How To Find the Right Web Designer for Your Small Business Website
As you start planning your business website, you might choose to hire a professional web designer to help you out. Let’s discuss your options.
So, you’ve decided to build a website to represent your small business. Congratulations! Making the decision to become visible via the World Wide Web is a huge step that can bring you immense success if you take the right steps. Undeniably, one of the most important steps is figuring out how to build a site. Hiring a website designer for small business website building is common practice, but what are the criteria when choosing a web designer?
In this blog post, you will discover what responsibilities a web designer carries and the difference between a web designer and a web developer. You will also find several scenarios describing how small businesses can hire web design professionals and find out if hiring an experienced professional is even the right option for you. So, if you are curious, keep reading!
What does a web designer do?
A professional web designer plans, designs and codes a website to make it presentable and accessible. Basically, a web designer is an expert who takes your ideas and turns them into reality. Of course, this is an oversimplification, and many different steps go into designing a website that attracts and retains visitors.
Business owners usually rely on professional expertise instead of trying to do it all themselves exactly because so many different tasks go into the process. While there are web builders that can empower anyone to build a website, for many businesses, a website builder does not offer everything required to create a dream site. But more on that later.
Some people underestimate web designers, but they need many skills to offer professional services. For one, a good web designer should be able to understand the basics of color theory, composition and typography. They also need to know how to use a variety of tools, including Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator or Sketch. They even need skills in programming languages, such as HTML and CSS.
Perhaps most importantly, web designers need to understand how people use websites, how they navigate landing pages and what UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) best practices are.
You might also require very specific skills. For example, for you, a true professional website design expert with the right design skills should have a master’s degree. While we, at WAcademy, do not follow this ideology, at the end of the day, you have to find someone for you.
Here is a summarized list of the main responsibilities of a web designer:
- Drafting mock-ups and proposals
- Creating visual materials
- Introducing design guidelines
From planning to testing
First and foremost, a web designer must communicate with clients. This might entail numerous calls, emails and messages. For business owners who do not have experience with website building, the lingo and the requirements might be very foreign. Therefore, it is the responsibility of a web designer to guide new customers and explain all the details that go into the web design process.
Once the client and the designer are on the same page, the planning begins. A good designer usually starts by presenting mock-ups and proposals that help the client better visualize the process. In the most basic sense, this includes defining the website’s goal, designing its basic layout, figuring out what visuals and content must be included, and planning how visitors will move around the website to ensure conversions.
Web designers might also be tasked with creating visual materials, in which case they will need to set website design guidelines for overall cohesiveness. And they will need to create rules for organizing all files so that they are accessible to the client in a comprehensible way.
If you have a large-scale project, a web designer might need to collaborate with other professionals, including web developers, webmasters, illustrators, graphic design experts, etc. The fewer people are involved, the more responsibilities fall on the shoulders of a designer, which usually also translates to higher pay.
Lastly, a web designer must test all implementations to ensure that the website functions as planned, is accessible on mobile devices, has all the necessary add-ons, and its visitors have a pleasant experience that leads to desired actions. That could include signing up for a newsletter, creating an account, purchasing a product, booking an appointment, etc.
Web designers vs. web developers
It is only natural for small businesses to want to cut costs wherever possible. So it is not surprising that a business owner may expect a web designer to act as a web developer to some extent as well. Although a designer may have experience developing, we should not confuse the two specialties.
- A website designer is responsible for creating the layout of the website and making sure it is fully functional and accessible according to web design best practices.
- A website developer is responsible for planning the website’s architecture and programming code to develop applications and services used by the website.
So, if you want to hire one person to take care of your site, you have to specify what responsibilities you want them to assume. Note that not all website designers will have enough experience with web development, and vice versa.
How to find a professional website designer for small business websites
So, you’ve decided you need the assistance of a professional web designer to build your business or ecommerce site. But how do you find a web designer that’s just the right person? Lucky for you, there are options to choose from when designing websites and building websites. Let’s look at some of the most straightforward ways to hire both in-house and freelance web designers.
Option 1: Hire in-house web designers
If you want to hire someone who will take care of your entire website, perhaps hiring an in-house, full-time employee is the move for you.
In this case, you must define the role and craft the job description carefully. When selecting the ideal candidate, you want to make sure they can work with your chosen content management system, that they have the technical skills to design your website and take care of other tasks, and that you will be able to communicate with them efficiently. This might be the most important part.
