Here is a list of tips you can use to find a good web designer. I often hire and work with other web designers on big projects, so I use these tips myself.
1) Where should you look? The best way to find a good web designer is to search the Internet on the name of your town/city and “web design” or “website design.” The web designers who come up on this search will usually know something about SEO (search engine optimization). SEO is the process of getting traffic to a website. If they can get you to see their website, then they might be able to get other people to see yours. They will also be able to meet with you to discuss your needs, gather materials, take photos, and train you on updating your site (if required).
2) Look at their website and portfolio. A good web designer will have a website with a portfolio of their work. If they don’t have a portfolio, this is a big warning sign. If they do have a portfolio, take some time to look at it. Their own site might be great, but they might not do as good a job on their client’s sites. Practical questions to keep in mind include: Is the navigation obvious and consistent on each page? Is the information well laid out and easy to read?
3) Good English skills are important. A web designer who uses incorrect grammar and makes spelling mistakes is going to be very hard to work with. You will have to ask them to make many changes to the text. Your website will not look professional unless it is well written and the grammar, spelling, and punctuation are perfect.
4) They should be friendly and easy to work with (of course). They should be able to answer all of your questions and explain everything thoroughly to you. You are going to have to work with them closely and be able to ask for changes to their work in order to get the website that you want, so it’s best to hire someone who is personable and open to change.
5) Other Warning Signs: Ok, I might get in trouble for saying this, but IT people and web design DO NOT MIX. Just because someone understands computers and programming doesn’t mean they know how to use a program to make something beautiful. An IT person is skilled at creating computer networks, desktop support, etc., while a web designer is more like an artist. Asking an IT person to design a website is like asking a mathematician to make a fine art painting. They are two totally different skill sets.
I hope this list of tips helps you in your search for a web designer. Good luck.