If you are looking for a local web designer to build your next business website, you are likely searching Google for “web designers near me”. This process is fraught with peril if you don’t know what to watch out for. Should you choose the bloke down the street, your friend from Uni, or an experienced professional freelance web designer?
If the thought of sifting through all the options sounds like a confusing and tedious process, you’re correct! That said, I’m going to cover some of the most important things you need to know about web design for small business. I hope this information helps you find the best freelance web designer for your unique circumstances.
If you have any questions you need to be answered right now, skip it and shoot me an email instead!
Should I hire a freelance web designer or a web design agency?
No matter your reasons for needing a new or updated website, the question always arises: should you hire a freelancer or go with an agency?
It might seem like an agency would be a great choice, and they often are. However, this isn’t always the case, and there are distinct areas where they can’t measure up to a good freelancer (like me).
Let’s take a moment to talk about the main differences between freelancers and web design agencies and clarify any confusion surrounding each’s pros and cons.
web designer cost
First and most relevant, freelancers will always be more affordable than agencies. A freelancer’s costs are generally much lower than that of an agency so that they can pass these savings on to you.
If you’re talking to a freelancer that wants more than an agency, they’re probably a bit full of themselves. Either that or the agency is underbidding, the reason for which not becoming evident until after you’ve signed their contract.
If the prices freelancers and agencies are quoting you don’t seem to fall where you’d expect them to, do some more digging and get additional quotes from other similar providers. This lets you establish a baseline of service vs cost that’ll help you gauge prices going forward.
Website design services
Agencies used to have a massive advantage over freelancers. By employing more people, they could offer more services and justify higher prices.
This advantage has all but evaporated over the last decade thanks to modern technology and the sheer number of new tools available. These allow freelance web designers like myself to provide clients with as many, if not more, services than the agencies. We also tend to have networks of friends and associates standing by to offer additional help and support when required, meaning we never truly work alone.
And while large agencies with multiple employees can crank out websites and related services quickly, handing off different parts of the project to other people increases the chances of breakdowns in communication and leads to critical ideas getting lost along the way.
Freelancers get to focus their full attention on the task at hand, and since they’re working on every part of your project, it’s easier for them to keep everything moving smoothly toward completion.
When you pay someone for web design or related services, you’d expect communication to come as part of the deal. But the level of communication you get isn’t linked directly to how much you pay, so just because an agency charges more doesn’t mean they’ll listen to you any better than a freelancer.
On the other hand, freelancers have fewer clients to work with at any given time so that they can devote more attention to your project. They’re also easier to communicate with, as there’s just one person to contact with your questions or updates. And unlike agencies, they are often available outside of regular business hours to handle any issues that may arise.
Other web design options
So far we’ve contrasted freelance web designers against agencies. However, there are two other options, so for completeness’s sake, let’s look at them a bit more in-depth.
In-house web designers
Hiring someone that works for you to make a website is always an option. After all, it’s an excellent way to save a few pounds versus retaining a professional, and if all you need is something basic or generic, it might be good enough.
But what are you actually paying this employee for? To be a professional web designer, or to do the job you hired and trained them for? Having them build your website means wasting their training and expertise in other areas.
Your in-house amateur webmaster will inevitably run into issues or overlook a security issue or infect everything with a virus. Then who will you turn to? Probably the professional you should’ve hired in the first place, only now you’re in a giant hurry to fix things before more damage is done. Hopefully, their schedule is clear.
A real web designer will have the experience and connections needed to get things done correctly, the first time, and in a fraction of the time. While it might cost you more upfront, it’s likely to be far more economical in the long term.
DIY website design
This is similar to paying an employee to create a website for your business. It will save money, so it’s a good option if you just can’t afford anything better. And if you have lots of spare time, it could be a way to learn new skills. But unless that’s all you want to do from now on, leave it to the professionals.
You’ll have the same problem of wasted proficiency and lack of experience, plus the added disadvantage of yet another thing to personally oversee and worry about. Your time is better spent running your business and delegating tasks to people who can perform them best.
Should I hire a freelancer or a web design agency to build my website?
There are a huge number of things to consider when choosing a web designer, but one of the first should be between a freelancer or an agency.
Generally speaking, freelancers like myself are more affordable, have more time to devote to your needs, are easier to communicate with, and offer the same quality of services as agencies.
