I get it. Hiring a web designer can be really scary!
Maybe you’re just starting out and don’t have the cash to spare if the project doesn’t work out. Maybe you already had a bad experience and don’t want to go anywhere near that again.
But you reached a point where the DIY sites just aren’t cutting it anymore and you need to hire a professional. How can you make sure that you find a great designer who completely understands your vision and brings it to life?
Today you get to see what information web designers need from our clients before starting a project and how to make the whole experience go as awesomely as possible.
What’s the Project?
It’s SO important that you have a clear idea of what you want to do before you start anything. If you don’t know or can’t express what you want, you’re asking your designer to read your mind. This rarely turns out well.
Take a few minutes and jot down some ideas. What’s the goal of your website? Who’s the audience? What sort of experience do you want the user to have? How will the site flow? Are there any existing websites you really like? What do you like about them? What sort of design styles do you like? Are there any colours or fonts you feel strongly about? What about graphics?
(Want a quick and easy way to organise your ideas? Sign up to the mailing list for a free worksheet)
As you further define your idea, you might realise that instead of a web designer, you need someone who specialises in just graphics (Graphic Designer) or programming (Web Developer). This will save you so many headaches later on!
Side Note: Web Designers can do both of these things, but not as deep and the skill level varies between designers. They can typically design web pages and code custom WordPress themes, but won’t be as familiar with print design or Ruby on Rails.
Know Your Budget
Now that you know exactly what you want to do, it’s time to figure out what you can afford. You wouldn’t want your boss to squeeze in a ton of work for no pay. Don’t do that to your designer.
If you don’t have the budget to do the whole website at once, think of ways you can break up the project so that one part can go live and generate money to pay for the other parts. Maybe you just need a sales page to send customers to and the rest of the website can come later.
Determining how much your project should cost isn’t very straightforward because each designer’s rates vary depending on their skill level, experience, location, and the size and complexity of your project. As a general guide, you can expect to pay anywhere from £15 – £30/hour for a new web designer and £55 – £100/hour for an experienced one. A full web design using a drag-and-drop site can cost £1,000 – £1,700 and £2,000 – £10,000 for a custom WordPress site.
It’s important to remember that these are the rates your designer is charging for her time and skills, not the costs associated with setting up your website. Things like hosting, premium themes, and image rights are separate and something you’ll need to discuss with your designer.
If this is confusing, this article does a great job breaking down and explaining all of the costs associated with building a website.
Find a Great Web Designer
Congratulations! Now that you know your project and budget really well, you’ll have a much easier time finding a web designer who understands you and can make your project come to life.
But won’t those restrictions be limiting? No way! Experienced web designers really like seeing detailed job descriptions because it means the client knows what she’s doing. Also, if they understand your project, they’ll be more likely to recommend other designers if they’re not the best fit.
Should you look for your designer on a freelancing site or by asking around? It depends. Paid job portals, where you pay to post a job description, protect both you and freelancers from deadbeats, offer secure payments, and someone to turn to in case of disputes. But you’ll likely be up to your neck in responses to your job post and sorting through all of that is a headache.
Finding a web designer through your personal network might take longer and there aren’t as many protections, but the personal connections usually mean that you’ll make a good match. Besides, building relationships and networks is a very important skill for your business so why not find a designer through them? Think of your inner circle (friends, family, and professional friends) and your outer circle (acquaintances, local businesses, local community groups, and people you met at a conference or event). Ask as many people you can if they know any good web designers. You’d be surprised how effective this is!
Once you have a web designer in mind, you can check if she’s good by making sure she:
- Understands the project
- Has the appropriate tech skills
- Responds reasonably quickly
- Did past work that aligns with what you want for your project
- Has a style that matches yours
- Has high customer ratings or strong references
Talk Things Over
Your initial meeting with your designer will set the tone for the rest of the project and your working relationship. Good thing you’re already super prepared!
Once you selected your designer set up a time to meet in person (ideally), virtually, or over the phone. Go over the project top to bottom, inside and out to make sure both of you completely understand everything. Address all questions and any problems that might come up. Discuss the project milestones and the payment schedule. Come to a project agreement.
During the project, respond to messages relatively quickly – no one wants to freeze the project for a few days because the client didn’t check her emails. You might find a project manager like Trello or Asana very helpful to keep all discussions organised and have a clear idea of how each aspect of the project is progressing.
If you take the time to follow these steps thoughtfully, you won’t have to waste your time fighting with your designer or watching over her shoulder. You can actually relax and enjoy watching your project come to life.
Have you hired a web designer before? Was it a good experience or did it scare you off designers forever?
Share your stories in the comments – good and bad!