How to hire a web designer (5 things to consider)

So you’re finally ready to take the big step. You want to take your business to the next level and get a professional website built, but what are the steps you should follow to ensure your project will be a success?

In this article, we’ll discuss 5 things you need to consider when hiring a web designer. I’ve been building websites for businesses for over 15 years and I’ve learned a few things along the way. We’ll discuss 5 main points to make sure your project goes smoothly.

So here are the 5 tips I’d recommend:

1. Have a general idea of your budget before you start your project.

Based on the amount you have in your budget will determine what you can expect.  If you want to work with a solid web developer that can create a standard brochure website on a platform like WordPress, you might expect somewhere between $3,000 and $6,000.  If you want to work with someone that provides consultation to help not only deliver a quality looking site but will do research on your target audience, your competition and then work with you to produce a conversion based website, you should probably expect to start at around $10,000. Of course, projects can go much higher on price, but these are some starting numbers to give you an idea of what you should expect.

If you’ve far less money than either of these options, then you can look for services that allow you to set up your own website and populate it with content yourself. I often steer friends and potential clients that are working with small budgets in this direction. Unfortunately, though, you’re probably not going to get the most professional looking website, but it’s a solid start and better than nothing if you’re looking to just get started.

Or you might consider going the overseas route which I’ll discuss a little more in point #3.

Pro-tip: never tell a web designer that you’re hiring that if they cut you a discount now, you promise more work in the future for them. This is a big red flag in our community as this technique is used by clients that will often demand a lot of work and pay little.

2. Get a proposal with the details of your project

Make sure you clearly detail up front before you send money defining the expected functionality, timeline and site structure. Typically web designers will work with you to define a general site architecture up front to define how many pages the site will have and what functionality they’ll be providing. I’ve found that the more that is defined, the better.  Much better than a general, “Hey, I’ll build you a website” without going into detail which typically doesn’t work out so well for either party.

Get a written contract that defines these details as it will protect both you and the designer. What do I mean by this? When I started out, I rarely defined all the details and once we go into the project, new requests would pop up and the project would begin running off the rails resulting in scope creep. What ends up happening in this situation is that you’ll probably wear the designer out and in turn, unfortunately, they’ll get frustrated and potentially move on. We’ve had clients come to us after working with a designer or developer where the relationship turned sour. The work typically doesn’t get completed that the client wanted and we have to pick up the pieces.

If you’ve got a clearly defined document that both parties can agree to, it will make it so much easier during the course of the project to stick to this document to make sure both parties stay happy.

3. Should you hire a freelancer, an agency or hire someone overseas?

Honestly, this could be an entire article in and of itself. Each of these options come with different price points and have their own pros and cons.

Freelancer

If you work with a freelancer, you’re working with one individual who is probably juggling multiple projects. They are one individual and while they may be very talented, they may have strengths in one area but weak in another area. For example, they may be excellent at design but not so great at coding custom server-side programming.

Agency

If you go the agency route or working with a small team, you can typically expect to pay more but you have the advantage of having a team at your disposal that has multiple skill sets and can offer you more.

Overseas

This one is very tricky. Yes, the pros are that you can save a lot of money, but the cons are that can get burnt by bad work and communication. Unfortunately, a lot of people have their horror stories and we’ve heard our fair share of clients that come to us after a project has completely fallen apart and they have to start over with us.

What’s my advice on this point? Honestly, it ties into point #1. What’s your budget? I’ll probably make a more in-depth article on this one at a future date.

4. Ask for a portfolio and examples of work done and referrals.

So regarding their portfolio, you can get a very quick idea of the level of quality of work you can expect. If you see their work and it is inline with what you’d like to get done for your own site, then that’s a good start. But if after reviewing their work, you are not impressed, then find a business you would like to work with. Pro tip: many sites have a link at the bottom of the page linking to the web designer who originally created their site. If you find a site you like, you can trace down that designer.

Regarding their referrals, this is a great way to get a client’s real insight and perspective. You can find out quickly if others enjoy working with the designer or not.

5. Get a general understanding of their technical skills and whether they can provide support post-launch

SEO

Do they have a basic handle on SEO?

Why is this important? Even if they’re not providing long-term SEO support, having someone that can set up your properly from a SEO perspective is critical.

CMS development

Can they build your site on a Content Management System like WordPress that will enable you to login and make updates yourself? This will save you a lot of money in the long-run.

Post-launch maintenance

After you launch the site, can they still provide you with support?

If you follow the tips above, you’ll have a much more pleasurable experience on your project.

And oh yeh, where can you find web designers and developers? A simple search on Google will yield more options than you can imagine. You can also contact me directly as well to get things started as I’d be more than happy to set up an initial consultation call.

What are your thoughts?  Post those in the comment section below.

Remember, you only get one chance at first impressions, and make sure your website provides that for your business.