10 Tips For Working With a Professional Web Designer

Getting the best from your web designer is easy. I have worked as a web designer for over 15 years. Here are some insider tips to give you better value and better results when selecting who to work with.

1. Meet with your web designer early. Discussing the business through with a professional advisor can help you target areas and keyword terms for your industry that are searched for the most, and you can structure ideas for a site around what is technically possible. Good design agencies and web designers don’t charge for a consultation, but remember to keep it brief.

2. Plan – Anything you do before engaging a web designer will help you. Start with 3 pages, Home, Products/Services, Contact, and build from there.

3. Communication – In person if possible. Working closely with a web designer, and someone that understands your objectives is important. Working remotely with a web designer is possible, and a telephone meeting or SKYPE video call is always available from good designers, but for the best results, having the opportunity to meet face to face, and discuss the process is always a very good use of time.

4. Find the best web designer you can afford. If you have unlimited budget, go to one of the top agencies. You will get great results. If you have a limited budget, or need better value you might consider a smaller company or freelance web designer. Often smaller companies work for the large companies, and manage the project, so you will be cutting out the middle man.

5. Budget – Be realistic with your budget. Share what your budget is, as an honest web designer will be able to advise what is possible. Asking for a random quote is likely to result in the web designer picking a ballpark which might be completely over what you are prepared to pay, or suggest a cheaper website that will be completely incapable of meeting your expectations. Better to ask. “I want ???…. what can I get for £££”.

6. Experience – Hire someone with experience and examples that they can show you. Today it is very easy for anyone to call themselves a web designer and install a cheap template, going to someone with experience will often result in lots of extras such as snippets of free code that they have used on other sites, cutting edge search engine coding techniques, and of course a professional finish.

7. The Triangle – A:Cheap, B:Quality, C:Fast turnaround. Expecting all three is rarely possible. Choose your most important 2 from this list and use this as a basis of discussion with your web designer. If a company says that they can deliver all three, they are probably lying or unrealistic.

8. Start Small – Build a foundation for the future and let the site grow, don’t do it all at once and expect it to be done forever straight away.

9. Building a Site is the START – Promotion is a marathon, and your domain authority, like your business reputation will take time to establish. Commit to putting time into the site regularly to maintain it and promote it, or allocate budget to a company to do this for you.

10. Support – Consider service and support. If you are confident with DNS (setting up domain names etc), or acquiring your own hosting this can save you money which you can invest elsewhere. If you are not confident doing this, choose a technical web designer who you are confident can solve technical problems as well as making your site look pretty.

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Choosing a Business Name that Matches a Domain Name

Today you should match a new business name with a domain name. Most domain names have been registered, but here are some professional designer special tips in choosing a unique name.

1.Choose a business name that matches a domain name that is available.

The most professional solution is to have a business name where you can register a domain name to match your new business name. Often today most domain names are already taken, so you might consider making a word up like ‘google’ or combining a few words together. There are some great services that resell domain names that have expired such as justdropped.com.

2. Search Engine SEO domain choice A

Sometimes it might be useful to register a domain name that includes some key words that are appropriate to your business. This is by no means a secret trick that will give you instant page one Google ranking, but it might be one of many factors (all else being equal) that could help. If you provide a service, consider registering a domain that includes a relevant term such as watersoftenerstogo.co.uk.

3. Search Engine SEO domain choice B

If your business is geographically sensitive, or focused on a catchment area and unlikely to move, consider including a location or city in your domain. Examples are corporatevideobristol.co.uk and bristolheadshots.co.uk. Adding a location makes it much more likely that your domain name is available and also more likely to be found for that search term.

4. Dot Com or Dot Co Dot UK

In the UK businesses should choose a .co.uk domain name address. If you are building an international ‘BRAND’ then consider also owning the .com. .co.uk are slightly cheaper than .com domains. Check to see what is on the .com domain if it is already registered. Sometimes similar named businesses can use the .com or .co.uk and it can get confusing. An example of this we have had is www.churchfarmholidaycottages.com.

