How to Hire a Web Designer: 5 Ways to Avoid Wasting Cash & Get What You Want

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how to hire a web designer

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So, the scenario goes something like this…

You’ve been in business for a short while–long enough to notice many people are researching buying decisions online.  The growth of the internet has been the subject of your reading, so you’re really understanding the importance of having a website for small business, and you’re convinced this should be your next move.

But, now what?

You don’t have time to take away from your primary business functions.  You have orders to satisfy, training to do, and things to manage.  You can’t take time away from your primary functions to take training to build a website even if it’s free.

how to hire a web designerYou decide, you need to hire a web designer, but you don’t know what to look for.  You don’t want to waste cash, waste time, or poorly represent your brand, so you’re here.

I commend you for doing your research and I’ll make sure to make this article a comprehensive overview of how to hire a web designer.

My Story

Just a couple years back, I hired a web developer.  He was a part of my inspiration for brushing up my web design skills.  Let me tell you why…

I had a grandiose idea of what I wanted my website to look like, and I thought I needed custom coding to get the outcome I wanted.

At the time, I was unaware of any themes that were customizable like what Thrive Themes offers now, so I went onto Upwork, posted an ad, and hired a freelancer who claimed to be able to perform the work.

He didn’t give me a fixed rate offer and I wanted the deal to be fair for both of us, so I started a contract paying an hourly rate.  I gave him my ideas and he assured me he could complete the work, then, he went off and began working.

After $500, I was looking at the demo site and still didn’t see glimpses of what I wanted.  It seemed my instructions weren’t compatible to what he needed and I didn’t know how to explain to him, so he could perform what I was looking for.

It seemed he was making changes but they weren’t the changes I wanted, so he’d make more changes.  We were going in circles.  Once I noticed the project wasn’t going to work out because we didn’t work well together, I decided to close the project, and count the money invested as a learning lesson.

It could’ve been much worse, and it could’ve been more than hundreds I wasted.  Others I know have lost thousands on web design projects that have gone wrong, which is why I’m writing this post to help you avoid wasting your money on a project that won’t work.

A Web Developer vs. A Web Designer

how to hire a web designerMany people get confused by the two titles “web developer” versus “web designer”, but they’re not interchangeable.  A web developer has a technical background in coding with languages like Javascript, CSS, and HTML.

Whereas, a web designer can range in background.  Web designers may be good in Photoshop or another design software, or they may be good at customizing existing themes.  Either way, a web designer is an effective choice for most projects, but web developers chime in on more complex website alterations like integrations, content upgrades, software-as-a-subscription ideas, etc.

Where will you find the designer?

There are several marketplaces where you can find a web designer.  You can find one by browsing the search engines, asking entrepreneurs you know, or going to open marketplaces like Fiverr.

There’s no shortage of people who can make a site aesthetically nice, but it’s not quite as simple as choosing someone who makes a site look nice–at least not if you’re an entrepreneur whose after traffic, leads, and sales.

Other Important Things to Consider When Hiring a Web Designer or Web Design Agencies

Web designers who specialize in aesthetics are usually different than web designers who are also versed in lead generation, but if you want leads and sales, you’ll want more than a “pretty” site.  You’ll want a site that:

  • Uses the latest search engine optimization
  • That uses your digital real estate effectively with the intention of conversions
  • You may also want elements like optins or features that direct users to certain components of the website
  • With content that clearly calls users to action
  • and, a site that will work well if you decide to use paid campaigns later down the line.

Not all web designers will be suited to perform all of these functions competently.

how to hire a web designerHow much will it cost?

Most entrepreneurs find themselves paying for web design, search engine optimization, and courses, consulting, or information on lead generation separately.  This can make getting your website started quite an investment.

According to WebsiteBuilderExpert, a basic website typically costs $6750 when hiring a web designer and it includes:

  • Setup – $160.00
  • Design & Building – $5000
  • Content Creation – $500
  • Training to use it – $600
  • Maintenance – $500

But, he answered the question very generically because there are so many factors not considered when he shot out a price like:

  • What you might want
  • Your resources: time, money, design skills, and technical skills
  • Where you may be hiring from (US or abroad)
  • or what background the “web designer” might have

When you take all these things into consideration, the website cost can vary quite a bit.  The better question to ask is “What is the value of having a website to your business?”, then you can search for someone who can suit that value.

If you have very limited financial resources but you have time, it might be best to consider a training program that teaches you how to setup a website for your business. You can learn how to build your WordPress website, the basics of how to monetize the site, and how to get traffic with our #1 recommended digital marketing program. If you’re interested in the DIY option, you can get started for FREE here.

If you have a little more financial resources but no time or web design skills, you can hire someone. Web designers or web design agencies may prefer to charge hourly, they may have hidden fees, or they may make a custom price for each project, so it’s not as set-in-stone as what we offer on our pricing page.

What do you want to have done?

Regardless of where you go or who you try to get to design your site, pricing and timelines are going to be affected by what you want to have done.  If you don’t have technical or design skills, it might be harder to articulate what you want done in a practical way because you understand the front-end appeal, but not the back-end nuts and bolts.

