5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Web Designer

5 Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Web Designer

Don’t let a web designer cut corners at your expense. In this article, we will tell you exactly what questions you need to ask so that you don’t get taken advantage of.

The most common objection we hear when it comes to website design is cost. Often prospects will turn down a quote, in favour of a cheaper one. What they might not realise at the time is that the other developer has probably cut a lot of corners in order to justify the lower cost.

Developing a professional, mobile-friendly and search engine optimised website that generates leads and sales takes expertise and time. Make sure your website designer doesn’t pull the wool over your eyes by asking them these 5 questions.

5 Questions you should ask your web designer before hiring them:

  1. What website platform will you use?
  2. Will my website be mobile-friendly?
  3. Will my website have SEO?
  4. How will you secure my website?
  5. Will I be trained to use my website?

1. What website platform will you use?

This is the most important question to ask your web designer because it will show you whether they know their stuff or not and whether they are charging you correctly.

The recommended answer is “WordPress”. However, any Content Management System (CMS) is advised. There are several reasons why we prefer WordPress but here are a few reasons we recommend a CMS:

  1. Ownership – You own the website and all the files. Unlike Wix or other website builders that own the platform, and all the content on it.
  2. Flexibility – You can customise every aspect of the site without limit.
  3. Functionality – You can have pretty much any functionality you want.
  4. Control – You can make changes to your website, without having to enlist the services of a developer every time.

launch digital wordpress web designer

So what is WordPress?

WordPress is a open-source (available to anyone) content managing system (allowing you to create and publish blog articles). Designers & developers use themes (also known as templates) to style a WordPress site. Put simply: WordPress is the engine that drives the website, themes are the body; the look.

But a WordPress website can be built in a few ways, depending on who is building it, and who they are building it for. Essentially there are three ways to develop a website using WordPress:

  1. Custom
  2. Semi-custom
  3. Template


Custom WordPress websites the Rolls Royce of WordPress websites. They are very expensive because they require the services of a designer and developer.

The designer will create the look of your website in a design program like Photoshop. At this stage, your website is nothing more than a picture. So it has to be passed onto a developer who turns the design into a functional, working WordPress theme using HTML & CSS code.

Everything (except for the base WordPress functionality) is built from the ground up to give you a very bespoke, high-performance website.

Cost: The cost of custom website design in South Africa is upwards of R80 000 depending on the number of pages and functionality required.


A semi-custom WordPress website is a more affordable option because it uses a “page builder software”, like Divi or Elementor. Page builder software allows a developer to build the pages visually in a drag-and-drop way. This reduces the amount of coding required to build a site and overall time.

Our web design packages use this method to build websites. Our designers would still create a unique website design in Photoshop. This is then still given to a developer, who then builds the website using the page builder software.

This will still give you a bespoke, high-performance website but in half the time, at half the cost of a custom site.

Cost: The cost of semi-custom web design in South Africa ranges between R30 000 – R80 000 depending on the number of pages and functionality required.


If you get a cheap website quote, I can almost guarantee you that the developer will be using a template.

What is a WordPress Template Site?
A WordPress template is a pre-built website available for purchase online. Experienced developers will essentially build a custom WordPress website for a specific niche, and then package it for reselling. These are known as premium themes. There are plenty free themes out there too.

This is by far the cheapest and fastest way to build a WordPress website because you don’t need a designer or developer. You don’t necessarily even need to have any development experience. Literally anyone can buy a template from a repository like ThemeForest for around $60, install it and voila you have a website.

Sounds great, right? Not quite. Here are some of the drawbacks of template sites:

  • Limited design – other than being able to change colours & fonts, you are constrained by the template
  • Limited functionality – integrating additional functionality can be tricky sometimes
  • Slow & bloated – often these templates come with additional plugins & code that you will never use, which slow down the website performance
  • Regular maintenance – in order for your website to stay pretty, it needs to be updated as and when the developers of the template release updates

This is the most common way for developers to build WordPress websites because they can build the site in a few hours, and charge premium rates for it.

Cost: A WordPress template website design cost in South Africa should cost you nothing more than R15 000 (obviously depending on how many pages & the functionality).

