When you are searching for a website specialist to create a website on behalf of your business it is important to understand the different terms associated with the various stages in the project. For the most part, your website project will include both website design and website development - In short, design is mostly about the visuals, how users interact and experience the website and requires a deep level of understanding about what your business does, who your target audience is and what you are aiming to achieve. Development on the other hand is generally what goes on behind the scenes, generally you, as a client, will not have much interaction with the development side of a website project, but in essence development is the engineering of the website, taking it from a set of static designs and transforming those designs into a fully functioning website that can be accessed by your users browser and interacted with.
Most designers will be able to create a design that are visually appealing, but not all will take the time to optimise designs to ensure your website not only looks great but also guides users through a journey to ensure the information they are looking for can be found and also prioritise content.
In general, as a client you will be involved in the web design process to ensure a) you are happy with the designs and feel they correctly represent your brand and b) to bounce ideas off, you are likely to know your business better than anyone else and therefore will have insight and challenge what has been presented to you. Only through collaboration can a website be designed to ensure it delivers a great experience to your users and leaves them feeling good about your brand.
A good web developer will work to ensure that your website follows best practices, accessibility, performance and creating a good base on which to build out your SEO content. If a website has been developed without these key factors being covered then it could look great and function properly, but search engines such as Google will be likely to lower your rankings, no matter how good the content you have produced is.
You can check if a web developer is good before you start a project by checking their google lighthouse scores. To do this start by looking at their portfolio, navigating to a site they have produced, then (using google chrome) right click and press 'inspect' - This will open a panel that is filled with code that you may or may not understand. In the top menu of this panel you will see 'Elements Console Sources etc.) go to the link that is called 'lighthouse' from here you can generate a report that will give each of the 4 key categories (Performance, Accessibility, Best Practices and SEO) a score out of 100 - The higher the score the better, generally anything above 70% can be considered good and any in the 90% are very good.
Once a website has been fully developed and thoroughly tested, you will likely receive a link from your agency to be able to view and interact with the site and begin uploading your content through the CMS system such as WordPress, Webflow, Shopify etc. that will be providing the tools to change and update your content.
If you have any questions regarding Website Design and Website Development please feel free to get in touch.