If you are looking for help with your psychotherapy website or shopping for an entirely new one, it’s really important to understand the difference between the type of help that you can get from web designers vs web developers.
Most designers know quite a bit about web development and most web developers know a bit about design. And sometimes, you can find someone who does both web design and development.
Nevertheless, it’s good to separate out the tasks of either title so that once you have diagnosed your website needs, you can easily determine who to look to for help.
Web design focuses on the look and feel of a website. Web designers are well versed in design principles and know how to add that vital visual communication layer to getting your solutions out there. A web designer helps you speak visually to your clients.
They would be concerned with answering questions like, “What font will best express kindness?” or “What menu style will be the most usable and easy for the website visitors?”
Most talented web designers have a strong design intuition and are creative problem solvers.
What Web Designers Can Help You With
- Layout. For example, your blog design feels claustrophobic.
- Style guide and color palette development. For example, you need to develop a cohesive visual voice including fonts and colors.
- Responsive design. For example, you want a responsive website design that makes browsing effortless on a small screen.
- Authenticity in visual communication. For example, you want someone to get to know your message and translate it into visual elements.
- Design to appeal to certain clients. For example, your current website doesn’t attract the right type of clients, how can you update the design to work for you?
- Usability. For example, your website navigation is confusing.
- Sometimes* – website strategy is the marketing strategy that is specific to websites but ties into your larger business marketing strategy. A website strategy might include getting clarity on your website’s goals and evaluating how you can achieve these goals.
Web development handles the inner workings of a website. A web developer writes the code that brings the design to your browser window.
A web developer would be concerned with answering questions like, “Which content management system would be the best match for this website’s functionality needs?” or “Which WordPress plugin is a good choice for the image gallery?”
Most talented web developers have years of experience writing code, have strong technical skills, and are very logical.
What Web Developers Can Help You With
- Building websites with code. For example, you have been handed a design file from your designer and it needs to be turned into a functional website.
- Website care. For example, you need someone to make backups of your website every month.
- Website security. For example, to keep your website up and running, you need regular security scanning to detect hacks.
- Adding functionality. For example, you’re in the market for a website upgrade and want to add a contact form, a plugins for social media sharing on your posts, and an image gallery from the workshop you held last month.
- Website speed. For example, your website is has been slowing down and you need to make it load faster for your website visitors.
Some web designers and web developers will have further skills that complement the website building process.
Keep in mind that no one can be an expert at all of the things. But it would be reasonable that someone have multiple competencies that can provide more services.
Further skills might include:
- Copywriting is the writing and editing of the website’s written content, typically with a goal in mind (Ex: speak to my ideal client, get my visitors to sign up for my newsletter, or have all verbal signs point to my contact page so visitors can get in touch).
- SEO, or Search Engine Optimization, is making the code and content as visible as possible to search engines in an effort to improve ranking on search engine results pages.
Depending on what type of help you need in these areas, there’s a big chance that you shouldn’t be hiring a designer or a developer for these tasks unless they explicitly outline their skills in these areas and have proven competency. (Especially when it comes to SEO. There are so many scammers out there. So please be careful).
When you are trying to find someone to help with your website, first try to narrow down what it is exactly that you need. If you are struggling with this, you may find my post on the costs of a custom website helpful as it outlines the major and related services needed to get a custom website built. I also did a guest post about things to think about before you consult with a web designer that may help you think your needs through.
Once you have clarity on your needs, then try to figure out who would best help you with this problem.
Is your visual communication all over the place? Hire a designer! Is your website not functioning correctly? Hire a developer!
The above post should help you understand a bit about the typical skill scope of web designers and web developers. And if you need any further help at all with figuring out where to go, don’t hesitate to shoot me a quick message or tweet me and ask. I would love to help you.