It’s time. Graduate from build-your-own basics and let a pro bring your online presence to the next level. The problem is, how the heck to hire a web designer? Two top-rated Thumbtack pros, Philip Hamilton of Hamilton’s Social Media Marketing & Design in Plano, Texas and Derek Lushbaugh of ZBoltDesigns in Knoxville, Tennessee, are here with answers. Learn what to ask, what’s available, and what you can expect to pay.
What services do web designers provide?
Don’t let the title web designer limit your understanding of what these techstars can do for you. Derek lists design, site security and malware removal, search engine optimization, social media marketing, logo design, site maintenance, domain registration and hosting, as well as content writing and editing as part of his company’s services.
Philip’s firm offers a similarly expansive scope including website design and development, social media marketing and management, digital marketing, direct mail marketing, graphic design, video editing, and more.
The moral of the story is—if you need help with anything related to your online presence, a web designer can probably help.
What are key questions to ask when hiring a web designer?
Be clear and concise about your needs. Philip shares that being precise helps ensure that development is done as you wish.
Request samples of projects similar to what you hope to acheive, suggests Philip. Although, he clarifies, even if a designer doesn’t have an exact sample, that doesn’t mean they are unable to do it. Look for the skill set you want delivered. Derek agrees that researching existing work helps you decide if their caliber of design fits your vision for your site.
Ask what the final deliverable will be, says Derek, and be clear about what process they will use from start to finish. For example, ask for a clear scope of work, what the final deliverables include, how changes to the scope are handled, and what types of changes will affect the proposed cost and schedule.
Inquire about the timeline. Not only on their end, but yours, says Derek. It’s important for you, as the client, to know the timeline of when your designer needs content from you so they can stay on schedule. You’re like a team!
What is the average cost for web design work?
Big picture: Whether building a site from scratch or rebranding an existing one, each project is completely unique. Due to this, Philip says prices will always depend on each designer’s process and company.
Specific example: ZBoltDesigns has customizable packages for building websites from scratch. Their basic website packages start at $500. However, almost all clients want something customized to their brand, so the average website cost is around $2,000. For re-designs and maintenance, the costs vary based on needs.
If you’re unsure what you need or what it might cost, call and ask! And of course, always have a clearly detailed contract that explains what will happen and when it will happen before any money exchanges hands.
What if someone doesn’t know what they want?
For clients without clear direction, Derek suggests a clean, modern design that is responsive (meaning the site adapts to the phone, tablet, or device it is being viewed on) and allows the client to make simple changes to text and images themselves. That sounds like it would be perfect for you!
Any tips for clients who aren’t super tech savvy?
Make sure you are comfortable with not only pricing, but the designer or developer in general, recommends Philip. He wants you to feel good about the process. Once you have asked your questions and gone over your needs and their process, he says trust your gut as to whether or not it’s the right fit for you. Hopefully you can enjoy the process because it should be fun, not stressful, he shares.
Hiring a web designer can be intimidating, even for the tech savvy, acknowledges Derek. To make the experience more pleasant, he recommends understanding the web designer’s process to make sure it will work for you, and being clear that the designer understands your expectations for the outcome. If there are specific aspects or potential issues you’re worried about, he recommends asking the designer how they handled those in the past. Another step he suggests is to research the designer and read reviews online to gain insight into their credibility and methods. Maybe this will spark more questions. It never hurts to ask.
Last minute pro tip:
Knowing that this is a collaboration between you and the designer nets the best outcomes, says Derek. Be involved in the process as much as is reasonable. For example, he offers access to a demo server so clients can see the work in progress—that way there are no surprises when the site launches.
Decide what’s important to you between cost, schedule, and quality. Derek states you can realistically have two for any given project. For example, high quality at a quick turnaround will cost more. Low-cost at a quick turnaround may not have the highest quality, etc. Find the right balance for your small business or personal website, then find the right web designer for you.