Do you want to find the best website designer to design a new website for your business? You’ve come to the right place. Personally, we can help with all of your web dev needs. We can also steer you in the right direction if a web design agency isn’t for you. Whichever route you take to creating the business website of your dreams, this guide will help you hire the best website designer.
Let’s start with the basics, shall we?
Do You Need a Website Designer Or a Website Developer?
The first step in getting your website up and running the way you want it is to determine what type of help you need. Do you need a brand new website or a website redesign or optimization? Answering this question will help you understand whether you need to hire a website designer or a website developer.
The type of website help you need depends on whether you need to change the appearance and/or function of your site. A website designer specializes in making your website look the way you want it to. A website developer builds your website and makes it function properly. Some people are both website designers and developers, but you should know the difference so you’re sure to hire for the service you want and need. Also, you may need to hire both if you’re launching a new website. That way, you can ensure that the site looks and functions the way you want it to from the beginning.
A quick side note: If you hire a website developer, you may also want to freshen up on website development terms so you ask for the right things and answer questions correctly. Speaking the same lingo is key with web design. It’ll also prevent you from being taken advantage of, as you’ll come to find, not all website designers and developers hold your best interest at heart.
Determine Website Priorities and Goals
Don’t forget to establish general plans for your website needs before you hire a website designer. Who is it for? What should it look like? What do you want your website to do? Do you plan to maintain it yourself once it’s built or will you need help with updates? Keep in mind that most websites are updated at least monthly. The answers to these questions also will help determine the type of web help you hire.
Why Hire a Website Designer?
This may already be obvious, but you need a website designer to make sure your site is visually appealing. People won’t stay on a website that isn’t attractive to them. In fact, 90% of people say they’ve left a poorly designed website. You’ve probably visited and abandoned an ugly, outdated, useless website too. Don’t let it be yours.
Hire a website designer if:
- You don’t have the time or knowledge to update your site, as described above,
- You don’t know how to get the results you want—like purchases, in-store visits, or demos—from your website, or
- Your website doesn’t stand out. There’s nothing about it that separates it from your competitors’ sites or any other site out there.
Things to Consider to Find the Best Website Designer
Once you’ve decided that it’s time to hire a web designer, then you have to figure out who to hire. There are generally three types of website designers: agency, in-house, or freelance. Here’s what each of those do for you:
- Website Design and Development Agency
An agency, like Charm School, contracts to work with you on your web project (and only that project) from start to finish, ensuring that your vision becomes a reality.
- In-house Website Designer
An in-house designer works for you full-time, which means they will not only set up your site, but will update it regularly. This seems like the ideal option, but it won’t work for every business because it requires you to pay for a full-time employee, which can be too costly for some small businesses. It also may not be necessary to have someone full-time if you don’t need your site updated frequently.
- Freelance Website Designer
Hiring a freelance website designer for your website likely is the cheapest option. You pay the freelancer and agreed-upon rate just for the work that needs to be done, then repeat the process when it needs to be updated. Many people have a wonderful experience managing their websites this way. However, it is risky. Not all freelancers are reliable or good at their work. Some website developers go rogue. Also, you’ll have to oversee the work, which takes a lot of time. We encourage you to think carefully about hiring a freelance web designer.
- DIY Website Design
We can do a lot of things really freakin’ well here at Charm School. We’re certain you can do a lot of things well too. But that doesn’t mean you can do all of the things. For example, Caroline does not excel at math, which is not too surprising for a word nerd. There also might be things you can do, but it’s more expedient to hire someone else who can do it better, faster or both. Website design may be an example of one of those things you just can’t or shouldn’t do. It takes 11–40 hours on average to design a website, making it a perfect example of something important to your business, but perhaps not a good use of your time. If this is you, don’t worry! Opt for one of the options above when hiring a website designer or developer.
Now that you understand your options, here are some things to consider when making the choice.
Website Design Budget
What you can afford will guide your decision-making, at least in part. So how much does it cost to build a website? Usually anywhere from $3,500 to $25,000 for small businesses. But this entirely depends on if you opt for a customized WordPress website, Shopify website, or a custom website. The latter is the most expensive option.
Decide in advance how much you can spend on your site, then look for a website designer who will do the job for a flat rate. As always, you get what you pay for. You can find freelance web designers who will charge super low rates and make big promises, but this can lead to a lot of problems.
Website Design Skill
You want to make sure the web designer you hire has the skills you need. Always ask to see a web designer’s portfolio. Do you like the work they’ve done? Are their skills recent and up-to-date? Can they work on the platform you plan to use or recommend a platform that will be easy for you to update in the future? Be sure to ask for references and testimonials from previous clients. We’ve heard some horror stories about website designers who just disappear or even worse.
Communicate clearly about your expectations and ask a lot of questions about the web designer’s process. Can and will they accomplish what you need them to? How will they accomplish this? If they refuse to explain their process in language you understand or won’t take time to sit down and explain their process with you, then you shouldn’t work with them.
What work will you get from your web designer? Be sure you understanding what your agreement includes. A web designer should include mock-ups of your website, at least three rounds of revisions, and files for your or your website developer to use. Note that only three rounds of revisions mean you’ll need to have a strong understanding going in of exactly what you want on the site and be able to communicate those desires clearly.
Once you decide you want changes to your website, you probably want them yesterday. Be realistic about the time it will take to complete your website redesign, but don’t just let the designer work without structure. Agree upon deadlines (final and incremental) that work for both parties. Expect two weeks to two months of work, depending on the changes you want.
Never give complete web admin access to your website designer. Doing so gives them total control of the site and could result in them holding it hostage. It sounds unbelievable, but clients have come to us for help after it happened to them. Instead create users for each platform, which allows you to remove permissions immediately and gives you the ability to prove you’re the owner of the account, if necessary.
The web designer you hire should be communicative, skilled, and send up no obvious red flags. If, at any time, you think the web designer may be acting less than professional, move on. Instead, look for someone willing to meet your needs without overpromising. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Consider doing a small test project, like an update to one page of your website, as a way to gauge how well you and the designer work together. Pay attention to how responsive the designer is to your calls and emails. And be sure to get a proposal, statement of work, and a contract complete with deadlines and payment amounts. Professional web designers will behave professionally.
Hire the Best Website Designer and/or Developer
Hiring a web designer can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. We hope this post helps inform your web hiring needs. And, of course, we’d love to help you with your website design or development. Take a look at some of our client testimonials to see what others think about or work. Have questions or want to work together? Contact us!