry as it keeps the costs down and makes it easier to manage. If you’re going to invest in a website, it’s definitely worth it to do it properly and create a functional and accessible site for all users. A RWD website needing a makeover or a separate mobile site can be costly, but there are no extra costs maintaining a good RWD site.

When visiting a website on a mobile device that is not mobile-adapted, it can be difficult to navigate. Tiny text, overlapping images, and slow loading time are some issues that can turn away a customer. Alternatively, a mobile-enhanced site will lead visitors to return with features such as easy linking and fast loading time.

4.3. Failing to prioritize user-friendly navigation and intuitive layout

The focal point revolves around the navigation and arrangement / politics concerning the development of a website. Once again, these concepts are often acknowledged but seldom prioritized.

Serves as a reminder of the significance of acknowledging the ‘obvious’ aspects. -Elaborate systems are given due attention, whereas simpler ones are frequently overlooked.

The effectiveness of a website heavily relies on its navigation and layout. If a site is difficult to navigate or bewildering to use, it will simply not be utilized, regardless of its quality!

An all too frequent blunder is prioritizing the visual elements of a site before anything else. This typically results in compromising the functionality to cater to aesthetics, leading to subsequent alterations in the visual aspect that have consequences on functionality. It becomes an unending cycle.

Many digital artists and designers struggle to separate their work from its aesthetics, yet a well-structured framework can actually stimulate ideas for visual elements and design. It is often advisable to plan the layout and basic structure prior to initiating the design process. Depending on the complexity of the site, this can range from rough sketches to comprehensive diagrams.

Final thoughts

In conclusion, it is absolutely crucial and of utmost importance to be fully aware and cognizant of numerous common mistakes that should be diligently avoided when hiring a remarkably proficient and exceptionally skilled WordPress website designer. By taking into careful consideration and pondering over these mistakes in a thorough and meticulous manner, businesses can effectively save a significant amount of valuable time and monetary resources. This can be achieved by diligently ensuring that they judiciously and comprehensively find, select, and engage the services of an exceptionally competent, trustworthy, and reliable designer who will skillfully and adeptly fulfill their specific and unique website requirements, thus effectively and efficiently meeting their esteemed expectations and aspirations. Furthermore, it is distinctly imperative and indispensable for businesses to consistently and scrupulously bear in mind the immense and immense importance of thoroughly and exhaustively reviewing the designer’s extensive and impressive portfolio, as well as meticulously examining and thoroughly evaluating the numerous and substantial client testimonials that have been offered and shared by previous and existing clients. Such a vital and indispensable step should be taken before proceeding and making a resolute and definitive final decision, in order to guarantee and ensure that the chosen designer possesses the necessary expertise, experience, and exceptional skill set that aligns perfectly with the business’s distinct needs and distinctive requirements, thus ultimately resulting in an incredibly successful and promising collaboration and partnership.


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