Now I am not saying that either one of the above methods is best or worst, because each of them has their place. You just need to know how your website designer is building your website, and whether or not their quote is in line with the work required.

2. Will my website be mobile-friendly

60% of all internet traffic in South Africa is on smartphones. So your website has to be mobile friendly to ensure good user experience for people on their phones.

mobile responsive web designer launch digital

Making a website mobile friendly is a lot of additional work, even if you do buy a template that is responsive. You still have to test the website on different screen sizes, and manually adjust breakpoints if there are issues.

So make sure your web designer agrees to provide you with a website that works perfectly across all devices, browsers, and platforms.

You can use Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to test whether your site is mobile-friendly or not.

3. Will my website have SEO?

Having a professional website is not enough. You won’t get any sales or leads from your website if no one can find it on Google. SEO (search engine optimisation) is the process of optimising your website in order to rank in search engines for specific search terms.

seo web designer launch digital

This is where we find a lot of developers cutting corners to save time and make more profits because it’s not easy for a layman to know whether their website has SEO or not. Optimising a website for search engines is a very technical and time-consuming process.

Ensure that your web developer includes “On-page SEO” in their quote. Here are some essential SEO tasks that need to be completed:

  • Keyword research (what search terms are people using in Google to find your services)
  • The website should be https://
  • SEO friendly URL structures
  • Each page should have a Meta Title and Meta Description, containing the focus keyword
  • All images must have alt-tags, containing the focus keyword
  • Each page should be optimised around a focus keyword
  • Each page should have at least 500 words of copy, containing the focus keyword & variations thereof
  • The website pages need to be mobile responsive
  • The website pages need to load fast
  • The website should be submitted for indexing upon completion

These are just a few important checks. If you want to know whether your website has SEO or not, use our Website SEO Checker.

4. How will you secure my website?

WordPress is an open-source platform – this means that the code is available to anyone on the internet. It is a big reason why the platform is so successful, because it has millions of users, all working on and improving the software. But, there are nefarious individuals who try to exploit this open-source software for their own gain.

If your web developer does not take the right precautions when building your website, you could be vulnerable for hacking, attacks and malware. This goes for all website platforms, not just WordPress.

secure web designer

Here are some essential security precautions:

  • Installing a security plugin like Sucuri or WordFence
  • Blocking traffic from certain countries with a reputation for hacking
  • Two-factor login authentication
  • Hiding the login page
  • Changing default database names
  • Disabling the default registration pages
  • Long & complex passwords, updated every few months

Your developer should provide you with a detailed description of how they will secure your website against potential hacks and threats.

5. Will I be trained to use my website?

Don’t be held hostage by your website developer. If you want to change an image or upload a blog article you should be able to do that without having to pay someone.

One of the biggest benefits of WordPress is that anyone can learn how to make changes & update the site. Even people who are not technically inclined. You don’t need to pay a web developer every time you want to make a change.

That being said, your web developer should still offer you some training when they handover the website to you. They should provide you with training or tutorials that cover basics like:

  • Navigating the dashboard
  • General website settings
  • Adding, editing & removing menus (navigation)
  • Adding, editing & removing pages
  • Adding, editing & removing blog posts
  • Adding, editing & removing media
  • Adding, editing & removing users
  • Updating the platform
  • Updating Plugins

There are many things that you can easily do yourself, without having to hire a web developer every time.

BONUS: Things to check before hiring a web designer.

Choosing a web design company based on price alone is not advised. Because as I have just explained, the costs are low because they have cut corners. But let’s say that your developer passed the test, here are some additional things to check before hiring them:

Web designer or developer

I have used these terms interchangeably throughout this article for easy reading, but they are in fact two very different professions. Just like a car mechanic and a panel beater both work on cars, they perform very different duties:

  • Web designer – is a graphic designer or artist who is focused on the visual aspect of a website – layout, style, content, user experience.
  • Web developer – is someone that develops functionalities and applications for the internet, using code.

Often when using freelancers or smaller companies, they give you one or the other. It is important that you know who you are working with, so that you know their capabilities.


