Opinion How to choose a Sydney web designer

By Tim McQueen Published on 21 Nov 2017

Using a local designer

  • Read time: 4 mins
  • Tech level: low
  • Key point: it's more beneficial choosing a web designer in your local area.
Professionals in Sydney office discussing a business case
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The Australian web design industry has grown exponentially over the last ten years. While the hardest part of finding a web designer in the past was just that (trying to find one at all!), it’s now a matter of how to choose the right web designer in Sydney given that there is a large volume of suppliers.

The most common method of searching for a web designer is via Google search. A quick search for ‘Sydney web design’ yields a plethora of options, with virtually no way to qualify.

This requires you, the person responsible for choosing a Sydney web designer, to ensure you are getting what you need before signing on to a project. Simply choosing the company that is highest in the ranking results will destine you to fail.

As a business, we have spent many years servicing the Sydney market. We often help companies who have been previously burnt by another web designer. This has given us numerous insights into the core components of choosing the right web designer.

With this in mind, here are our top five learnings to help you choose a web designer in Sydney.

1: Ensure your web designer is genuinely based in Sydney

Web designers are clever. They are proficient in finding ways to rank well in natural search results for locations they are not actually based within.

The power of the internet means you can technically service any location in the world. That is after all, the power of the internet; a web designer in a small rural town of NSW can build a website for a company based in the USA.

In choosing a Sydney based web developer, it’s imperative that you quickly ascertain whether the business is based in Sydney and works specifically on the Sydney market. Working with outsourced or remote web designers can quickly become difficult, especially if you need to rely on their experience to understand your requirements.

This is called the ‘coffee factor’ – if your web designer is unable to meet you to discuss your project over a coffee somewhere mutually convenient – they aren’t a Sydney web designer.

2: Proven experience in your desired niche or vertical, ideally within Sydney

Look for a web designer that has worked in similar niches or within verticals that are relevant to your product or service. While it may be hard to find a website designer that is specifically focused on your vertical, looking for a Sydney based web design company that has experience in similar niches that are transferable to your product or service is key.

If your core service is offering an online product that is aimed at students, a web design company that is proficient in building e-commerce websites and working with educational institutions makes sense. They have the experience to understand students and the skills to build an e-commerce website.

3: A strong portfolio of Sydney based clients that have references you can contact

The web designer’s portfolio is their holy grail. It showcases the work they deem to be the most successful and can quickly help you ascertain the quality and execution of their outputs.

If you see a website in their portfolio that you like, don’t be afraid to ask them if they can provide you with a reference. It’s normal when recruiting a new employee, so why would it be any different before you engage a web designer you found on the internet?

4: Ensure they allow you to self-manage your website ongoing

There are two types of websites; static and content manageable (via a content management system, referred to as a CMS). Static will require you to engage your web designer for each and every change you require in the future. A content manageable website will allow you and your business to edit content and update ongoing yourselves.

A core trait of many small businesses is building websites, at a reasonable price, only to have you locked in to using them to update the website ongoing. This means the smaller upfront cost is quickly diminished by the fact you will be spending more ongoing to manage content.

Ensure your Sydney web designer is competent in building websites that use a CMS; make sure you call this requirement out up front to ensure it’s built into any quotes or project plans that are put forward.

5: Ask if their designers and developers are based in Sydney

You want to avoid web designers who base themselves in Sydney, only to outsource key components of the website build to external parties. You often hear horror stories of affable sales people, based in Sydney, who then outsource the work to cheaper countries.

You want your account manager (or producer) to be based in Sydney, managing a team of Sydney based designers and Sydney based developers. It helps keep momentum having everyone in the same location and allows for key stakeholders to troubleshoot and rectify any quality issues quickly.

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