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How to Choose the Right Web Designer Who Gets Your Sustainable Business Idea!

Close up of a cardboard package with several icons that read: "plastic free", "compostable", "recyclable", "bio-degradable".

It only takes about 50 milliseconds for visitors to form an opinion about whether they will like your website. That means you have only an instant to engage your target audience with attractive and clear information. Before they jump to another search result from a competitor or an entirely different topic.

The lesser-known metric is that 75% of consumers will take your website design and immediately judge your entire business from what they are navigating. That means your goal of saving the local rainforest or introducing a solar array next to the town dump won’t matter if you cannot convey these messages in a way that attracts visitors. You are facing an uphill battle that can be helped by high quality, experienced, and collaborative web designer.

A close up of a monitor with a web designer components on it (text styles, color, templates, etc.)
Photo by Balázs Kétyi on Unsplash

Why a Professional Web Designer/Developer Matters?

First, let’s separate two things. A web developer is a person who typically has programming experience or at least knowledge of specific languages to place applications and dynamic content on your website. A web designer uses visual attractiveness, layout, user experience, and interface metrics to make the site more appealing to your targeted audience. Most professionals are a blend of both disciplines, but it helps to know the difference.

Next, finding a quality web designer to work with any sustainable business idea, let alone an earth conscious project, can be a real challenge. You need them to be professional, experienced and listen close enough to your goals that you feel they will authentically represent your ideas in the online world. This is kind of like finding a therapist. You’re looking for that “it” factor you can trust. Here are a few tips.

A small booklet with "write ideas" written on it.
Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

1 - Start with the Idea

Most people will say set a budget first, but you’re considering a partner to build the online platform for your highly emotionally driven environmental project, and that requires having a clear goal first. This is the perfect time to work on your “elevator pitch” with your potential website collaboration.

You should be able to deliver a short (30sec-1min) speech that describes your eco conscious idea, product, or company in such a way that any listener will immediately understand your goals. Even if they completely disagree with your philosophy, at least they can clearly answer the who, what, why, when, and how of your idea.

A piggy bank right next to a judge's hammer.
Photo by Sasun Bughdaryan on Unsplash

2 - Now Get the Money

Once you have a clear definition of your company and its econscious goals, it’s time to crack out the piggy bank. If you are like more environmental causes, you operate on donations or a government-funded project. You will need to focus on what you can spend and what bells and whistles are worth the expense.

Look around at similar projects and get an understanding of what they offer on their website and thing bring the entire idea landscape to your potential designer. They will give you a ballpark figure of what you can expect to pay. Always have a limit in your mind and be willing to say “no” when necessary. You are not insulting anyone by turning them down. It just means you haven’t found your green match yet.

Four different rollers painting the wall with different colors: green, red, orange and blue.
Photo by David Pisnoy on Unsplash

3 - Choose Your Style

Web design and development is a varied industry, with specialists working in specific languages, genres, and styles. If you want a general idea of what we mean, check out the thousands of freelancers on Fiverr.com alone. You can get lost pretty quick in a sea of HTML, JavaScript, and so on. At the same point, hiring your uncle’s next-door neighbor, who has only done a few school sites, may not be the best way to go either.

The important thing is to decide on the scope of your project. Do you want an individual tackling the entire project, a customized local agency, or one of the big full-service agencies from New York, Boston, or LA? Each offers different pros and cons, and can come with various pricing packages.

Close up of a monitor filled with written code.
Photo by Branko Stancevic on Unsplash

4 - The Proof is in the Pudding

Let’s say this all together, everyone: do not hire someone without seeing their process and portfolio! It may seem like a no-brainer, but if you’re looking for a web designer collaboration for your sustainable business idea, they should probably have some experience working in that realm.

That doesn’t mean they need to have years of experience on the whaling ships of Greenpeace International or have spent a decade healing children in the Congo. But, it means they understand the basics of balancing resources with living standards, what your target market is going to look for, and how to convey your idea clearly and concisely.

A dog raising his paw, like he wants to ask something.
Photo by Camylla Battani on Unsplash

5 - Ask Questions

This is your idea. Your green baby focused on helping society make it a few more generations on this rock we call Earth. Don’t be afraid to ask critical questions about your business to the web designer you want to work with on your next project. This doesn’t have to be solely about their process but should be professional. You want them to feel comfortable but also impart an air of professionalism, so you end up with a high-quality product.

A close shot of a CNN mobile page.
Photo by Obi Onyeador on Unsplash

6 - Mobile and CMS

Two final golden rules to live by when searching for an eco conscious web designer collaboration are:

  1. Will the final product be 100% mobile responsive?
  2. Will there be an easy-to-use CMS?

The mobile responsive question is self-explanatory. The majority of consumers worldwide use their phones and tablets to search for and interact with businesses. If you want to reach them, you need a website that is equally or even more engaging on a mobile device.

The other point is a CMS (content management system). This interface behind the website allows people to update, manage, control, and change anything on a website. Most decent web developers will include a CMS for you to use, but you must know that upfront. Look for systems like Squarespace, WordPress, and Webflow. Those are the most popular and take very little to learn on your part.

Personally, I always recommend Webflow to my clients as it offers the most flexibility in creating a unique representation of your sustainable business (no boring templates!) and lets you edit your CMS or any website content for that matter in real-time (just click on what you want to edit and type, super easy!)

A business person high five-ing another
Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash

Finding that Perfect Match

Just like in the world of dating, don’t expect to meet Mr./Mrs. Perfect on your first try. Take your time and play the field a little. See what options you have and get to know your prospective web designer collaboration before jumping into bed with them.

You have poured a lot of time, money, sweat, and tears into your earth conscious project. You want to work with people that, at the very least, will treat your idea with respect and professionalism. Good luck and happy hunting!

What’s next for you?

If you want to see if we are a good match and discuss your sustainable business idea in great detail, you can always contact me here. If you want to know more about my step-by-step process on how we’re going to build your econscious online presence, you can learn more about that here.

Also, feel free to check out my free (heh) 5-day email course, How to Build Your Sustainable Brand. It will help you understand your brand, tell the story it needs to tell, and show your passion to the customers who will value and support your brand.

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