Web Designer vs Web Developer

Web Designer vs Web Developer

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Do you want to grow your business in 2021? One way would be to invest a percentage of your revenue into updating your website. However, if you do not have someone to handle it in-house, you will have to hire a web designer or web developer. Or both. In this post, we will break down the roles of web designers and web developers to help you make the best choice.

What is a web designer?

A web designer constructs the portion of a website that is visible to its users. While most web designers’ jobs may be coming up with a great design, their work encompasses more than just graphic design.

Web designers typically know a few programming languages (HTML and CSS)  and development tools. Their knowledge and skills overlap those of front-end web developers, which we will discuss after web designers.

What projects do web designers take?

Web Design Projects

Web designers work on a wide variety of projects related to creating, updating, and maintaining the front end. They include but are not limited to the following.

  • Unique website designs with HTML, CSS, etc.
  • Theme/template designs for content management systems like WordPress, eCommerce systems like Shopify, and online publishing services like Tumblr.
  • Responsive designs, so websites perform well on all devices.

What skills do web designers possess?

Web designers possess creativity when it comes to making a website visually appealing. In addition, they have in-depth graphic design knowledge and experience with front-end programming languages like HTML and CSS.

Some will have a platform of choice (i.e., a web designer specializing in customizing Shopify templates). Others will have a working knowledge of most major platforms to work for more clients.

All web designers must possess great communication skills to work with clients, web developers, and others involved in the project. In addition, they must be able to interpret their client’s needs and implement them into the website design.

What tools do web designers use?

Common tools web designers use include Adobe XD, Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Illustrator, Bootstrap, Canva, InVision, Sketch, and Webflow.

Web Design Tool

How much does a web designer cost?

According to Payscale, web designers in Canada earn CA$36,000 – $65,000 a year, based on experience and skillsets. Upwork and similar marketplaces have the talent to hire freelance web designers at an average of $15 – $30 per hour.

Average Web Designer Salary in Canada

The real question is whether you need to hire a web designer for a one-time project, ongoing maintenance, or to sell web design services to others. Once you know the full scope of your website needs, you can choose to hire a full-time web designer or a freelance web designer.

What is a web developer?

A web developer focuses on the functionality of a website. For example, front-end web developers focus on coding executed in the browser for its user interface. On the other hand, back-end web developers focus on coding executed on the webserver that affects the website’s performance.

If you think of it in terms of a car, the web designer creates a car’s aesthetic elements while the developer builds and maintains the engine to run properly.

What projects do web developers take?

Web developers also work on a wide variety of projects. They include but are not limited to the following.

  • Ecommerce website and platform customization.
  • Content management system customization.
  • Membership or subscriber portal for online education.

What skills do web developers possess?

Web developers must learn several programming languages. For front-end web developers, it’s HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. For backend web developers, it’s Ruby, Python, PHP, and Java. Web developers also work with database systems like SQL and Oracle.

All web developers must possess great communication skills to work with clients, web designers, and others involved in the project. They must work with clients, interpret their needs, and deliver the right functionality with high-speed performance.

What tools do web developers use?

Front-end web developers use many of the same tools as web designers.  Back-end developers depend on code and text editors such as Notepad++ and Visual Studio, web application frameworks like Django and Ruby on Rails, package managers, and Git clients like GitHub and SourceTree.

They can utilize APIs, debugging and testing tools, and collaboration/project management tools. GitHub and similar clients also provide a home for web developers to share their best code portfolio.

Github Tool for Web Developer

How much does a web developer cost?

Web designers in Canada earn a salary of CA$39,000 – $75,000 a year, based on experience and skill sets, according to Glassdoor. However, Freshbooks found that freelance web developers charged $75 to $300 per hour.

Average Web Developer Salary in Canada

Again, the cost for a web developer really depends on the scope of your development needs. Is it a one-time web development project, ongoing maintenance and upgrades, or a service offering for your clients?

But before you decide on a full-time employee or freelancer for your web design and web development project, here’s how to decide which one you need.

How to Choose Between a Web Designer and Web Developer

Do you need a web designer or web developer? It depends on what type of website you envision for your business.

  • If you need a simple website to share information about your business and collect contact details from visitors, a web designer may be all you need.
  • If you need a content management system or eCommerce website that offers advanced functionality beyond the capabilities of commonly used platforms, you may need a web developer.
  • If you need a full website creation or redesign with advanced eCommerce or CMS functionality, you may need BOTH a web designer and web developer.
  • If you need the website, you have now to work better.

Instead of choosing between a web designer or a web developer, most businesses choose to work with a company that offers web design, development, and marketing. This approach allows you to hire a team of web designers and web developers who work together to create your ideal website or web application.