The best way to check whether a web developer is any good is to speak to past clients. Ask the developer to provide you with a portfolio of similar work, and then contact some of their past clients. Ask them how it was working with the developer, did they understand the brief, what were the timelines like etc.


Do not go into a website development project without signing a contract that protects both parties. The contract should clearly state what the definition of “completed” means. This is absolutely essential to ensure that you aren’t on the wrong side of a bad deal. It should be an immediate red flag if they do not have a contract.


Most developers require a 50% deposit to start work, with the remainder due before the website goes live. Avoid paying 100% upfront, but also don’t expect a developer to start any work without some sort of payment.


It is expected that you provide as much content (logos, images and copy) for the web designer in a zipped folder or shared drive. But it might not be expected that the developer writes any new content or sources new images.

It needs to be very clear from the start if content creation is included in the website quote. Do they write content for you, do they find images, do they create custom graphics – or are you expected to provide all the content, exactly as it needs to be on the website?

You can reduce unnecessary delays in work or misunderstandings by checking this information in advance.

Key Takeaway: Be Informed

In a perfect world, you would hire a web designer and they would deliver a beautiful, functional website on time at a good price. Instead, we hear countless stories of web designers taking advantage of clients or just not delivering what was promised.

It can be very easy for web designers to hold a client hostage with their own website.

The main cause for this is improper screening and vetting from the client’s side. Website development is an investment, therefore it is critical that you screen your web designer before making a hiring decision.

5 Things EVERY Business Website Design Needs

5 Things EVERY Business Website Design Needs

80% of the websites we design are “redesigns”. In other words, we have to redesign a website for a client, which a previous website design company messed up. So, before you spend money on website design, read this article and make sure that your website has these features.

5 things every business website design needs:

  • Responsive website design
  • Content management system
  • Search Engine Optimisation
  • Google Analytics & Search Console
  • A blog

1. Responsive Website Design

Responsive web design means building a website that looks just as good on a phone, tablet or laptop than it does on desktop.

responsive website design

It is estimated that there are 22 million smartphone users in South Africa, and this number is growing every day. So the chances are that a large portion of your website visitors will be on their phone.

This is why it is so important to have a mobile responsive web design.

What To Ask Your Website Designer:
“Will my website be responsive for all screen sizes?”

2. A Content Management System

As a business, you want the ability to make quick changes to your website on the fly without having to pay a developer every time. A content management system like WordPress will allow you to do just that.

WordPress the most popular website design platform in the world for a reason. It is an easy-to-use, flexible and powerful platform which will allow you to make advanced changes to your website easily. Here are a few advantages of WordPress websites:

  • Easy to Use
  • Completely Customisable
  • Search Engine Friendly
  • Easy to Manage
  • Safe and Secure

Whether you choose a template or build your website from scratch, WordPress’s versatility and community support is unmatched. Also, responsive design generally comes standard with WordPress which is yet another reason why your website in 2015 should be built on this platform.

What To Ask Your Website Designer:
“What platform will you build my website with, and will I be able to make changes?”

3. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

To put it into simple English: Search Engine Optimisation is the process of improving the organic ranking of a website, by improving the structure & optimising the content, images and links with relevant keywords.

Put even more simply, without SEO your website will not appear in Google searches, and prospective customers will not find you.

81% of consumers conduct online research before purchasing. This means that 8 out of 10 of your prospective customers are searching for your services on Google. Is your website appearing on the search results page for relevant keywords? If not, you are losing out on business.


SERP anatomy 2020

SEO is a vast & complicated subject which we can’t cover in detail in this article. So if you want more info on SEO then read How to Get Onto The First Page of Google.

What To Ask Your Website Designer:
“Will you do keyword research for my company, and optimise my website with on-page SEO?”

4. Google Analytics & Search Console

Google Analytics is a web analytics software that allows you to any track activity on your website. Without this, you cannot see how many people are visiting your website, what pages they are browsing or how long they are staying.

Search Console is another web analytics software, but this one tracks your performance on search engines. You can see what keywords your website ranks for, and where it is ranking. It will also tell you if there are any technical errors (such as broken links) on your website.

