Building a competitive website for your business might seem like a daunting and expensive task. Hiring freelance web designers is a great way to access amazing talent at a relatively low cost.
However, it can be a daunting task, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the market and the related terminology. Today, thanks to the internet, every businessperson has access to thousands of highly qualified experts. The trick is how to find the right one for you.
Read on to find out the ten tips for hiring the best candidates that will turn your website vision into reality.
1. Define Your Goals
Before you even start your search for the most qualified freelance web designers, you’ll need to define your goals.
What do you need from your website? How large do you want it to be? How much time are you willing to spend on searching for the right freelancer?
If you don’t have clear goals beforehand, you might keep searching in vain. It’s easy to hire an unqualified candidate, and it’s also easy to skip the perfect designer just because your goals were vague.
As a businessperson leading your project, it’s your responsibility to set your company up for success. To do that, you need to define goals and be ready to explain them with clarity to any potential freelancer you will be working with.
2. Understand Your Business Needs
Websites come in all sizes and shapes. Your web design project will look dramatically different depending on the kind of company you run.
If you need a huge e-commerce outlet, you will have to hire web designers with experience in building online merchant platforms. If your site will focus more on social media and a regular content flow, you’ll need a strongly integrated blog for the task.
Moreover, your business needs will also include your marketing and branding goals. Any freelance web designers you hire should be able to integrate your branding vision into your new website. Otherwise, you might just be wasting your time.
So, before moving forward, understand what your business needs from a website and get ready to share your vision with any web designer you might be working with.
3. Research the Technical Aspects
Unless you already have some background in IT or web design, expect to be overwhelmed with technicalities. Building a website involves stuff like coding, meta tags, SEO, keywords and lots of other terms that might sound alien at first.
Any freelance web designers you might hire will be using these terms when talking with you. It’s important to understand the technical aspects of building a website before starting your search.
You don’t need to become an overnight expert, but a quick trip to Google can help a lot. Search for relevant terms such as HTML, CSS, Java, and the stuff we mentioned just above. This will give you a clearer picture of the task ahead.
When researching the technical aspects, bookmark any sites you like and check their layout. Some of these sites might have features you will want in your own site, so understanding how they work can be helpful.
It also pays to understand things like hosting, bandwidth, servers, and URLs. These are all relevant terms that will shape how your business website will look. Also, any freelance web designers you hire will ask you many questions about these things.
4) Search and Compare
When it’s time to start searching for talent, the choices might seem overwhelming at first. There are just too many freelance web designers to choose from!
First, you shouldn’t rush the hiring process. You need to find several freelancers, compare their portfolios, discuss your needs, and then decide whom to hire.
An easy way to get the first wave of applicants is an official post on social media. Just a single, brief note mentioning that your business is looking for freelance web designers can bring top talent to your digital doorstep.
You can also ask your immediate network for referrals. If a business partner has a website that looks attractive to you, then ask them who built it. Network referrals can save you a lot of time and help you shortlist the most promising candidates.
If you maintain a list of contractors or business connections, it pays to notify them as well. Another tried and tested idea is to help the effort along with a small incentive in the form of a small gift.
But what if you have no online presence, or if your network referrals come up with nothing?
Thankfully, there are tons of online marketplaces where you can find talent with relative ease. When examining a potential freelance designer, check out their portfolio and background. Experience is important, but past work is perhaps your best tool to quickly tell if that particular freelancer is the right fit for your project.
Keep in mind that some young developers might be exceptionally talented but have a limited portfolio. As with most things, quality trumps quantity here, so pay attention to the details that make an exceptional designer stand out.
5. Budget Responsibly
Hiring freelance web designers is generally less expensive than partnering with a web design firm. Nonetheless, there is no fixed price for how much your website will cost. Web design involves the use of expensive tools, the purchase of templates and specialized software, and hundreds of work hours.
Depending on the skill and the experience of your freelance designer, the price might move up or down, but you can’t avoid some expenses. When budgeting for your new website, factor in freelance web designers along with hosting, paid widgets and ongoing maintenance. Keep in mind that your site won’t run itself after it’s up, and it will need some form of periodic maintenance to keep going.
Depending on your budget, freelance web designers will be able to give you competitive quotes that include total hours worked. Before hiring anyone, check out expected salaries to make sure you’re not overpaying.
On the other hand, if a quote is too low, you should be suspicious. When it comes to freelance web designers, if the price is too good to be true, then it probably is!
Whatever you decide, it’s important to treat your new website as a long-term investment and pay accordingly.
