Hiring a web designer is a big decision since your website is the first impression of your company for many would-be customers. A poorly designed site hurts your site’s search engine optimization, regardless of the quality of its content or your ad campaign. A good website design is rendered irrelevant by the bad press of a security flaw that results in customers’ financial information being compromised. When you are hiring a web designer, watch out for these red flags.

Poor Communication

A web designer that won’t listen to your design input now is unlikely to listen to your requests to change the site when it is finished. Someone who is slow to respond to requests for quotes or answering technical questions probably won’t react quickly if told there is a problem with the site. Good web designers proactively remain in contact with you.

A Failure to Sufficiently Test Your Site

One common problem with websites is the failure to test it across many different devices, browsers, and operating systems. Just because it looks good on a Linux server doesn’t mean it looks good on a Windows 8 machine or Apple tablet. Web designers that work on an Apple computer and check it on an Apple phone may not bother to test your website on a Windows machine or Samsung smartphone, and some will save time and money by not setting up an emulator and testing every likely configuration.

Also, if the web designer you’re going for lacks basic understanding about web hosting configuration or cannot get around limitations set by certain web hosts, you might be in trouble. Companies like certahosting.co.uk will run PHP and use MySQL for their databases, but others might be configured differently. Your designer has to be well-versed in all types of web hosting configurations.

User Experience

A flashy or glossy web page is only the start of the user’s experience. The next step comes from ease of navigation and an intuitive layout to find information. If someone’s portfolio features sites that are hard to navigate, especially on a mobile device, this is a red flag. Sites that look good, but don’t direct users to critical information like the location of a store or give them a streamlined checkout process, are a major red flag.

Web Design That Ignores SEO

Web design impacts search engine optimization. Web designers that don’t bother to enter web page descriptions, tags and Meta tags hurt your site’s search engine optimization. You can test this issue by searching for websites the web designer created in search engines and seeing if it has search engine optimized descriptions and metadata. Web pages with keyword rich descriptions are a positive indication. Design elements like URLs that contain the description of the content are a plus.

Web designers that don’t communicate sufficiently with you during the design process won’t adhere to your requests if you don’t like the results. Someone who won’t thoroughly test your site will hurt your site’s performance for a large segment of your users. Don’t use web designers who ignore either search engine optimization or social media optimization. Only work with web designers who understand that the user experience is far more than the initial look of your website.