Rhian Hopkins

How to choose your website designer.

Look at my website now – I love it, it’s so cool and it has enabled me to work for myself.

Choosing to take a leap of faith and start your own business is a brave thing to do, well done to you (and me). If you need a website to begin your journey have a read about choosing your website designer and learn from my experience.

Three key questions to ask your website designer:

1 How much experience do you have?

Remember, you get what you pay for. Make sure you check out their portfolio and check it matches up to their answer.

2 Please explain your design process?

How long will it take to set your first draft, how many changes can you make before any ongoing costs? When do you see a potential completion date?

3 Do you have experience doing this type of project and will you be the one doing the work?

Be sure that they are doing the work and not outsourcing the project to someone else – as you could cut out the ‘middle man’.

Bonus question:

Will you receive an initial SEO setup and a logo design kit or will this be a ‘hidden cost’? These should be included in your investment for delivery of your site so you’re all ready to go into business from the get-go.

Alarm bells to look out for:

Time-lapse tactics – your designer is busy/away – so the job is on hold. This can buy them time and lose you money if you have paid a deposit with a lead time upfront.

Lack of creativity:

Your first draft should look pleasing, not so alarming that from the minute you see it that it instantly makes you suddenly lose confidence in your business which, let’s face it is a really brave thing to set up, really brave, well done you!

Lots of projects on the go.

You need to be sure your site and the business proposition are focused on and given good time dedicated to its development.

When to withdraw:

After much thought and worry, I put my project on hold as I couldn’t decide whether to pull out and lose my hard-earned deposit now or lose another chunk of money at the end, on delivery only to still not be happy with the final draft and additional amendment costs. That in itself told me instinctively, ‘pull out’.

Don’t be told you are too hung up on your branding and that it is not that big a factor in business, branding is so, so much more. Be passionate about it, love it and reflect your brand in everything you do.

Start again:

As a result, I carefully contacted someone else with who I have a trusted business relationship, had seen their very successful portfolio and working live sites.

This was a Digital Marketing Expert, highly recommended, who creates simple, beautiful brands and websites and delivers SEO, PPC and social media management for small businesses.

We met, they got the brief 100%. I have a website that I am truly proud of and happy to shout about it.

After one initial briefing meeting, my designer went away and within two weeks I had a website and branding that encapsulates all my working experience and skills to date. This means I can go and run my business with the very best start.

My site is professional, stunning and a testament to my designers’ skills, what a true talent.

Not only did my designer ‘get it’ he gave me the best results I could ask for within a two-week lead time.

Get someone recommended to build your site and brand, it is the very best investment you could make for your business.

My new designer had the following:

  • A broad design portfolio.
  • Sophisticated functionality.
  • Additional marketing services.
  • Experience.
  • Good references.


  • Be clear on your audience and why they will visit your website.
  • Research, have a good look at other sites and what model they use – remember they are already in business.
  • Think about how you wish to use your website to gain business.
  • Have an idea of brand colour – remember not too many colours if you want to save costs on printing in the long term.
  • Have a website plan, it will provide you with clarity, focus and allow you to map out exactly what you want from your new website.
  • Know exactly what you want.
  • Stick to your instincts about how you feel.


  • Don’t be impressed by jargon – make sure you understand exactly what you will be getting for your investment.
  • Don’t be held to ransom by expensive ongoing costs.
  • Don’t go for the cheapest option, be smart with your investment.
  • Don’t ignore your instincts about how you feel.

Finally, ask yourself this question.

Should I build my website? It’s not easy to do yourself if you are not an expert.

If you know what you want to do, come and have a chat with me and I can help you plan and point in the right direction.

We can work on your strategy and deliver your perfect website business, brand and design

‘If at first, you don’t succeed, try again’

Robert the Bruce, King of Scotland.

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