6. Discuss Maintenance, Marketing, and Turnarounds
After you’ve found and shortlisted several freelance web designers, it’s time to talk details. There are several things you should discuss with your potential freelancer before hiring them.
Discuss Your Marketing and Branding Plans
Do you have a marketing campaign running? What are your branding goals? What is your logo and brand colors? Are you planning to attract traffic from search engines, social media, or both? Which countries are you targeting?
These questions, and many more, will define how your website looks and feels. Tell your web developer about your marketing goals, so they can build a site that attracts the right customers.
After you’ve decided on the size of your site, it’s time to discuss turnaround. An expert can build a small website in a matter of days, but larger projects can take up to a month or more to complete. When discussing turnaround, ask different freelancers to make sure you’re getting accurate estimates.
Discuss Technical Details
Based on your technical understanding, it’s a good idea to discuss the technical aspects of web design with your freelancer. What coding language will they use? How heavy will the site be in terms of bandwidth? Will it be indexed in search engines from the get-go? Will it have social media integration?
These are all important considerations, so you should Google any terms you’re not familiar with and be prepared to discuss technicalities.
Discuss Ongoing Support and Maintenance
Websites are not static. They require regular maintenance and updates to keep operating. As the internet evolves, sites tend to get old quickly, so it pays to invest in a popular and time-tested design, instead of a fad.
You might need a different expert for web maintenance, so be sure to discuss this with your designer before you proceed. If they offer maintenance themselves, you will cut costs and have a trusted expert on hand.
7. Interview, Trial and Protecting Both Parties with Escrow and Milestones
Before hiring your freelancer of choice, it’s a good idea to interview them directly. If they can’t make an appointment to your office, then a video call is mandatory.
Interviews are essential when it comes to evaluating a potential contractor. With an interview, you can quickly evaluate professionalism, personality and communication skills. Just make sure to prepare some questions beforehand and don’t let the interview last too long.
When conducting the interview, you should try to record it for future reference, or at least jot down some notes to keep in mind for the future.
Another important consideration is trial. You can test your preferred contractor with a small project at first. For example, a simple landing page, or a basic template.
After you’ve decided, it’s important to write a fair contract for any freelance web designers you choose. The contract should be brief and to the point, helping both parties achieve their goals.
Also, make sure to include Escrow protection and define milestones in the contract. That way, you and your contractor protect your time and money and make sure the project keeps on going without delays.
8. Communicate with Your Freelance Web Designers
After hiring your web designer, you should keep in touch throughout the whole design process. Having a strong line of communication is key for a successful project.
When it comes to building complex websites, your designer will need your input every step of the way to make sure the site is just like you want it to be.
Ask your designer to call you before any important decisions, especially when these decisions affect budget and turnaround.
Real-time communication is crucial when designing a website. Instead of exchanging emails, save time by calling them on the phone or through Skype. Email correspondence can be messy and slow, which will delay the whole design process.
When discussing details with your designer, ask them to keep the language simple and avoid technical jargon. The technical aspects are for them to handle. You just need to make sure you’re getting your money’s worth.
However, don’t forget to give your freelancer time to ask their questions, and be prepared to give detailed answers.
9. Expect to Be Taught Stuff and Change Your Plans
While building your website, your designer might come up with new ideas as to how to improve it. Be open to their suggestions, as they have superior experience and an eye for technical detail that you probably lack.
So, be prepared to learn new stuff about how to run your business online and change your website vision as the project moves forward. Perhaps some aspect of your planned site is too bulky, or maybe your business goals are better served by another layout?
After you’ve hired your freelancer, be prepared to listen to their suggestions and don’t hesitate to adjust your plans.
10. Search for Untapped Talent
Finally, keep in mind that some of the world’s best freelance web designers might be waiting to be discovered by you. There are TONS of amazing designers out there, and you can browse their portfolios easily through sites such as our Boonle, Upwork, Behance, Dribbble, Fiverr and others.
When browsing new talent, make sure to check quality and compare it with more established freelancers. Some of the best designers out there produce sites comparable to those made by top web design firms, at a fraction of the price!
Ready to Find Some Amazing Freelance Web Designers?
Now that you know what to look for and how to proceed, you’re ready to start searching! Check out Boonle, your leading source for US-based students and fresh graduates eager to work for your business.
At Boonle, you can post your projects for free, name your price and browse tons of portfolios from highly qualified freelancers. Sign-up is also free, and you can get started in minutes, so come on in and find the perfect web designers for your business today!