Lots of people call themselves “professional web designers.” I suppose many of them are, in the sense that they have uploaded pages to the web on behalf of their clients for money. To me, however, there is so much more to the job and distinction than that. After all, building websites isn’t inherently difficult. Qualifying yourself as a professional means going a bit above and beyond what anyone else with the right software can do.

In my mind, here are a few habits that separate a true professional web designer from the pretenders and amateurs…

They Focus on What Their Clients Need

In my experience, many part-time web designers get into the business because they view themselves as artistic people. They like to draw and create, and want to find a way to get paid for it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, being a professional web designer isn’t about satisfying your own creative instincts. Instead, a true professional figures out what their client needs and then delivers it, even if it doesn’t fit their own personal tastes.

A Professional Web Designer Is Easy to Work With

In the same way, calling yourself a professional at anything suggests you can behave in a professional manner. If an artist is prone to throwing tantrums or picking fights over the creative direction of a website (see above), then they aren’t really in the business of marketing. Someone who is competent in their work should be easy to deal with, and you shouldn’t settle for anything less.

Professional Web Designers Charge Professional Rates

Obviously, there is a huge range out there when it comes to web design fees. You could spend a lot or a little for a new website depending on who you work with and what you need. However, a professional web designer is going to charge a professional rate. That’s important because it signifies they are going to put in the time needed to learn about a client, figure out their needs, and do the best job they can.

They Should Provide Ongoing Help and Website Support

There was a time when the job of a web designer was to upload your pages to the internet and wish you the best of luck. Now, though, it’s not enough to have a great website – you need search engine optimization, social media, pay-per-click advertising, and/or email marketing just to keep buyers coming your way. A professional web designer will help you to plan and coordinate these activities so you can get the most from your investment and build a strong bottom line.

Professional Web Designers Prioritize Client Satisfaction

All of these ideas really build towards a bigger point: a professional web designer is someone who helps you by applying their talents and experience to your business goals and challenges. They prioritize your satisfaction because that’s how they build the right reputation and make a living month after month. Your website is too important to trust it to any person or team who doesn’t want to see you come out ahead.

At the end of the day, a professional web designer is someone who is committed to helping their clients achieve the right business goals, not just playing around with templates and software packages. If you aren’t getting that level of service from your creative team, it might be time to take your business elsewhere.