First impressions — we can’t stop talking about them because they’re just that important. Your website is the first (and sometimes last) impression potential clients have. If your current website isn’t ranking, converting or getting those dream clients straight into your inbox, you might be wondering how to find a web designer. You may have DIYed the first time around, or worked with a web designer that was just not who you needed. Whatever the case, I’m here to help make this next step in your brand a little less stressful.
How to find a web designer
So how do you actually find a web designer in the first place?
- Freelance websites like Fiverr and Upwork — it’s like Airbnb, but for hiring freelancers. You can see reviews, samples and interview web designers too. (I used to be on Upwork when I was new!) Just be careful as there is a mixed bag of quality service providers and those with a reputation worth worrying about. Scammers do exist on these platforms, but you can find them anywhere.
- Facebook groups. If you’re already in a group of photographers or bloggers, ask around! See who they’ve loved working with.
- Industry friends. Similar to those Facebook groups, ask your friends who they’ve worked with. What was it like? Did they get the website they were hoping for?
- Entrepreneurs with websites you adore. Have you already come across a website that fits your vision? See if there’s a web design credit in the footer or ask the owner directly. Just remember never to copy a website, but rather, use it as inspiration only.
Which web designer do you need?
I have so many recommendations here. The best web designer should have the creative know-how and proven portfolio work. You’ve seen what they’ve done and can’t wait to see what they create for you. But on top of that, your web designer should be a good match. You should be excited to work with them and you should feel a similar level of enthusiasm from them in return. Here are some specifics to keep in mind.
I would ask:
- How long have you been a web designer for?
- Is there a niche you specialize in (photographers, bloggers, etc.)?
- What platform do you use? Showit, Squarespace, Wix, WordPress?
- How many clients have you worked with?
- Do you have reviews and samples I can see?
It depends on where you are in your business, but it’s oftentimes the process behind the scenes that makes a big difference. Some web designers will help you with messaging. Others will not. Some will help you identify an ideal client avatar and some might not. You may not know it now, but certain parts of the process can really add clarity and sustainability to the overall product — your website.
Ultimately, I think the best web designers aren’t afraid to jump into the deep end — asking questions about your audience, services, goals and more. However, if you’ve been in business for 10 years, you may not need this sort of guidance.
Regardless, I would ask:
- How long does the process take?
- Is there anything you need from me, and when?
- What is the discovery process like?
- What does your strategy process look like?
- Can you send a project timeline?
Red flags? They exist. If you feel uneasy or don’t get the answers you need to feel comfortable, it’s okay to move on. Just send a note so you don’t leave the web designer hanging. Some things to look out for include certified reviews (actual Google reviews), contracts, social media proof (followers that are legit and tagged posts). If I were in your shoes, I would let them do the talking. See what questions they ask. If they don’t take time off the bat to get to know you, at least a little, I would find someone else. The relationship here is important!
If you plan on using Showit for your website (the best small website builder in my opinion), I encourage you to hire a Showit design partner. These are certified designers who have been through their course and are approved to design in Showit.
We can’t overlook budget either. Are they affordable (perhaps too affordable) or way outside of your price range? If the price is high, why? Are they booked out with endless 5-star reviews? The price might be that way for a reason. The biggest warning I have in this category, however, isn’t the cost of the web design itself, but the fees that might come after the project is complete.
Some SEO and web design companies charge monthly management fees. In my opinion, this is an unnecessary fee in which you rarely get any actual “work” in return. Oftentimes, they’ll run analytic reports that you can run for free on your own. Yes, there are services with monthly fees that can benefit you over time. Just make sure it’s more than a vague description of “SEO management” as that doesn’t mean they’re actually doing something. However, if their monthly fees include actual website updates, content changes or any tangible work, then that might just be a great deal!
P.S. Please don’t let your web designer buy the URL for you. If you don’t own the URL you plan to list your website on, buy it before talking to web design companies. It’s a fail-safe way to ensure that you own your website domain. This means buying the URL for $10-$30 a year (unless it’s an expensive brand name) from NameCheap, Go Daddy or Google Domains.
Why hire a web designer
Hiring a web designer gives you access to experience, skill and SEO knowledge that will save you hours of time and stress. If you’re curious about the benefits of a custom website or a template, check out this post.
Steps to take now
Okay, you might feel a little overwhelmed right now, but it doesn’t have to be that way! You know how to find a web designer now. Before you start looking around, though, start putting together some inspiration.
- Create a Pinterest board with designs you’re drawn to
- Research competitors
- Outline the pages you think you’ll need for your website
- Start following web designers on Instagram
- Research web designers’ websites, social media profiles and Google profiles
- Narrow it down to 2-3 and start reaching out
- Ask the questions I shared above
- Follow your gut, create a pros and cons list and choose the web designer who has the skillset to create the website of your dreams!
You’ve got this, and just think, you’re about to find a brand partner who will help you get to the next level. This is exciting!