Finding a website designer or even a local web designer might not always be easy.
While hiring a full-blown web design agency is overkill. You might think that you can do it yourself as per a lot of the commercials for DIY website builders. But there will be a learning curve no matter if you go through a do it yourself site like Weebly, Squarespace or Wix. And also, the basics might be free, but any upgrades cost you money. This is often why people opt to hire a designer. It’s better for the business in the long run because the results are more professional. You need to feel good about who you go with. And what better way to get a hands-on result than to hire a local website designer?
Your journey to getting a website might have been long. You may have had one previously when your web design was old and ugly, but now it is hopelessly outdated. It could be that you want your clients to be able to access your site on their cell phones. Or just that you need to be able to have a more complex and professional looking website design than what you already have. Alternatively, you may have never had a website before. But you may recognize that the Internet is an important part of marketing these days.
Getting comfortable with the idea of hiring a local web designer.
This means that you are taking into account your website design is an important investment. The web developer you’re considering has taken a long time studying and troubleshooting websites so that you don’t have to, they will have great web design ideas and will already have the proper web design tools. If you aren’t ready to invest around a thousand dollars, then you’re likely not ready to hire a reputable web designer, who has the experience and has made investments in web design tools (trust me, some are pretty expensive). If so, it might be best to look at free sites and try your hand at designing. You could find you enjoy it, but you’ll likely recognize that you need a lot of time, skill, and practice to be able to develop the caliber of websites that you see every day for businesses like yours.
So just how much money are we talking to hire a web developer?
Most people find that they want someone who charges around 50 to 100 an hour. This is because the skill level of the web developer is better with professionals that can hand off a perfect site. If you want a student, then you might be able to get someone for under 20 an hour. But of course, the tradeoff might be quality and ease of use of the final product. If you’re considering a student, make sure to ask yourself, where will they be in a few months, when you really need them (they could be away on summer vacation, graduated or moved away). Will your student still be available to help you then?
Hiring a local website designer has its advantages.
The main advantage of hiring a local web developer is they are local, engaged with your community and aren’t likely to disappear when you need them the most. Plus, it keeps your investment local when spending with another small business.
Preparing to discuss your website design ideas.
You can ask the local web designer if they feel comfortable meeting for coffee to discuss your website design ideas. You should definitely ask if the person will give a reduced rate for the initial meeting, or even if the individual does free consultations. Obviously, the latter preferable, but you can always offer to pick up the tab for the coffee and food even if you don’t go through with that particular web developer. Once you have the meeting scheduled you can make a list of websites you like. If you want, compile a short document regarding what exactly you are looking for. You can include fonts, colors, and anything else that you particularly want on your site. The more your web developer knows, the better they will be able to provide an accurate website estimate. (Protip: Your website designer will feel much more comfortable working with you, as you have taken the time to do some of the detail work, and not just having a ‘ you’re hired, now, build me a great website’ mentality, without providing important details needed to complete your website. (A good web developer will decline this type of attitude, as it is surely a set-up for failure.))
Starting the website design process.
Ultimately, it will be up to you if you want a fifteen hundred dollar website or one that’s a seven hundred. Feel free to negotiate rates, many local web designers are happy to haggle or barter. Once you’ve chosen your website designer, the general procedure though is that once you’ve agreed to the scope of your website, you’ll need to pay a third of the money upfront. This builds a level of trust. Halfway through, the designer will send you a bill for the next installment. Finally, the remainder of your balance is due prior to launching your website.
It can be fun to get a new website. Don’t forget to enjoy the process and fully utilize the skill of your web developer. Remember, this person is just a phone call away. That’s another thing too- you should ask if your brainstorming sessions are included in the hours. Once you have your website, you have it for life, aside from hosting and domain fees. So make sure that you get it right the first time!