How to Find the Right Web Designer for Your Small Business

Having a good website can add an enormous amount of value to your business, and having a professional do it properly can be an investment that will pay itself back for years. But how do you know if you've found the right web designer for your small business? There are multiple things to keep in mind, even before reaching out to potential candidates, that will heighten your chances of finding the perfect fit.

Step 1: Know Your Business & Figure Out What You Are Looking For

There are a few key pieces of information you should have in mind before you even begin the process of looking for a freelancer:

  • Determine a budget. In web design, there are no industry standards for pricing and it can range widely. It's good to discuss your budget upfront to make sure you're both on the same page. Freelance designers will usually give an average quote for a typical project. If those numbers are nowhere near what you were expecting, it's best to look elsewhere. Word of caution, you get what you pay for with low cost designers.
  • Think about your style and how you want to be represented on the web. Come up with a few key words (modern, minimalist, pink, feminine) and a few examples of website you like. It helps the designer get an idea of what typography, colour and graphical elements they should keep in mind.
  • What makes you different? Who are your customers? What's the reason for your re-design? Do you need more sales? Subscribers?
  • What functionality do you need? As a designer, this helps me determine how many screens need to be designed out and how long it will take. It's always good to discuss with your designer to get their opinion. Sometimes, you don't actually need what you think and it can help save you money.
  • Do you need a designer or a developer? Many freelancers are specialists. Even though some freelancers may claim to be excellent at design and development, be weary. Usually, their strength leans more heavily in one or the other. You'll usually get a good sense of what they are better at if you take a look at their portfolio. Also, many specialize in certain technologies (Wordpress), industries or styles.

Step 2: Do Your Goals Align to What This Designer is Offering?

Only you will be able to answer this question. If something feels off from the beginning, most likely, it will just get worse over time. Don't be worried about asking too many questions. It's better to be absolutely sure you are both on the same page. After the initial conversation, there's a bit more digging you'll need to do:

  • Personality. Ease of communication and compatibility is important in any business relationship. Finding a person you can trust is also crucial. Even though you are hiring them, it has to be a desirable engagement for the designer as well.
  • Realize that some designers book out months in advance. A reality check may be in order if you have unrealistic expectations about when you'd like to start and how long it will take. Design is an investment  a website that is done in 2 days... will look like a website that was done in 2 days. Also, you may have to save a little more money for the project than initially anticipated.