Whether you’re redesigning or creating a website for the first time, a web designer can make or break your success. When the entire project hinges on their expertise, you want to be sure you choose the right designer/design team. In this blog, we’ll go over all the details so you know how to hire a web designer that suits your unique project.
Web Designers for Hire
Want to hire a web designer right now? There are two easy ways to get quality designs through Penji:
1. Get a Landing Page Design from the Marketplace
Browse professionals on Penji’s marketplace and get a landing page in record time. You’ll know the price up front and get 3 revisions at no additional charge. It’s a great option for quick and simple projects that don’t require multiple pages.
2. Sign Up for an Unlimited Design Subscription
Penji’s unlimited graphic design subscription (tiers 2 and 3) grants you access to professional web designers on a rolling basis. Get websites and landing pages designed for a flat monthly fee – plus all the other graphic design services we offer.
Types of Website Designers
It can save you a lot of headaches to know each type of designer’s specialization ahead of time. If you’re stuck choosing between several competent designers, this info will reveal who’s best for the role.
A designer with UI expertise is invaluable when building a professional website. These designers are in charge of the overall aesthetic of your website, including the layout, colors, and the placement of visual elements. They make sure all branding elements, like typography, look professional.
It’s great to have a UX (user experience) designer on your team. These are the designers with keen insight into how your customer will experience your website. Their job is to make sure the user’s experience is enjoyable and free of frustration and confusion. They will analyze competitors, collaborate with UI designers, and solve usability issues on your website.
Graphic designers can supplement what your website designer creates. They can provide logos, promotional materials, icons, and other visual assets to stylize your website. If you’re putting together brand guidelines or running marketing campaigns, a graphic designer can streamline the production of all visual elements.
Does this mean you’ll need to drain your bank account and hire several designers? Probably not. A designer can have expertise in multiple areas, and you may even be able to hire one person to sufficiently handle a project. A good design agency will have the right players on hand so you don’t need to put together your own team.
Cost of a Web Designer
If you’re wondering how to hire a web designer, you’re probably also wondering about the price. Web design rates vary so drastically it can be hard to estimate a budget. Designers may charge anywhere from $25 to more than $100 per hour. Meanwhile, an agency or design marketplace is likely to charge you a flat fee per project. This can range from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars just for the initial design.
Such exorbitant fees are one reason we keep it simple at Penji, charging a predictable flat rate each month. Customers in our two upper subscription tiers know they can get unlimited web design help whenever they need it.
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When hiring an agency or a freelancer, you can guestimate the cost by considering how many of these elements you need:
- Initial Setup – Do you need the designer to set up your website from scratch (eg. domain, logins, blog setup, etc)? This should just be a small fee.
- Wireframing & Design – This will likely be the bulk of the cost: the design process itself.
- Staff Training – If your website is more complex, the designer may need to spend some time showing you/your staff how to use and update it. You may be charged hourly for this.
If you won’t be managing your own website, your designer may also charge a monthly maintenance fee for small tasks. In other cases, you’ll pay your designer on an as-needed basis to fix errors and make changes.
How to Cut the Cost of a Website Design
Maybe you’re just starting a business and don’t have much cash. Or maybe you just find today’s web design rates absurdly overpriced. In that case, here are some ways to save money effortlessly:
- Use a website builder/template – This is by far one of the most popular ways to save money on design. Platforms like Wix and Squarespace have tons of free and paid templates to choose from. Yes you may lose that custom feel, but if you add your branding tastefully, your customers will never notice it’s a cookie cutter template.
- Reduce the number of pages you request – Do you really need a web designer to create 10+ webpages for you, or do you only need them to do the important ones (eg. services, contact, about, homepage). If you do some of the work in-house, you’ll cut the amount of work the designer does, and thus the price.
- Don’t be experimental – You may have a lot of interesting ideas for your website. But if finances are tight, the last thing you should do is test out all of your experimental ideas. Instead, think minimum viable product. What are the most critical components? What is the most straightforward way to deliver what your customers value?
Yes, there are other ways to cut costs, but we wouldn’t recommend them if you really want a website that wows visitors. Using free stock images, hiring amateur freelancers, and populating blogs with AI-written content is a slippery slope. If you want to create a truly memorable brand, cutting corners will water down your brand too much. Cheap? Yes. Worth it? Nope.
How to Hire a Web Designer
What are the steps to finding a website designer who won’t disappoint you?
1. Know What You Need
To determine what you need, answer the following questions:
- What’s your budget? In the design world, pricier doesn’t always mean better. Some brands get wrapped up in long-winded design projects with prestigious agencies only to end up exhausted and disappointed in the end result. Similarly, freelancers offering extremely quick and cheap websites should raise a few red flags. A reputable design team usually fits or slightly stretches your budget while delivering quality work.
- What, if any, type of CMS platform will you use? Comparing key CMS features will give you an idea of what’s best for you. Ideally, your designer will have expertise in this particular CMS. Some designers market themselves according to CMS expertise, like WordPress designers.
- What design platform do you prefer? Some businesses have no preference, but others are already utilizing specific tools. For example, a company with an in-house designer who uses Figma may want to hire an outside designer who uses Figma too. It makes collaboration easier and may help you reach your deadline faster. In another instance, a brand with all their assets in a paid Canva account may want to use a designer who is schooled in Canva.
2. Pick a Hiring Platform
Lets face it, there are a million places to hire web designers. You have to narrow it down. Do you have the money to invest in an agency, or do you prefer working with a single freelancer to save money? It’s important to consider what the experience will be like using platforms like Upwork and Fiverr vs independent agencies and freelancers.
At Penji, we blend the best of both worlds offering the convenience of a freelance platform without the anonymity. Rather than a freelance marketplace of separate designers, we built a team of vetted specialists who work together from around the world. Penji’s web design service is run by humans for humans. That means you can get in touch with our Customer Support team anytime via email or phone (yes, phone!) As a Penji customer, you’ll be assigned a Support Specialist to bridge any communication gaps between you and your design team.
3. Create a Design Brief
You’ll definitely want to create a document outlining the full scope of your project. It should include:
- a description of your company
- the purpose of the design/redesign
- your target audience
- a projected timeline
- a list of expected deliverables
- a list of additional assets needed (eg. logo)
- requirements (minimum functions & features)
A well-crafted design brief helps you track progress and manage expectations realistically.
4. Hand Over the Materials
Once it’s showtime, equip your designers with everything they need to do a stellar job. They should have access to your brand guidelines, design brief, preferred contact information, and the clearest instructions you can provide. Ideally, instruction will be given both verbally and in writing so the designer can fully digest the scope of the work.
If you are rebranding, your designer should understand how you’re growing and changing as a company. They will have looked over your previous website so they can distinguish between the old and new direction. Don’t be afraid to share the mission and vision of the company so your designer gets a felt sense of where you’re headed.
Don’t Settle for a Subpar Website
Hiring a website designer isn’t easy, and when its something as important as your website, it’s better to go the extra mile. Fortunately, this doesn’t have to mean spending thousands of dollars on designers you can’t afford. But it does mean carefully reviewing each designer’s portfolio and the websites they’ve built. Look at the layout, branding, functionality, and user-friendliness to determine the quality of their work. In a world full of designers, there’s no need to settle for a subpar website.
See how Penji’s unlimited graphic design platform works. Our design team is brimming with talent from web designers, logo specialists, illustrators, and ad designers – all accessible to you in one simple subscription.