All of this information is extremely important in telling you how visitors are interacting with your website, and how your website is performing overall. Having an active Google Analytics tracking code on your website is also important for SEO.

What To Ask Your Website Designer:
“Will my website be integrated with Google Analytics? Will you add my website to Google Search Console & submit my sitemap?”

5. A Blog

A blog will allow you to write articles, like this one, for your audience. Why is this important?

larger market formula

The mistake many businesses make is to build their entire marketing strategy around the 3% of their target audience who are in “buying mode”. What they don’t realise is that roughly 27% of their audience is online gathering information, and educating themselves on a product or service.

A blog allows you to reach these researching customers, and answer all their questions and concerns. You become the trusted authority in your industry, making people want to buy from you.

More importantly, however, a blog is an excellent SEO tool. By writing blog articles you are essentially creating extra ‘pages’ of content on your website and search engines love this. If you write your content to include related keywords then it increases the chances of your website being found by your prospective customers.

What To Ask Your Website Designer:
“Will you add a blog to my website which will allow me to post my own articles?”

Why your website design needs these 5 things

The perfect website needs a lot of things, but these 5 elements are a great start. They will set a good foundation for your website design and online presence.

  1. Without a responsive design, visitors on mobile phones will get frustrated with your website and leave.
  2. Without a content management system, you will need to pay developer every time you want to make a change
  3. Without SEO, your website will not appear in search engines and you will lose business
  4. Without Google Analytics & Search Console you won’t get valuable data on how your website is performing
  5. Without a Blog, you are missing out on reaching roughly 27% of your target market who are doing online research
Lead Generation: 5 Things All Successful Websites Do

Lead Generation: 5 Things All Successful Websites Do

What do you want from your website? You will probably say “Leads”, followed by a sarcastic “Duh…” whispered under your breath. Unless you are a large Corporation like Microsoft or Coca-Cola, the main function of your website should be lead generation.

But how sure are you that your website is the best lead-generating machine it can be? Chances are that you outsourced your website design to a company, or God forbid – a family member!

How to generate leads:

Here are 5 things your home page MUST do to ensure it does its job at generating leads:
  1. Identify your customer
  2. Highlight their pain points & problems
  3. Provide a solution
  4. Establish why they should work with you
  5. Earn their trust

The order of these things can vary from company to company, but all 5 are needed in some form or another on EVERY page of your website.

1. Identify Your Customer

The most valuable exercise for any business is to create a “Customer Avatar”. Your ideal customer. Knowing exactly who they are (age, hobbies, preferences etc.) is the first step to successful marketing and selling.

Making this evident on your Home page will let visitors know that they are in the right place and that you understand their needs.

Knowing who your ideal customer is, not only allows you to market to them but strangely enough, you will eventually start attracting only these types of clients. Let’s put it down to the law of attraction – whatever you put out there, you will get back.

2. Highlight Pain Points & Problems

Seek first to understand before being understood. You are in business because you solve certain problems for your customers. List those problems on your Homepage.

Once again it will resonate with your ideal client, and they will know that you truly understand their needs.

3. Provide a Solution

Now that you have assured your visitors they are in the right place, and that you understand their needs – give them the solution.

Tell your visitors how your products or services solve their problems.

4. Establish why they should work with you

Let’s face it, there’s probably a ton of other companies that do what you do. Why should people choose you over the competition?

You should have a long list of reasons. Put them on the page! Provide the benefits someone would experience when doing business with you. If your service or product has certain unique features, list those too.

5. Earn their trust

Why should someone trust you with their business? After all, everything thus far is your opinion. And it’s all worthless if there is nothing to substantiate it.

Give your visitors undeniable evidence that you know what you are talking about. Why not you’re your past clients do this for you? Get some great testimonials from them.

Use case studies to prove categorically that you can get results. Add client logos to show-off some of the clients you have done work for.