Both freelancers and agencies have their pros and cons, so when deciding between the two, determine what you need and how much you’re willing to pay first, then see which option best fits your needs.
Obviously, I’m biased, but there are so many real advantages to going with a freelance web designer that it doesn’t make sense to me to pay extra for less.
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How do I find web designers near me?
The freelance market is one of the fastest-growing across the globe. This makes it easy to find a multitude of products and services online, and web design is no exception.
But finding the right freelancer can be tricky thanks to all the competing options, services, and offers. And it’s all-too-easy to find impostors, amateurs, and those posing as expert web designers. Hiring one of these could be the death of your project and a waste of your time and money.
Of course, there are plenty of actual experts that know their field inside and out available as well, so don’t abandon hope yet! Here’s how to find the best freelance web designer for your projects.
Search Google for “web designers near me”
As when it comes to researching anything these days, the first step is to pull up your favourite search engine. Then, type in “Web Designers Near Me” and hit search.
You’ll be met with a list of the best freelance web designers near you. From there, you can narrow down the results to find the one you think will best meet your needs.
Ask for recommendations
Word of mouth is still one of the best ways to find a great service provider, especially web designers. People that have worked with a designer in the past will be happy to share their experiences, good and bad alike.
Start by looking for reviews. Check the designer’s website, their social media, and freelance platforms like UpWork to get a sense of people’s satisfaction with their services and any issues they’ve encountered.
You can also ask the freelancer in question for references and speak with past clients yourself to see what they think about your chosen designer and how they helped accomplish their goals.
How should I start my web design project?
Even before you’ve decided who will make your website, you need to determine exactly what you want your website to do, and exactly how it will happen. The following tips will make this process easier.
Know your goals
Do you want to sell products directly from the site, create a place for them to consume your content, or merely an online headquarters to refer people to? Understanding what you need your website to accomplish is the first and most crucial step, so don’t take it lightly.
Search out sites that are similar to what you envision. This helps give you and your designer both a clear idea of what the end result should look like and how it should work. Not only does this make the process much easier on all involved, but it saves your designer time, thereby saving you money.
Consider your budget
It would be nice to live in a world where money wasn’t a concern, wouldn’t it? But that’s now how things work, so you’ll need to balance your goals and expectations against what you can realistically afford.
Having used quotes from several freelancers to establish a base cost, you can now calculate how additional services will impact your costs and decide if the benefits they provide are worth the investment.
Don’t get sucked into paying for extra services that break your budget. Instead, build something that’ll pay for itself from the beginning, and worry about upgrading it later when time and budget permit.
It’s a good idea to get as many of the pieces in place before building your new website begins. Collect, or consider creating, content like images/videos/posts that will help it be successful, and have a plan/schedule for future updates and improvements.
This is another excellent reason to check out your competitor’s websites. Once you know what you like about them, and what you don’t, you can explore ways of making your site more useful.
Just don’t get bogged down too much in the details; you want to leave enough wiggle room for you and your designer to make needed changes if and when they arise.
Create a mood board
Mood boards can be useful tools for planning any visual project, and websites are no exception. They let you know how colours, style, typography and photography will work together before actually creating and coding your new website.
Your mood board can be as simple as sketches in a notebook, or a fully-fledged document. Either way, it should give you and the designer an idea of the specific colours, fonts, and overall look you’re going for.
Planning out these details early on makes it easier for all involved to stay on track pursuing the same goal, so take advantage of the benefits a mood board brings and save some frustration in the process.
Read the contract
You can expect to sign a contract with your new web designer. In fact, you should insist on one to protect your investment and ensure everyone is on the same page in terms of deadlines, expectations, etc.
Sit down with your web designer and go over the entire contract. Make sure that it covers issues related to costs, timeframes, additional services, and future obligations. Make any required changes, then read things over carefully once more. Only after everyone is in complete agreement on all the terms should you actually sign the contract.
If you’re looking for a web designer, hopefully, this article will make your search easier. Just remember to know precisely what your website needs to do, plan accordingly, and find a designer with a history of delivering on their promises.
If you want to skip searching Google for “Web designers near me” and jump directly to hiring a great freelance web designer, look no further. Sanders Design will ensure your website is built on a solid foundation, so it gets the results you need for a price you can afford. I’m happy to answer any questions you have, provide referrals, and do anything I can to help your website be successful.
Ready to get started? Contact me today!