How to Find and Hire the Right Web Designer

May 21, 2022// Category: Digital Marketing // Author: Omari Valentine

Shaking Hands At Interview Meeting

Everybody wants to develop a partnership with the right agency or web designer. That person can come through when you need to pivot or make a change. A good web designer is proactive: They alert you when things are not working, and make suggestions to get your website ranked higher. Having that person can be a huge component to the success of a small business, particularly when you’re just getting started.

Losing a designer due to a career change or other circumstances can lead to anxiety and then the whole cycle starts over.

The problem is the process of finding “the one” can be like having a second job until you find the right fit. And unfortunately, many situations end in disappointment.

There are a few things you can do that can make the process a lot smoother, so that your next hire can be a partnership that lasts.

Set the Right Expectations

Setting expectations too high or too low can be an issue.  Occasionally, I will speak to a prospect who tells me they only want to hire a web designer that has built websites in a niche industry. Invariably, the person I speak to has a very old and outdated website. Clearly, it’s not a priority for them.

If you narrow the field too much, you’ll find it difficult to find anyone who matches your criteria.

There are reasons why it may be reasonable to find a designer who has experience in your industry. This is particularly if marketing in your industry tends to be somewhat unique, or there are some specific requirements that they need to be aware of (e.g. the medical field). But for consultant websites, this should not be something a generalist could not pick up.

You also want to be cautious of setting expectations too low.  That leads us to tip #2.

Website Requirements

Creating a requirements list can be a challenge if this is your first go-around.

The thing to remember is that your estimate will only be as accurate as your requirements are. It can help if you figure out exactly what kind of website you’re looking for.

Here are some ideas that can help:

  • Google competitor websites in your industry to get a sense of what you like
  • Outline the content that you think you want on the website
  • Think about where you will be communicating with customers and how that will integrate with the site
  • Gather some branding materials (print or web) that could be useful in determining your stylistic direction

Buy Once, Cry Once

Just looking for a web designer who fits your budget is asking for having to redesign your site in a year or two. The time lost is certainly going to cost you more than the extra amount you spend getting it right the first time.

In other words, “buy once, cry once”.

Expect a basic professional website to cost in the general range of $2-3,000, and also expect to spend another $500-1000 or a year in upkeep, depending on how much you use the website.

This should fold right into your normal marketing spend, including brand marketing, digital and print ad campaigns, and a variety of other activities to get more traffic and sales.

Having the budget figured out takes the money discussion off the table. When you talk to a designer, make sure you clearly define your requirements and make sure they can meet your budget.

“I know a guy”

Networking is the main way that small businesses make their connections. This should be no different in the arena of finding a great designer or web agency.

Tap your local networking group and see if they have any recommendations. If that fails, you can always try a networking website like Alignable to find great designers in your local area.

If you want to try out marketplaces, that may work as well, but be aware that you may not be getting vetted professionals, so the risk is a little higher.

Ask the Right Questions

This is a bit more subjective. It may be difficult to tell the quality of the designer by simply looking at his/her portfolio.

For one, the designer’s work is always part of a collaborative effort.

The things you really need to know are things such as:

  • Can you review the design before they start developing?
  • How many rounds of feedback do you get?
  • Will they give you creative feedback or just execute exactly what you say?
  • Will they work with you after the website is completed?
  • Do they make any recommendations regarding SEO or website marketing?

I would recommend for starting and early businesses work with web designers and agencies that do a bit more hand-holding to get you through the early phases of website launch.

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