And what is a good lecture without some homework! When looking at the main service pages on your website, ask yourself these 5 questions:

  1. Have I identified who the customer is?
  2. Have I highlighted their problems?
  3. Do the services I have listed solve these problems, and has this been explained?
  4. Have I outlined why a customer should pick me over a competitor?
  5. What trust-building elements have been included to corroborate the above

Related Tags:

Website Lead Generation Companies Johannesburg

Website Design Cost: The Definitive Guide [Updated 2020]

Website Design Cost: The Definitive Guide [Updated 2020]

You are here because you want to know how much a website is going to cost you. You have a budget, and you want to know what you can get for it.


Table of Contents

  • What Is A Website Worth To You
  • Direct Factors That Affect The Cost of a Website
  • Indirect Factors That Affect The Cost of a Website
  • What Should A Website Cost


All the articles you have read about the cost of website designs are WRONG!
This article will change the way you think about website pricing.
If you want to find out how much you should be paying for website designs, then read on!

If you search “How much does a website cost” on Google, you will find over 1 billion results! The first 10 results will give you an itemised breakdown of exactly what a website will cost. Everything from hosting to the framework and add-ons.

And 80% of those articles will compare buying a website design to buying a car. According to them, there’s a “base price” and the more features you add, the more expensive it gets.

Whilst such a comparison seems logical, it is not the right way to think about website designs pricing.

To challenge the status quo I am not going to give you costs. There are quite literally 1 billion other articles you can get that information from. What I want to do, is change the way you think about websites.

What is a website worth to you?

I want to change the way that you think and go about paying for a website.

how much does a website cost

If I walked up to you and asked:

“Hey, want to buy this ATM for R500k” (ignore the fact that I am casually walking around with an ATM), you would probably be very sceptical – besides, even if you were interested in an ATM, where are you going to get R500k?

But what if I guaranteed you that the ATM had R1 million in it? I bet you would rustle up R500k quicker than a Gupta with speed-dial. Paying R500k for an empty ATM is madness, but doubling your money is a no-brainer!

Forget where I got this ATM from, the point I am making is that we are happy to pay for things as long as we will get value in return. So if the price is your biggest deciding factor when it comes to websites, then you aren’t seeing the value.

Depreciating Or appreciating?

To flog this analogy some more… You repaid your dodgy investors and you are now R500k (and one stolen ATM) richer. Do you spend the money, or invest it? Either way, you will have to part with it. Quite proud of yourself, you have chosen to invest. Your only consideration is which bank will give you the most return.

And this is the problem: Most businesses (generally the ones who struggle) see their website as an expense, a depreciating asset. What will it cost you now? Does it fall within your budget?

When in fact you should see your website as an appreciating asset, an investment. How much return will it give you? How long can it do that for?

When you buy inventory for your business – that’s not an expense, it’s an investment. Because you know that you can sell that inventory and make a profit. Your website is absolutely no different – a good website will make you money, undoubtedly.

Change your outlook

Sticking with my ATM analogy, let’s bring it closer to home. If I asked you: “Hey, want to buy a website for R100k” Again you would laugh me off. Who has R100k for a website!

But what if I told you this website design would generate 1 sale a week for 2 years? Assuming that 1 sale is worth R10 000 – that’s a 104 new clients and a total income of over R1m. Suddenly, paying R100k, R300k or even R500k seems worth it, if that’s what you are getting in return.

This is how you need to start looking at your website – as an asset that will give you a return on investment. Once that is your mindset it will change everything! The entire way you see your website, how you choose a web developer, everything.

Websites are more than just “things” that sit on the web providing people with information. Or at least they should be.

Not Cost, Value!

Of course, the cost of a website does play a part, you shouldn’t pay R100k for a website if you weren’t absolutely sure what you are getting in return. I am just saying that your mindset needs to move away from price, price, price and towards the value that it can offer you.

So to sum this up; the question is wrong – it should be: “How much does a GOOD website cost?” And the answer is: “Exactly as much as it needs to.”

I told you that this is not the answer you were looking for!

So, how much does a website cost?


