What Sets Professional Web Designers Apart
What is professional website design? What sets the professionals apart from the unprofessional? In order to answer this question, we think it’s necessary to divide all web design companies into several categories:
- Large web service companies
- Small to medium-sized website design companies
- Home-based web designers and sole proprietors
- Cousins, friends of friends and teenagers
Only the first two categories qualify as companies that offer professional website design. The final two categories offer up mediocre design at best, but typically something far from professional website design.
Read on to learn more about your options for website design so you are better equipped to find one that meets your needs.
Large web service companies
These are the larger players that service Fortune 500 companies like IBM or Microsoft. They typically employ 50 or more individuals and have massive amounts of overhead. And how does this large overhead get paid for? By the clients, of course. Thus is the major drawback of the larger companies – cost.
The real benefit here is the larger level of administrative support you’ll typically receive. You’ll also benefit from the knowledge that these businesses are typically the least likely of any in the four categories to go out of business overnight. You should be able to expect a reasonably high level of service from these particular web design companies; just be prepared to pay for it.
Small to medium-size website design companies
The first thing to mention here is that we are talking about website design companies that offer professional website design. We are not talking about companies that also offer computer troubleshooting, web hosting, print services, etc. The real professionals here are the ones that stay focused on professional website design. To fit into this category a business must have its own office space and an extensive list of prior clientele (i.e. portfolio).
The real benefit of doing business with web design companies in this category is that you are essentially getting the best of both worlds: reliable, professional website design, coupled with much lower costs than the larger businesses. These businesses typically have between 3 and 20 employees and/or contractors. They are large enough, serious enough and experienced enough to offer website design services that are truly professional. Our recommended category, to be sure.
Home-based web designers and sole proprietors
The number one danger here is the one-person business that operates out of a basement where the sole proprietor already has a full-time job. This can spell disaster for your web design project. When it comes to prioritizing work, your project will always come second to the proprietor’s full-time occupation. Can you really afford to have your “web designer” leave you a message at 7:30 pm one night stating that they can no longer work on your project when it’s already half done?
These businesses typically do not have the same level of commitment as the first two. They may be viewed as simply “trying out” web design as a hobby. They are waiting until they get enough business so that they can quit their day job. Unless you are absolutely strapped for cash and on a razor thin budget for your project, you run a major risk doing business with these companies. It is always recommended that you meet face to face with your web designer, preferably at their place of business so that you can judge how they present themselves and how they do business.
Cousins, friends of friends and teenagers
Yes, this final category is a little tongue in cheek. You will absolutely, unconditionally, 100% NOT find professional website design in this category. The only reasons any business would ever deal with an individual in this category are for financial reasons. Typically these individuals “dabble” in website design as a hobby and have no formal training or experience. They are almost certainly completely unaware of how to professionally build a website. That said, you would probably only consider utilizing these individuals because you can get an entire site built for free (or maybe a case of beer or Xbox game).
If you are looking for a professional looking website to created then steer clear of this category. If you do make use of someone in this category, then we expect to see you back on this page looking for a professional website design company in about 6 months or so