Small Business Brief

Technology & Software

7 Things Everyone Needs to Know about Hiring a Web Designer

Research shows that 38 percent of consumers will leave a website if they find its content or layout unattractive. In other words? A beautiful website isn’t just a “nice-to-have” feature — it’s an essential part of your business model.

Need to spruce up your website? Not ready to tackle this daunting task on your own? We’ve got you covered!

Let’s get into what you need to know before hiring a web designer.

1. Identify What You Want

Web designers blend data with artistic talent to create beautiful sites. That said, your definition of beautiful may differ vastly from someone else’s interpretation.

Before you even begin your hiring process, you should identify your website needs. What kinds of sites do you most like? Are there are any styles that you hate?

Make a list of your favorite site designs and jot down a few notes why you like those particular designs. Do you notice a pattern in the sites that you like best? 

Do you have a particular style in mind? Do you want a sleek, modern, and minimalist site? Or are you looking for something a bit more traditional?

Are you completely unsure and do you need guidance from a professional who has an eye for design? That’s okay, but you should still have some direction about your preferences. 

Narrowing down your needs and wants will help tailor your search to find the appropriate designer for your project.

2. Nail Down Your Budget

Just like with any contractor or employee, you need to have a realistic idea of how much you can afford when hiring a web designer.

There are several budgeting factors to consider.

For one, what’s your bottom-line budget? Will the designer be charging on an hourly rate, monthly retainer, or a fixed, flat-rate fee? Are edits included in the cost?

What services will the designer include in the price? Are they willing to provide support for ongoing maintenance issues? 

Finally, what is your payment policy? Will you be responsible for providing an initial deposit — or will you only need to pay once the work is finished?

Determining your budget may be tricky and subjective — click here to have web design costs explained.

3. Review Portfolios

A designer’s portfolio showcases everything you need to know about his or her work. Take as much time scanning various portfolios as necessary.

Does the designer specialize in certain kinds of graphics? Does he or she have experience with specific businesses or industries? 

When scanning a portfolio, you’re looking for how the sites make you feel. Do you feel inspired and happy when looking over the work? Do you feel hopeful or excited that he or she can “fit” with your vision?

4. Obtain Referrals

After reviewing a portfolio, it’s always wise to touch base with other customers. Ask the company if they have references available. Established and qualified firms will be happy to provide you with such contact information.

When speaking to past customers, ask about their reactions to using the company.

Were they satisfied with the results? Would they recommend the firm to someone else? Would they use them again? 

Ideally, you should talk with three to five past customers. This will give you a better idea about the ethics and quality of the company you’re interested in. 

5. Inquire about the Design Process

Competent, professional web designers have no problem outlining their process for you. This process will guarantee that they’ll meet your goals and deadlines. When meeting with someone new, you should always ask about the nature of their process.

How long do they estimate the work will take? What kinds of problems might they encounter? Who will be your point of contact for questions?

A vague or disorganized process can lead to problems down the road. It can result in delayed website launches, clunky content, and excess money wasted.

Finally, you want to know what happens to the files after their completion. Will you own them? Will the design company own them? 

6. Understand Warranties

Websites, like most assets, need tune-ups and ongoing maintenance to run efficiently. And a slow site isn’t just a nuisance to you or your readers — it can turn away people from your company altogether.

What happens if your site starts working flawlessly today only to crash tomorrow? Does the designer offer a warranty or hosting plan? 

You should always prepare yourself for ongoing costs. Even if you agreed to a flat-rate design fee, web maintenance is not the area you want to skimp out on.

7. Identify How Success Is Tracked

There are numerous ways to track a website’s success and credibility. You want to determine how your designer uses and interprets such metrics.

Remember that one metric isn’t inherently “better” than another one. That said, you want to fully understand your designer’s process and reasons for using certain metrics.

Do they measure success via increased web traffic? Total sales or conversions? Furthermore, do you have an idea of how you want your success to be tracked?

With this, you should also assess the company’s knowledge of SEO best practices. What experience do they have integrating SEO with their consumers? What kind of results have they had in the past? 

Final Thoughts on Hiring a Web Designer

Hiring a web designer may feel like an overwhelming task. However, with the right strategies and research, you’ll be well on your way to creating a beautiful, user-friendly site.

Are you interested in connecting with other like-minded business professionals? Check out our dynamic small business ideas forum today!