Direct factors that affect the cost of a website:

  1. Size – number of pages
  2. Functionality – special features or add-ons
  3. Design – template design or a custom design
  4. Content – copywriting, photos, graphic design

Indirect factors that affect the cost of a website:

  1. Freelancer or Agency
  2. Agency Size


5 Web Design Mistakes You Need to Avoid in 2018

5 Web Design Mistakes You Need to Avoid in 2018

Your website could be costing you business, and you didn’t even know it! Like a salesman who is taking money under the table. Sacrilege. In this post, we will highlight the 5 biggest Web Design Mistakes that both small and large businesses make. We will also add some actionable techniques so that you can fix them!

So what are your Web Design Mistakes?

Just having a website is not good enough

Before we start with what you need to avoid, let’s hop in the DeLorean and travel back a few years…

In the early 2000’s when Google started to gain popularity, businesses saw the potential in having and building an online presence, more specifically, a website. With competition in the online realm being far from competitive, businesses saw a good return from just having a website. They would rank on the first page of Google without much effort. Leads flowed in. Life was good.

Until *he said, as the sky grew dark and the horses neighed* other businesses started catching on. Soon enough, everyone and their next door neighbour had a website. Suddenly the online landscape, once friendly and inviting, became cut-throat and fiercely competitive.

Today, just having a website is not good enough. You need a website that not only “attracts” more website traffic, but one that can convert visitors into sales. These are your top 5 web design mistakes you DON’T want to make.

1. Slow loading times

Website loading time is very important to both users and Search Engines. So much so that if your website takes more than 3 seconds to load, you could be losing nearly half of your visitors.

It makes complete sense – people are generally time-strapped, so the faster you can provide them with the info they need, the happier they are. And Search Engines promote websites that have faster loading times for exactly this reason – you are improving the user experience. If you want to test your website loading times, use our website auditor, It’s free.

So what can you do to decrease loading times? If you are using WordPress, install Page Speed Ninja. Just install it, and with one click you can shave seconds of your loading time.

2. Not mobile friendly

If your website is not “responsive” i.e. it does not adjust automatically to fit the device it is being viewed on, then you are losing business. No two ways about it.

Statistics show that in 2020 there will be 2.2 billion people using smartphones. And since we are throwing around statistics, here’s another one: in 2017 mobile devices were responsible for over 50.7% of all website traffic generated.

Welcome to the 21st century – this is how people browse the internet. They need a plumber, so they whip out their smartphone and Google “Plumber in Sandton”. If your website isn’t easy to browse on their phone, they will leave and try someone else.

Search Engines also prefer websites that are mobile friendly – because it improves the user’s browsing experience!

So how do you make your website responsive? Firstly head on over to www.responsivedesignchecker.com and test your website. If it not responsive, it would be best to talk to someone like LaunchWeb, who can convert your website into a lightweight, fast loading, mobile responsive website.

3. Poor design

In our article “Bad vs Good Website Design: Know the Difference” 2 of the 3 factors that we say make a good website design are Visual Design and Usability.

Visual Design is the overall aesthetic and style of the website. More than 90% of buying decisions are influenced by colour alone! If your website has a clean, professional design it leaves a great first impression on visitors and they will be more inclined to use your services.

So how do you fix poor Visual Design? Achieving a stunning Visual Design is easy, here are a few guidelines you can follow.

Usability refers to how easy it is for a visitor to use the website. Is the navigation logical and simple to use? Is the page content easy to understand? Are your contact details readily available? You might have a beautifully creative web design, but your visitors can’t find what they are looking for and so they get frustrated & leave.

Usability Design is like a horse, dangerous at both ends and tricky in the middle. What you might think users like, could actually be sending them away. (I realise now that my horse analogy makes no sense in the given context, but I needed to use it somewhere).

So how do you fix poor Usability Design?Heatmaps and Clickmaps! These tools will show you what users want, care about and interact with on your site by visually representing their clicks, taps and scrolling behaviour. Using a software like Hotjar you will get valuable insight into how people are using your site. With this data you can make layout improvements to make it easier for them to find what they need.

4. No call to action

The best way of getting anyone to do something is to ask them to do it. This might sound like common sense – but we all know what they say about common sense. You would be shocked at how many business websites fail to do this one simple thing.

