Shopping for a website designer? Make sure you understand whether the “winning” in “award-winning” was earned – or purchased.
If you’re looking for a website designer, you’re likely to see various website design awards on many designer’s websites. That means they’ve been judged by an independent panel and had their award bestowed on them based solely on merit, right?
In some cases, that’s true. But there are a number of companies that deliver impressive-sounding awards to just about anyone on a demand basis. Those awards, called “Vanity Website Awards,” are meaningless — and can be hard to detect. Vanity Awards in many areas are a big business, and Better Business Bureaus warn consumers about them. Without checking awards out yourself, you might be deceived.
Dig for details
You certainly don’t select a website designer based on awards that the company has gotten (do you?), but that’s often a criteria. If it’s one of your deciding factors, though, caveat emptor. Consider these points:
Most website design awards cost money to enter. For example, the Webby Awards have a $295 fee for each category entered. WebAward costs $250 per category. They’re still judged by an expert panel, but only paid entries are considered. Still, these awards mean something. The Webby Award is the industry standard and as important as, say, an Oscar in the thespian world. Some firms, like 10BestDesign.com, present awards based on how much the site or designer is willing to pay. Some pay thousands per month. Pay more, and you get a higher ranking. Weigh this factor after checking the awarding body’s own website.
Research awards, then weigh their credibility.
Google the name of the award and visit the website of the awarding organization. What is its scope? Look at its “About” page and any FAQ pages you find. Don’t just accept that an award is valuable without checking for yourself. If it seems too easy to procure, then that award can’t be worth much.
Evaluate website designers yourself
As with any purchase, you need to research the companies and products you’re considering and solicit opinions from your social networks. Also, any website designer worth its salt will have an online portfolio of recent work it has designed – with links — on its own website. Visit those sites and envision your own company’s content in one of those designs. Does the designer offer a variety, or do they all look the same?
Most websites contain a designer credit at the bottom of the home page. Find sites that you like and contact their creator.
And certainly, ask any web designer you’re considering for references. A web designer who is proud of their work will be happy to give you references you can contact immediately.