Web Designer, Web Developer, Graphic Designer, Internet Marketer – what’s the difference?
It’s important to make the right choice when it comes to deciding which individual or firm will create your website. Many people use “web design” as an all-encompassing term, but in reality it’s not quite so simple.
Who is involved in creating a website?
You might begin with a Graphic Designer, who may also be a Web Designer. A Graphic Designer with no experience in designing for the web would likely not be a great choice to create your website, but they may very well be able to provide a logo, color scheme and font stack that would make up your branding. If you haven’t spent time on branding, you might need to focus on this before creating a website.
A Web Designer is a Graphic Designer who specializes in designing for the web. They understand layouts, site structures, user interface (UI) design and are familiar with web technologies and what works online. This is the person that will turn your germ of an idea into a functional and attractive final design, delivered as a layered Photoshop file ready for slicing into the components that will be handed to the next person down the production line.
A Web Developer is in charge of seeing to it that the final design handed to him/her from the Web Designer is turned into a finished functional product. One person could be in charge developing the front-end interface while another develops the server-side code that makes the magic happen. In many cases and on smaller projects this person is one and the same.
An Internet Marketer should help you determine how to fit your website into an overall marketing strategy, how to get more visits to your website and how to turn those leads into sales. They are up to speed with the latest trends and technologies but aren’t able to implement the actual website themselves.
So who do you turn to?
Should you select a Web Designer to build your website, it is quite likely that they’ll sub-contract out the development work to a third-party. You should consider asking as much about this third-party during your research process as you would about the designer. It’s important to know who you’re working with and how capable they are. A wonderful creative person could easily deliver a terrible site this way.
A Web Developer could indeed deliver an amazing functional, bug free and usable site, but they are probably not the person to turn to if you want to make things look pretty. Should you hire a Web Developer to build your site, you’d need to know who their creative support is.
It should come as no surprise that an Internet Marketer would jump at the chance to offer you a website, after all they know the business and are keen to offer you the after-services. They would however be sub-contracting both major task involved in creating a finished website to third parties. This entails increased risk and increased cost.
The reality is that you should not hire a Graphic Designer, a Web Designer, a Web Developer or an Internet Marketer to build your website. You should in fact hire all of these people and take advantage of their individual expertise. They should not be one person. A jack of all trades is an expert in none. Would you want your mechanic to be your surgeon too?
Consider hiring a specialized web firm with an experienced team of professionals who work well together. You’ll reduce risk and cost by finding and hiring these people all in one place.
A holistic approach gets results. Creative work that is poorly implemented or technical brilliance so ugly that it sends clients running for the hills is not the way to go. It’s no good hiring a web designer to build your site, nor is it wise to hire a programmer to design it.