Whilst design & usability make for good website design, to us, a website is useless if it does not achieve objectives! Knowing what it is you want your website to do, will guide your design process in the right direction from the start.

The ultimate goal of your website is to get visitors to perform an action – purchase a product, complete an enquiry form, subscribe to a newsletter, download an eBook. Whatever the action is that you want them to perform, you have to tell them to do it.

How to add more call to actions to your site: Take a look at your site, and just ask yourself “is this page asking me to do anything?” This is done with buttons and highlight sections and clever design.

5. No Search Engine Optimisation

Here is another statistic to warm your coffee: the first page of Google receives 95% of website traffic. If your coffee still hasn’t kicked in yet, this means that if your website is not on the first page of Google, then you aren’t featuring on your customers’ radar.

Basically, Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) is the practice of improving a website to increase the number of visitors the site receives from search engines. There are many aspects to SEO, from the words and elements on your page (on-page SEO) to the way other sites link back to your website (off-page SEO).

How do I get onto the first page of Google? Well, you can start by seeing just how bad your SEO might be – use our free website auditor to get a detailed SEO report. This report will tell you whether it’s elements on your website that need optimising, or if an off-page strategy is required. Either way, we can help you get there!

Did we miss anything?

Do you think we left anything out? Comment below with some web design mistakes you have seen both big and small company websites make.
Bad vs Good Website Design: Know the Difference

Bad vs Good Website Design: Know the Difference

What defines a good website design?

When it comes to good website design, there are three principles to consider; Visual Design (i.e. how pretty it looks), Usability (i.e. ease of use) and Objectives (i.e. what are the goals). This article will show you how great websites combine all three of these principles.

Visual Design

48% of people cited a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business. (source). The facts do not lie – the design of your website says a lot more about your business than you think!

It’s all about first impressions. If your website has a cluttered, messy or outdated design people will think that of your business. Our primitive brains form lasting opinions about things way before our rational mind can kick in.

The foundation of good website design lies in the visual aspect.

not an example of good website design

I have a headache just from looking at this.

Good website design leaves a lasting positive impression with visitors. Immediately it will be easier to turn that visitor into a lead or sale because they feel comfortable on your site. They haven’t been assaulted by a combination of Comic Sans & bad clipart.

Visual design mistakes that annoy visitors:
  • Flash! Google and Firefox have disabled the flash plugin on their browsers due to a ‘critical’ security flaw, which means your once-awesome FlashTM website no longer works… anywhere. You can read more about that here.
  • Background music! Background music should be reserved for elevators and holding whilst on the phone to Telkom. It interferes with a person’s browsing experience. Don’t do it.
  • Too many colours & fonts! Your website is not a Where’s Wally book! Don’t confuse your visitors with a myriad of colours and fonts, giving them a migraine as they try to find the “Contact Us” page.
  • Cluttered pages. Besides just looking bad, cluttered pages are confusing and require the visitor to put in a lot of energy to find that they are looking for. Too much of this and they will leave your website.
  • Long paragraphs of text. Remember when we spoke about short attention spans? People want quick answers, they do not have time to dissect large paragraphs to find what they are looking for.
  • Bad quality images. Images that are pixelated (low resolution) will make any website look cheap and amateur.

One last point: The biggest design mistake you can make is using a “free” website builder. Whilst you think it might save you money – it will actually cost you more money in the long run. Read our article: Free Website Builders are Killing Your Business

If we had a loaf of bread for every time we had to tell a business that the website they designed does not look great, we could start a successful bakery. Ok, enough about what makes a bad website – let’s talk about good website design.

Visual design principles that delight visitors:
  • White Space. Use space to your advantage in a website – it will allow you break up all the information on your site into digestible chunks. Using spacing effectively can also help to place emphasis on important sections & content.
  • Less is more. Try not to use 5 different fonts and colours when one or two will do. When in doubt, simplify.
  • Consistent design. This is a big one and it applies to spacing, fonts, colours, everything. Ensure that you carry one design theme through out your website.
  • Creative but not distracting. Its tough to reign in creativity but sometimes you have to. If you want large illustrations or decorative sections on your page, you need to balance it out with that white space we spoke of earlier.
  • High-quality images. Nothing annoys a visitor more than badly formatted images with poor resolution. If you have lots of images on your site, ensure that they are the correct size so that they display well.

