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How to Hire the Best Web Designer for Your Business

Yes, your business needs a website, even if you don’t plan on launching an e-commerce site or publishing lots of content. That’s because many people will search for your business name. A high-quality website doubles as a virtual business card and 24/7 salesperson. In short, you want to make a good impression, and unfortunately, DIY web design isn’t always the way to achieve that. 

So, how can you find a web designer who can bring your vision to life and portray your brand effectively? There are countless designers all advertising their services. The key to making your business website design (relatively) easy for both you and the designer is to find the right candidate. Here’s everything you need to know about hiring a web designer and how to make sure your project is successful. 

Know What You Want to Achieve

Perhaps you’re seeking a web designer because you believe every business needs a website. We did just say that, but to be clear, a website is not simply a to-do on your business launch checklist. It needs to be integrated with your overall marketing strategy. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who do you want to visit your website?
  • Once they’re there, what do you want them to do?
  • How will you drive traffic to the site?
  • Will your website be connected to your CRM, order management system, etc.?

The reason you need to answer these questions is that web designers need to start with a site’s purpose. This allows them to optimize your site’s User Experience, or UX — the essential flow of content and actions they take on the site. If you’ve ever visited a website and had no idea how to find the information you needed (and we all have), you know the importance of a good UX. It comes first, way before you start adding widgets and photos to the site.

So, before you hire a web designer, make sure they’re experienced in the type of site you need: e-commerce, booking, publishing, etc. 

Prepare Your Design Brief

But hold on — don’t head for the job sites just yet. Before you ever talk to a designer, have a fairly clear idea of what you want the site to look like. If your business already has a brand identity kit, be prepared to share that with a designer. Even without the details (hex color codes, fonts, etc.), you should be able to express the look and feel you want your visitors to have. Will the site be sleek and modern? Immersive with rich imagery? Funky and dynamic? The more decisions you can make before contacting a potential designer, the better. Otherwise, plan to have a lot of back-and-forths… or worse, a site design that’s totally wrong for your brand but which you still need to pay for. 

Then, plan out the content you need. Your new site certainly isn’t set in stone, and you don’t have to have the final copy. (You can use Lorem ipsum.) But do know which pages you need and what type of content you’ll need on each page. For example, most service-based businesses have three core pages: About Us, Services, and Book Now. If you’re a creative enterprise, you’ll likely have a Portfolio page as well. Each page will need a header section, body content, and, usually, a call-to-action. Decide now what you need to include. A marketing consultant and UX designer can work together to help you with this. (Sometimes, they’re the same person!)

Find a Web Designer Who Suits Your Needs

Now, you’re ready to hire a web designer, right? Not quite. “Web designer” is a rather broad label encompassing a wide variety of professionals. Some web designers only do the mockup of a site. They create a design in Photoshop or Sketch, then leave it to a web developer to build the code. Some designers also incorporate UX design. Others will develop the basic back-end structure (e.g. a WordPress theme) but not implement the site. Rarely will you find a web designer who also codes and installs the site in the same project.

The more people you hire, the more your costs rise. So, choose wisely. If you’re able to provide a detailed creative brief for a simple site, you can hire one designer to mock up the site and one developer to build. Otherwise, you may need to book a complete UX/web designer (or two separate people), as well as a developer. If you’re setting up e-commerce functionality, a publishing platform, or other “goodies,” expect the cost to rise even more. 

Unfortunately, there are no standard rates for this type of work. Some businesses pay $1,000-5,000 for a website; others pay $10,000 or more. Your best bet is to know what you want, find several candidates who can make it happen, and evaluate each one on a case-by-case basis.

Don’t automatically choose the cheaper option. Ever heard the saying “You get what you pay for”? That’s especially true in web design. A cheap designer may deliver an unviable or unprofessional design. Then, you’ll just have to hire someone else. On the flip side, the priciest web designer isn’t necessarily the best choice.

Ultimately, you need to find a designer who understands your market, can interpret your vision, and offers the pricing and turnaround that best meshes with your budget and timeline. To assess their competencies, ask them some key questions. What’s their process like? Do they use the latest versions of coding languages? How do they translate a brand message into design elements? Do they seem passionate about your project? When can you expect results? And so on.

Where Do You Find a Web Designer?

Great question! Web designers are available as independent freelancers and agency creatives, both for one-time projects and long-term work. You can always tap into your professional network to see if someone can refer you to a qualified designer. Otherwise, check out these sources:

Career sites: Freelance designers often advertise their services on career sites such as LinkedIn and Indeed. You can also post a job and accept applicants.

Freelance job boards: Platforms as Fiverr and Upwork have thousands of web designers, although keep in mind that you’ll have to sift through a lot of profiles. 

Marketing and design agencies: If you need a full marketing consultation and/or UX design, an agency will provide you with a team of designers who can make your project happen. 

Crowdsourced design agencies: Run a design content on a platform such as Hatchwise, and you can get dozens of submissions from pre-vetted web designers.

On-demand creative services agencies: Have multiple, clearly defined web design projects? Subscribe to a service like Flocksy and get web design whenever you need it per your creative brief.

Wrapping Up

Even after you’ve found your ideal designer, keep in mind that you’re the client. You can partly rely on their skills and creativity, but you still need to provide guidance and feedback. The best websites are the product of thoughtful collaboration and careful coordination. Communicate frequently and in detail to ensure that the final web design aligns with your marketing goals.