At the time of writing this article, the median web designer salary in the US was around $66,000 per year. In the UK, the average yearly salary for a web designer was around £28,000. Clearly, how much you will have to pay depends on your own and your web designer’s location. As well as the technical expertise level of your ideal web designer candidate.
Option 2: Look for freelance web designers
Do you believe you can handle your website’s management and maintenance once it is fully designed? Perhaps you already have someone on your team who could help you with that? If that is the case, you could be looking into hiring a freelance web designer who has mastered Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and other web and graphic design tools.
According to our research, on average, a freelancer will charge between $1,000 to $3,000 per website. According to Upwork, freelance web designers charge $15-$30 per hour, on average. Of course, the sky’s the limit when it comes to the higher end of the price range.
If your web design project is big and goes beyond just a simple homepage landing page, you might require a more skilled designer who, needless to say, will charge you more.
The best web designers will provide client testimonials, offer examples of their design style, and present more than just the essential skills. For example, they could be well-versed in project management, digital marketing, email marketing, etc.
If you do not have a big budget for your online store or business website, even a less skilled website designer could be too expensive. Moreover, they might not be able to help you manage your site on demand. This means that every time you will run into an issue – and those are bound to occur – you might need to deal with them yourself or hire another freelance web designer.
Option 3: Recruit web design agencies
Needless to say, when comparing the services of a web design agency with the services of a freelance web designer, the former will be more expensive. Why? Because an agency may be able to offer a higher level of expertise and also all the professionals needed to build a website from scratch.
Web design companies can cater to your needs by assigning web developers, web designers, UI designers, SEO experts (to optimize content for search engines), digital marketing experts, illustrators and others to help bring your vision to life.
The downside of this is that you may have to spend a small fortune on your website. And, as mentioned already, you need to plan what you will do once the agency is done providing you with services. Perhaps they can offer maintenance for a monthly fee? What if that is not an option?
Estimating how much an agency can charge you for your project is very hard. That is because it all depends on the agency’s level, how big your project is and how many professionals are required. A web design company could charge anywhere from $3,000 to $100,000 per project. Is that within your budget?
Option 4: Get free web design services from WAcademy interns
Wait a minute… Professional web design services for free? Yes, that is an option. How?
The WAcademy internship program began in 2017 with the idea that education should be accessible to everyone willing to learn. Since then, we’ve trained hundreds of web, UX and graphic design experts across the globe, and they have started their dream careers. At the same time, our interns helped build over 30,000 websites for SMEs.
To provide our interns with the best possible training, we make sure they get the chance to build their portfolios by working on real-life projects. Where do we get them? From small and medium businesses like yours. The opportunity to work on real projects is invaluable, and to show our appreciation, we provide free web design services for our SME partners.
WAcademy web design services – the best solution for small businesses
Are you trying to build a new website for your business on a tight budget? High web design costs can be a significant challenge, but WAcademy interns can create beautiful designs for you for free! We train our interns to build fully personalized and unique websites that represent brands and business owners’ visions.
By entrusting our interns and us with your business or ecommerce website idea, you can take advantage of the following benefits:
- Straightforward and speedy registration process
- 100% free web design services coordinated by experienced project managers
- Fully custom website design built according to your needs
- 20-30 business day turnaround with an opportunity to request changes once
- Full ownership of the site and freedom to upgrade it as you please
- Beneficial upgrades from a list of additional Web Services
The WAcademy team communicates with you as if we were an in-house team or a professional agency. However, we do not charge thousands of dollars for our services. Despite this, our interns can offer a wide range of customization and visually appealing designs, which you cannot always get using a web builder or even less experienced freelance designers.
Due to hosting and domain name registration fees, it is not possible to build a small business website for free. Still, the remaining charges become much more manageable if you can take advantage of free web design services.
Our partner Getspace also has a great budget-friendly, cost-effective site hosting offer for all our clients. It guarantees professional WordPress hosting, a domain name, secure data backup, an SSL certificate for the site, professional email inboxes and even an Elementor Pro license.
Let the journey begin!
So, how will you find a web designer that is the right match for your project? Will you add someone to your team, recruit web design agencies, hire web designers that freelance or entrust your ideas with our talented interns? Whichever option you choose, we hope your business website takes off in no time!
If you are curious about skyrocketing with WAcademy, register without further hesitation, and we will contact you to discuss your best website vision in more detail.