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Should I Hire a Website Designer or a Website Developer?

web design or development

You have decided that you need to take your business online or that you need to update your current website, great! But what now? You may turn to Google and use the search terms ‘website designer’ or ‘website developer’. These terms are often used interchangeably, but do they actually mean the same thing? Either term is likely to be a good starting point for your project, but strictly speaking no, the two terms have different meanings. Identifying what you require from your new website will help you to decide whether you are really searching for a web designer or a web developer.

Sometimes, development agencies, use the terms front-end and back-end developer. Using these terms is a great way to begin understanding the differing roles of a website developer and a website designer. In short, designers usually take care of the look and feel of a website, these are the front-end developers. Whereas, a developer would ensure the correct working and functionality of the site, and in this case would be a back-end developer.

What is a web designer?

  • Creative
  • Skilled in colour, branding and design
  • CSS, HTML and JavaScript languages

Website designers are usually creative, visual people.  Designers take care of the look of your website, including the colour palette, formatting, font, and branding. This can mean sketching ideas on paper or using computer design software to produce templates for how different pages will look. The homepage, category pages, product pages and blog pages would all utilise a different template.

website design v developer infographic

Not all website designers initially train as such, many have an educational grounding in graphic design then move into the field of designing websites later in their career. This is advantageous in that the respective developer has really strong design skills, however they may not be able to translate their designs into a functional website.

Training as a web designer from the outset means a strong base of graphic design skills. But also, ongoing learning of computer coding languages, that enable the developer to translate their designs into a fully functioning website.  Front-end developers, at a minimum, need to be skilled in working with html, CSS and JavaScript.

What is a web developer?

  • Technical function
  • Backend development
  • PHP, .NET, Python

Website developers are usually logical and technically minded. Developers are highly skilled computer programmers, who take care of the inner workings of a website. It is not the role of a web developer to make your website look pretty, it is their job to ensure it works as you would like it to.

Web developers have generally studied computer science to a high level and have many years of experience. They are fluent in html, CSS and JavaScript, but also have in-depth knowledge of programming languages such as PHP, .NET and python. Developers take care of website maintenance, server issues and ensuring user-friendly functionality and responsiveness.

Who Should you hire?

Choosing who to hire really does not have a one-size fits all answer. You need to ask yourself a series of question to determine what will best suit your requirements.  

  • What is the purpose of my website?
  • How big will my website be?
  • Do I require any unique features?

If you are new to having an online presence and don’t have much technical knowledge you may not immediately know the answer to some of these questions. Specifically, what counts as a unique feature? This is where it is a good idea to schedule in meetings, or at a minimum phone conversation, with several different designers and developers to discuss your requirements further.

Simply put, a web designer will meet your requirements if you require a basic website or ecommerce platform that runs on one of the big opensource platforms such as WordPress. If you want a site that sells your business and/or products, that is beautifully designed and provides standard functionality choosing a designer would be your best option.

If you are dreaming of a website with a multitude of features, some of which would be bespoke to you and the needs of your business, then hiring a web developer would be the best option. WordPress with additional plugins allows for a lot of functionality but a developer can help you to gain a higher level of technical function. They can purpose build or code features to specifically meet the needs of your business.

Beware, it is important that you identify exactly what you are receiving at the end of the project. Are you receiving a fully populated website that is ready to go? Or are you receiving the framework that you need to populate with text and images?

Tinks Digital Website Design Services

Tinks Digital offers a website design service. All websites that we build use WordPress as the base platform. We will tailor the colour scheme, design and content to fit the needs of your business. We will add plugins to enhance the functionality of the website and have skills in design specific coding including html and CSS.

Service Orientated Website Design

Here at Tinks Digital we work with both service and product orientated companies. If you offer a service, or services, we can build you a beautiful website to promote your business. Every website we build, unless you specifically ask us otherwise, will include an ‘about us’ page and ‘contact’ page with integrated contact form. We will build pages to showcase the service(s) that you offer, and can include text, images and videos to best sell your business to its’ target market. When you choose Tinks Digital, you will receive a fully populated website.

Product Orientated Website Design

If you want to create an online shop, we can also do this for you using WordPress and the popular WooCommerce plugin. We can design, beautiful category and product pages all optimised for conversion optimisation. When it comes to a product orientated website, the level of work we will do depends on multiple factors such as do you already have a website, and the budget you have. We will of course populate pages such as home, contact and about us. Category and product pages are unique to you and your business, if you already have a website, we can of course use what is already there in terms of product descriptions and images.  If this is a new online venture, we can either work with you to help you get started adding categories and products, or we can teach you how to do it yourself.

Now that you have a basic understanding of the differences between a website designer and website developer, you can start your search for the perfect professional to help you meet your needs. If you believe a website designer is perfect for you, contact us to further discuss your requirements. There is no hard-sell at Tinks Digital, we will be happy to discuss your needs, and provide a free, no-obligation quote.