One thing to note is that good website design is something that changes with the times. Design trends change, and it’s up to you to stay with it. Here are 19 web design trends for 2018 – get inspired!

good website design

A nice example of a creative design with ample white space


Really simply; usability is how quickly and easily a visitor can find what they are looking for on a website. Another term for usability is “user experience” – are visitors enjoying their time on your website? Or are they getting frustrated?

You might have a beautifully creative web design, but your visitors can’t find what they are looking for. So, in the end, they just get frustrated & leave. You can see how usability & design are linked. Another example: by using the visual design principle of white space, you can improve the usability of your website by breaking up information into logical chunks.

mailchimp a good example of good website design

MailChimp is an excellent example of a combination of creative design & usability

Improving usability really comes down to understanding your customer. How do they think? Are they technologically inclined? Do they understand the services you provide? Do they prefer speaking on the phone or sending an enquiry?

Knowing your customer means you can design a website that will really engage with them. Businesses fall victim to the mistake of creating a website that they like and not a website that their customers will like.

Let’s look at a few ways you can improve your website’s usability.

Improving your website Usability:
  • Add a USP. A unique selling proposition is generally a one-sentence statement that explains your business & services to a visitor. It sits on your homepage, above the fold so that it’s the first thing a visitor sees. It let’s them know what you do and why they should stick around.
  • Establish Information Hierarchy. This is arguably one of the most effective UX design principles. It means arranging & prioritising the content on a webpage so that it does not overwhelm visitors, but rather slowly educates and intrigues them, keeping them on the site.
  • Guide visitors with colour. If your overall website colour scheme is green then consider using an orange or red to highlight buttons or important areas where you want visitors to take action. If your website looks like a Jackson Pollock painting, your visitor has no chance of knowing where they need to go next!
  • Simplify Text. Keep the content on your site limited to headings sub-headings, short paragraphs of text, bullet points and lists. People want answers and fast, they aren’t going to stop and read long paragraphs. The easier to digest, the better.
  • Simple navigation. Your website must be easy to navigate so visitors can find what they are looking for without wasting time. Dont add endless menu’s & sub-menus – limit menus to 1 sub-level only. If your website is really information heavy (i.e. lots of articles, pages etc.) then consider using a sidebar navigation menu. Navigation is probably the most overlooked aspect of website design. Users will abandon a website if the navigation is not intuitive.

But all of the above is worth nothing if you don’t understand who your customer is, and how they would browse a website.


Whilst design & usability make good website design, to us great website design is one that achieves objectives! Yes, I did say that you should be designing your website for your customers, but actually, you need to design it for your business objectives.

Knowing what it is you want your website to do, will guide your design process in the right direction from the start. Whenever we start a WordPress web design process with a client we follow this order:

  1. Objectives. What do you want the website to achieve?
  2. Usability. Who will be visiting this website?
  3. Design. What does the website need to look like, to achieve the above?

This is truly a recipe for success. Follow this process with your own website and you can’t go wrong.

Good Website Design: TL;DR (Too long; didn’t read)

First impressions matter, especially when it comes to your website. A clean, professional website will promote confidence & trust in your audience. Simplicity is the name of the game – when in doubt use fewer colours and fewer fonts. Try to balance creative design with simple page layouts. Stay up to date with the latest design trends!

Understanding your customers and how they interact with websites will allow you to craft a pleasurable website experience for them. Prioritise content on your pages so that the most important features or benefits sit near the top of the page. Add intuitive navigation to pages so that visitors can easily find what they need.

And finally, determine what it is you want the website to do, and let that be your guiding light throughout the entire design process. Design with the end in mind!

Bad websites are cluttered & confusing; indicative of companies that can’t communicate efficiently with their visitors. Good websites achieve objectives through a combination of great visual & user experience design.

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