Choosing an Email Address

Most businesses will have email and a website as it is one of the best ways to attract business and provide information to your customers and potential customers. You should match your company name with your email address for the most professional result. Every domain name can only be used by one person as it has to be unique, but you can register an email address using someone else’s domain name if they allow it. There are a two main options:

1. Register a domain name yourself.

This is the most professional solution and requires you to pay a small fee to the company that registers your domain name to cover administration. You of course will own the rights to that domain name, usually for a two year period, although you can pay for longer. We call it ‘owning’ a domain, but essentially you are only renting the rights to use that set of words for the duration of your choosing. Once you own a domain name, you can attach it to an email service to collect your email. Often website hosting is provided together with email, but sometimes businesses use one company for their email, and another for their website hosting. They can both use the same domain name as a website and email are accessed using different naming conventions. Your website by typing http://www.yourdomain.com and email is accessed by email services in the format yourname@yourdomain.com. A website designer can set up your domain name for you, or there are many online services that can help you. Often if you purchase ‘web hosting’ then this includes email and website space.

2. OR Register a new email address with an email service provider.

There are many of these such as gmail, yahoo or live.com. These services are usually free, in exchange for you having advertising on the pages where you view your email if you look at it online. The address you can use as your email will include the domain name of the email provider. Yourname @ the domain name of the provider. This gives the provider of the service further advertising. Examples are joebloggs@yahoo.co.uk, tomsmith@gmail.com or james@btinternet.com. These are a good option but you are limited in your choice of email address as you can’t have one that anyone else is using at the same company. Usually you are safe registering your company name, or a variation such as youruniquecompanyname@gmail.com or similar. It is considered more professional to use your own domain name, but if you decide to use an email provider try to avoid having an email address with numbers and dashes or hyphens.

Registering a Domain Name

If no one has ever registered a domain name, then you can register it. If someone has registered a domain name already, but isn’t using it, you can buy it from them. These are almost always overvalued by heir owners, so expect to pay a premium, but sometimes owners are reasonable. If you are looking to build a long term business using a domain name we recommend not to ‘borrow’ a domain, or rent it from someone for a limited period for a nominal fee. it is always best to register yourself as the official owner to avoid problems later down the line.

How to register a domain name

Find a domain name registration company online. There are many available and you will be able to search for names that are registered, and those that are available. We have always used simplynames.com and still have all of our domains registered there. Be careful when choosing a provider what is included, as many charge a much higher renewal fee (simplynames do this) and some charge a fee to move services away from then (usually around £20 but it can be higher), or for extra services like changing the settings or registered owner. Registering a domain online through one of these companies is the cheapest option and means you are not tied to a web designer. Alternatively ask your website designer. This is the easiest option and you will probably get your domain for free inclusive in a monthly hosting or service fee.

Who is registered on a domain name?

You, the business owner should always be registered as the owner of the domain name. There are also two other sets of information that is added to a domain to make it easier to administer.

1. You are always the registered owner of the domain name

This is the information that will be publicly available unless you have specifically paid to hide the information. You can register a domain name to a company or an individual.

2. Technical and billing company

Usually your web designer, or website developer is registered as the technical contact on the domain, and responsible for billing. This is so that website designers can have access to technically manage the service on behalf of their clients, and pay the fees for renewal every 2 years. Often the web design company will run their own managed server network and provide web hosting and email services together with ongoing support, and bill their customer (you) one annual, or monthly fee to make things easier.

3. The registration company

The company that administers the domain registration paperwork and keeps computerised lookup tables of where the domain name should point is also listed. These are generally large companies and called ‘Registrars’. These companies maintain large databases of domain names which act like signal boxes on a rail network directing web traffic to the correct place.


Choosing a business name is important, and matching your online business domain name with your brand name is essential when creating a brand. If you are proving a product or service, tailoring your domain name to your sector is still important for search engine SEO.


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