Do you want a personal branding site?  A corporate site?  A lead generation site?  A blog?  To articulate what you want done on your site, it’s helpful to try these 6 strategies to clearly document what you want…


how to hire a web designer(This is a personal branding site we created recently for a client)


6 Strategies to Document What You Want

1. Browse other Sites

We have a portfolio of live sites so you can see elements you might like, but there’s also millions of websites online you can get ideas from.  If you browse online, you’ll find features, elements, color palettes, content writing voice, content upgrades, content strategies, style, layout, branding, and many more components that would help a web designer understand what you’re looking for.

2. Do Market Research

Beyond simply appealing to yourself, you want to know what your market wants in a website.  What are their expectations when they visit a website in your industry?  What features help optimize their experience?  What content are they looking for?  What keywords are they using?  How can you position yourself to take market share from competitors?

You want your website to position you aesthetically as an appealing brand, but you also want to make sure you’re attracting people by satisfying customer needs.

3. Find Elements Your Customers Like

Whether it’s colors, unique selling proposition, website usability, or the content and voice, you want to find what elements your customers like about websites in your niche.  Once you have an idea of what drives traffic to other websites in your niche, you can create an idea to do better.

For example, has several different calculators and content upgrades: mortgage calculator, loan payoff calculator, etc.  Their content upgrades draw unique visitors to their site and brings returning visitors to their site.

If you find an element like what bankrate has on your competitor’s site, you can take notes.  Depending on how much of a budget you have for your website, you may be able to add in more or less elements your customers like.

how to hire a web designer4. Ask Employees, Friends and Family, or Those Who Understand Your Business

If this is your first website, I recommend you take the minimum viable funnel (MVP) approach.  With the MVP approach, you start simple and add features as the traffic builds and as you get more feedback from your users.

If this is an upgrade of your website, I’d recommend you ask employees, friends and family, and those who understand your vision for the business for their input.  You’d be surprised what type of input they might give you.  Ask questions like:

  • What do you think customers coming to my website might be looking for?
  • How would you satisfy customer expectations?
  • Do you have any quirks I should avoid for my website design?

Of course, you may have to sift thru their feedback a little, but you might find it helpful to get their input.

5. Consult with an Internet Marketing Consultant

Internet Marketing software such as Jaaxy or SEMRush can help you get clear data on your market, but it can be somewhat complicated to use.  Also, there are so many layers to having success online and if you’d like to start out ahead, it may benefit you to hire an internet marketing consultant who can help you create a list of tested elements that make a website get traffic and conversions.

Information to Provide at Onboarding

how to hire a web designerOnce you’ve done your research and you’re clear about what you want and who you want to design your website, you’ll want to give them:

  • Information about your business.
  • A summary of your project: What it is, and why it’s happening.
  • A breakdown of the goals and any objectives that must be met.
  • Comparables you may want them to use for inspiration
  • Your target audience.
  • Any deliverables (your logo, color palette, images, content, etc.)
  • Relevant details about your brand, including tone, style, and design guidelines.
  • A timeline, including any key milestones (unless theirs is clear)
  • The project budget (especially for custom projects)
  • Key stakeholders who should be included in the review process.

Providing this information should lay a solid groundwork for a successful project.

Final Words on How To Hire a Web Designer

The goal of this article was to show you how to hire a web designer. Your decision to begin marketing your brand is a good one, and hopefully, your web design project helps build a solid reputation for your brand.  If you have questions or concerns about this, don’t hesitate to leave them in the comments section.  I’d love to help you out!

If you would like to learn digital marketing to start or scale your business, CLICK HERE AND CREATE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT!  Get two free websites, ten free training lessons, and access to a community of 1 million+ entrepreneurs (many who are making major things happen online!).  CREATE YOUR FREE ACCOUNT NOW!

If you’re looking for a done-for-you solution to have an internet marketing strategy implemented while you focus on your primary trade, Check out:

FIVERR or view my full Fiverr review here.

99DESIGNS or view my full 99Designs review here.

DELUXE CORPORATION or view my full review here.

Whichever you feel most comfortable.

Now, it’s Your Turn…

Do you have a website?  How did you set it up?  Did you hire a web designer?  What advice would you give a person who doesn’t have the time or interest to create their own website and wants to hire a web designer?  Leave your comments below.

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4 thoughts on “How to Hire a Web Designer: 5 Ways to Avoid Wasting Cash & Get What You Want”

  1. Tiffany Denise

    I would like to first start by saying, I love your site! It was truly helpful. I am an aspiring entrepreneur myself, and I had some questions about hiring a web designer that were answered thoroughly by your website. Are there any snippets of advice you could give me as a young entrepreneur? Thanks for the info!

    1. Tiffany Denise

      Hello Angelina! Im glad you enjoyed the article and the site overall.  Regarding general advice on business, I’d say focus, stay customer focused, and commit to using your skills to serve.  Thanks for stopping by!

  2. Tiffany Denise

    Hi Tiffany, great article and I totally agreed with you. I had first hand experience in hiring a web developer company which cost me more than what they were offering me. That happened due to the lack of my experience in web developing. It took me almost an year to realize my mistake but it also taught me some valuable lessons too. Now, I’ve found an alternate solution to run my affiliate website without spending much time on its maintenance and no money at all. Anyhow thanks again for refreshing my memory on web designing niches. I hope no one else fall victim to the affiliate predators out there on the web.

    1. Tiffany Denise

      Thanks for sharing your experience. I had a similar experience some years back, and this is what prompted me to learn web design myself. Now, I offer web design services. If you ever need web design or marketing services, I’d love to help you out.

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