Best of all, instead of working with only one person’s experience and skills, you will be working with a team. This means you get decades’ worth of experience with web designers and web developers who have worked on projects with clients of all sizes and in various industries.

This combination of team experience and skills leads to websites that get results for your business. You don’t need a beautifully designed website if no one can find it. And you don’t need a website with advanced functionality if people leave within 30 seconds because they don’t like the design or it took too long to load.

You need a website designed and developed by a team that knows how to create a website that search engines can find and that people enjoy using. Search optimization will ensure that people can find your website. User experience optimization will make it more likely that those who find your website use it and convert.

Websites Designed with SEO in Mind

To succeed in 2021, your business needs a website that gets on the first page of search results. Organic SEO is one of the top traffic sources for most businesses. The best part about it is once you start to rank on page one for your top keywords, you start receiving traffic from search engines without paying for ads through Google Ads, Bing Ads, or similar services.

You know you want to outrank your competitors in search, and there is a good reason why. According to SmartInsights, websites that rank first organically will receive at least 23.3% of traffic from search users when a Featured Snippet is present in search results. The percentage jumps to 34.2% when a Featured Snippet is not present.

For comparison, the websites that rank #10, or at the bottom of the first SERPs, only receive 2.3% to 2.6% of clicks from search users. Therefore, moving up to the first position means increasing the number of clicks through to your website.

There are three parts to SEO – technical SEO, on-page SEO, and off-page SEO. Technical SEO refers to optimizations that can be made to your web server, code, or functionality to help search crawlers easily access your content. On-page SEO refers to optimizations that help search crawlers easily understand your content and correctly index it for its search users.

Your web designers and web developers have the ability to ensure your technical SEO and some on-page SEO is solid from the time you launch your new or newly redesigned website. They do this by:

  • Writing clean, error-free code.
  • Optimizing images within the design and content for the smallest possible without loss of quality. 
  • Using filenames and creating URLs with keywords in mind.
  • Incorporating specific business details (like name, address, and phone number) in the text instead of in a header or footer image only. 
  • Configuring web hosting server settings for the best possible performance.
  • Before launch, debugging and testing web applications to ensure no loss of conversions due to slow loading, missing pages, or other difficult to use features.

This is why you need web designers and web developers who work with search engines in mind. Their goal is to create a website that looks amazing, functions flawlessly, and loads at lightning-fast speeds.

Why the emphasis on speed? Google has also made advances in their algorithm that will allow them to place websites that perform faster and offer a better user experience across all devices higher in mobile-first search results. If you want your website to claim mobile traffic from search engines, you need to ensure it runs fast and without errors.

How Google Measures User Experience

Overall, Google wants to give the people who use their search engine the best user experience possible. This means that Google expects the websites on the first page of SERPs – especially mobile SERPs – to keep visitors engaged and provide a positive user experience.

When people experience slow loading times or do not find what they searched for, they will quickly leave your website. In Google Analytics, this is recorded as a part of your bounce rate.

So what happens when you and a competitor both rank for the same search terms, but your website has a higher bounce rate than theirs? Google is likely to move your competition ahead of you because the assumption is your competitors’ website is more able to deliver what Google search users want from that query.

If you have issues with high bounce rates, you could use a team of experienced web designers, web developers, user experience specialists, and search engine marketers to find out why people are leaving your website. Once they have identified the problems, they will have the right person to tackle each issue.

What Your Website Marketing Team Needs to Know

Want to get everything together for a web design and development project? Here is what your website marketing team will need to know to get your business online or help grow it.

  • A list of all of your current domains, social profiles, and claimed/important business listings. 
  • Links to offsite content, including videos, podcasts, guest contributions to other sites, interviews, etc. 
  • A flash drive of any original files for your logos and other creative assets. 
  • Preferred analytics, marketing, and project management tools already used or preferred. 
  • A detailed description of how you envision the results of your new website or website redesign. 
  • An honest estimation of your budget for this project. 

This will allow your website marketing team to review your online business presence. They can then offer suggestions on how to improve your website design, functionality, performance, search optimization, and user experience.

Maintaining Your Website

Launching a new website or redesigning an old one is just the start of website marketing. If you choose the right company for web design, they will also provide services to maintain your website and boost its visibility.

After your website is ready, your website marketing team can promote it through offsite SEO tactics. As they reach out and obtain links from relevant partners and distribute high-quality content, white labelled for your business, you will see increased website traffic, social following, leads, and sales.

This ongoing work isn’t a suggestion, so much as it is a requirement for businesses that want to stay ahead of their competition online. If your business stops promoting and your competitors continue, they will be the ones to attract traffic and customers online.

Ready to get started? Let us help you figure out what you need to make your website work for your business in 2021 and beyond. Learn more about our web design & development and our professional SEO services by contacting us.

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