How to Hire a Web Designer

The Do's and Don'ts You Need to Know

Knowing how to hire a web designer is important because you don't want to end up with a bad one or a flake.  That can still happen of course but you can decrease your chances if you are smart when hiring your web designer.

Do's and Don'ts for Hiring a Web Designer

DO make sure that your hire an established company not an individual web designer.

Web designers burn out often and some are just plain flakes who are here today and off doing something else tomorrow.  If you go with an established company you have more of a chance that if you need help after your website is built someone will be there to help you.

DO make sure that YOU are clear about what you want your website to look like.

Web designers aren't mind readers.  You need to be very clear about what you want your website to look like.  Most web designers will give you one or two free revisions but the clearer you are about what you want it to look like going in, the easier and cheaper the process will be for you.

DO keep control of your domain name AT ALL TIMES.

Some web designers want you to transfer your domain name to them, do NOT do this. 

If you have control of your domain name and you and your web designer have a dispute then you can move to another web designer or web host.  If your web designer controls your domain name it can be a HUGE hassle to get him to give it back to you (if it's still in your name) or impossible (if ownership has been changed to your web designer's name.)

You do NOT need to give him (or her) control of your domain.  You can point your domain name to the hosting account he wants you to use but NEVER EVER give someone else access or control over your domain name.

DO make sure that your web designer is able to understand what you want.

Your web designer should be able to easily understand what you are saying and how you want your website to look.  Not only is it frustrating to not have someone understand what you want it can add to the cost of your website.  If they think you want X and you really wanted Y then it will cost you money to have them change it from X to Y.

DO be VERY clear about what you want your website to do BEFORE your designer starts building your website.

It takes a lot of time to go back and change programming on your website after it has already been built.  MAKE SURE that you tell your web designer everything you want on your website BEFORE they start to program it. 

For example, if you ask for a visitor login and then decide later you want to be able to email your visitors that requires major new programming to set up.  It isn't an easy fix.

Some things that may seem easy to you to do may actually be quite complicated and time consuming. 

If you know what you want your website to do BEFORE your web designer starts building it will be cheaper for you and easier for your web designer.  All the little things that you decide to add as you think about them cost your designer time and you more money.

DO make sure that your web designer builds your website in a standard programming language like php or joomla.

This is so if your web designer flakes out or you and he have a disagreement then you can get help from another web designer if and when you need it.  The more customized work a web designer does the harder it is for someone who comes in later to figure out how to fix it.

DON'T pay all the money upfront.

It's standard to pay 25% up front, 50% at the halfway point and then 25% upon completion for fees over $500.

DO get a written estimate up front for website updates. 

You want to know going in how much it will cost you if you need your web designer to make changes to your website after your website is finished.  This is usually an hourly fee.  Between $50 to $100/hour is considered normal.

If you want a professional website that doesn't require any fancy programming (like building an ebay or facebook clone), I recommend the web designers at Act Now Domains.  For around $45/month they will build and maintain your website for you. 

Related Articles:

Why Flash Websites are Bad for You - some web designers love flash websites.  Don't be fooled into getting one.


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Disclosure: I receive payment from about 25% of the companies mentioned on this site.

how to hire a web designer