When you’re working with a web designer, the lines of who does what are somewhat blurred. Some web designer have a background in graphic design while others may specialize in User Experience (UX). Expertise and specialization cross a broad spectrum.
No specialization is better than any other but you need to know what to expect when working with a web designer. It’s not fair to expect a web designer to do it all nor will you get optimal results for your website project if you put everything on the web designer.
Think of it this way, you wouldn’t ask a cement contractor to frame your house, would you?
Same thing with website design. There are a number of different expertises and most web designers can’t do it all well. That’s why it’s your job to make a choice on how you proceed. You can choose one of these options.
- Pay one company to do it all at which point they will contract the work out to specialists.
- Hire different people to do each part of the website project.
- Do what you can in the project and pay someone else to do the rest (write the copy but outsource photography perhaps).
You may write the copy for your website and provide some pictures you have. If you do those things then you won’t have to hire someone to do them and can freely work with a web designer with the content you create.
The most important part for you to understand is that you need to understand all the different potential parts of a website project.
Elements Of A Website
These elements make up what a website contains. With each of these, a web designer can build a website that captivates your audience and meets your requirements.
Not all of these elements are required for every project, but they’re something you should consider. If you aren’t providing these elements, then you have to pay someone to provide the required elements. Some elements are required (like copy) but others are not necessary for every project, such as video.
Here’s many of the elements you may need to consider for your website project. The required items are the content you need to provide your web designer.
Images are made up of photos or illustrations that represent your business. You have three different options for photos.
- Hire a professional photographer
- Take photos yourself
- Find stock photos for your website
Your project and business will dictate what option you choose. For a business that relies on people seeing your work then hiring a professional photographer will create better results for your website. People will say wow, and they’ll see the details of your work in the best way possible.
Professional photographers are always worth their weight in gold because for certain business types your photos are the face of your business. Sometimes, though, taking photos yourself or using stock photos is perfectly fine.
For a cabinet business professional photos are essential. An HVAC company can get away with stock photos or perhaps just one of their workers.
There’s also the option of illustrations. Sometimes it’s best to illustrate your work and can fit your overall brand style better than photos. You can either find stock illustrations or hire a professional illustrator to give you more unique look.
All of these are decisions you have to make or discuss with your web designer. Most web designers won’t be professional photographers or illustrators, though. It’s a specialty that requires a lot of expertise and time which can’t be done well while also being an expert at web design.
If you try to have someone do it all, then they will do a lot very poorly. Jack of all trades, master of none.
Graphics may be illustrations, but they could also be images that do a bit more. Think photos that are graphically modified for a book cover or an ad. They’re not straight photos because they’ve been modified in some way.
There is some overlap between photographers, illustrators, and graphic designers. You’ll typically find a photographer/graphic designer or an illustrator/graphic designer or perhaps both.
Graphics designers do not make good web designers, though. I have seen graphic designers design a huge banner image for a website with text and photos in it that they then just place on the website.
This is not web design and it’s horrible for your website. You will not be rewarded on search engines for this type of website.
A graphic designer might take machinery from a photo, edit that machinery to isolate it from the rest of the photo and place it on a fancy background image. That’s just an example but you get the picture from that I hope.
Graphic designers should be a specialist who either do photography, illustration, or both, but they should never be a web designer. You need to work with a graphic designer on your project IF your business type requires one.
A graphic designer isn’t always required for every website project, but they are very nice to have when necessary.
Writers specialize in copy. There are many different types of copywriters too. Just because you know a copywriter doesn’t mean they’re good for website copy.
Websites are typically made to sell which means you need an expert at sales copywriting. It needs to communicate your business as well as get people excited to work with you.
This is one of those website elements you either need to hire someone to do for you or you need to do it yourself. You will get the best results from a professional but sometimes budgets don’t allow a professional.
Don’t rely on a website designer to write your copy for you. Your results will not be as good as if you do it yourself or hire a dedicated professional copywriter.
Video is more popular than ever online. It’s an easy way to communicate a lot of information to website visitors in a short amount of time. It’s also more captivating than reading a ton of text. That doesn’t mean text has no place in a website, though.
Web designers don’t create video typically but animators and videographers do!
It could be a walkthrough video to answer visitor’s questions, or it could be an animated explainer video. Whatever the case, you would work with an animator or videographer to create the right kind of video that can then be embedded on your website.
It could be a sales video, walkthrough video, example video, or any number of different types of videos. They have a lot of uses but the fact remains that you should have a professional create your video, not a web designer.
What You Need To Provide
Because there are so many different elements of a website, that means you need to provide these elements. Either you provide them, you outsource them to different people, or you pay the web designer to outsource them. Many marketing companies will outsource each part of their project including web design, graphics design, video creation, copywriting, etc.
So, you should count on providing the following in one way or another (self-created or outsourced).
- Designed Graphics
We build affordable websites for our small business clients. We aren’t video experts, copywriting experts (beyond making it fit the internet), photographers, illustrators, etc. We specialize in building amazing websites for local small businesses and optimizing them for local searches.
When we work with you, the expectation is that you provide the content including copy and images. If you need video on your website we’re happy to work with you on embedding the video on your site, but we don’t create the video for you. That also applies to images. We give you an allotment of stock photos that you can choose, but we don’t create any special graphics for you or photograph things for you.
Your best option for getting the best of what you need for your web designer is to find the best specialize for each item. Don’t rely on a non-specialist to do it all for you because you aren’t going to get quality work.
We have our specialty and know we can provide you the absolute best which is what every web designer should acknowledge. If they want to do it all for you then stay away. Nobody can do it all well.
What A Web Designer Does
I covered a lot of different elements of a website above. None of them are things a web designer typically specializes in (they specialize in web design, not graphic design!) so then what the heck does a web designer do!?
That’s a great question!
There are a number of things a web designer does that works with all the elements above. Just as a photographer doesn’t create whatever they are photographing, a web designer doesn’t create all the elements on the web page.
Web designers capture the overall message of your business and organize your content in visually pleasing way that communicates a clear and concise message.
That means a web designer is an expert at the following.
- User Experience (UX) Design
- Content organization
- Optimize content for all device sizes
- Simple web development (complex development requires a developer)
- Image manipulation (optimization, resizing, proper formats)
- Creating a cohesive message with the content
- Simple editing of copy to fit the internet (short and concise with proper visual hierarchy)
And the list goes on.
Web designers do a lot of things but that typically doesn’t involve creating the elements of the website. Those are outsourced to other experts who specialize in those elements. If you work with a marketing company to create your website, then they will typically outsource different elements to other companies (for a price!).
If you want to work with a web designer who can create an amazing website to represent your business online, we can help you. We’re always willing to make suggestions on experts who specialize in other website elements too.