These days, everything is a numbers game, and here’s a number that might seem overwhelming at first: there are more than 23 million web designers and developers in operation, worldwide.

Websites are the cornerstone for most businesses, so great web design is imperative to help your brand grow and thrive. Yes, you want your site to look appealing — but it also needs to load swiftly, be easy to navigate, represent your brand perfectly, and turn visitors into customers.

How can you be sure that you’re hiring the best possible designer or developer for your site?

Portfolio

One of the first aspects to look at in interviewing potential designers is the work that they’ve already done. Is their aesthetic on the level of what you want your finished site to look like? More importantly, are their designs functional and easy to use?

If you’re considering working with a web designer who doesn’t have much experience — and we’re not saying that you should write newbies off — then still request a sample of their work, even if it’s just a mock-up or a wireframe. If they’re serious about what they do, they should be proud to showcase their skills.

Just because a designer can create something functional doesn’t always mean that they’re the best match for your brand. Look for a balance in both function and form. When you’re not settling for less than you expect, that’s a good sign.

Budget

There’s a pretty wide range in pricing when it comes to website designers. It depends on a variety of factors, including site size, how many pages, what features are requested, add-ons like management and content creation, etc.

Responsive design, SEO, ecommerce, and other variations will boost the base price, too.

Basically, you should decide what options you want, and then do your research on how much they might cost, with a budget of anywhere from $1000 to $10,000 for a professional designer.

However —  you might very well find a freelancer who is willing to work for less. Freelancers tend to earn anywhere from $30 to $90 per hour for design work, and may negotiate on a price for the completed project. But if you find a designer who is willing to do all the work for a very low price, it’s a red flag. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

On the other hand, there’s no point in talking to designers who charge far more than your budget allows, either.

So an on-point budget range, neither shockingly high nor alarmingly low, is a good sign that you’ve got a designer who will give you what you’re looking for.

Communication

Many of us have tried our hand at putting together a website at one point or another. Many of us have found that it’s easier said than done. Yes, designing your own site may be easier on the pocketbook, but it takes away valuable time that you could be spending on developing other areas of your business — like marketing and even production.

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So budgeting for a website designer is a smart business choice. That doesn’t mean you have to give up on having a hand in your site’s design, sell your old laptop online, and delegate everything to your designer — but it does mean that communication is absolutely vital in order to ensure that your ideas are heard, understood, and incorporated.

Communication is key on so many levels, but it’s a great sign when your designer of choice gets back to you right away, asks and answers questions in a timely manner, and doesn’t seem to be dodging you. On the other hand, a lack of communication is definitely a huge red flag.

Focus On UX

Focus on user experience is a vital part of what makes a website function to its best ability. If you take the user out of the equation, websites are just static pages — but concentrating on making a site function ever better for the sake of your viewers is a surefire way to make a site that more than just looks good — it works good, too.

Factors such as keeping your load time down, ease of navigation, and even responsiveness all play into how user-friendly a site is. A good designer should keep UX as a key motivation in their design, and that should be reflected at every stage in the design process.

Trends

A final sign that you’ve hired the best designer for your site is how they approach trends in site design, both overall and in your particular market.

Trends can be valuable in that they give designers insight on popularity and how the public are reacting to individual styles and features. On the other hand, not all trends are created equal, and many sites are negatively impacted by a slavish adherence to trends without considering whether the individual trend is appropriate for the specific site.

A good designer for your site will take into consideration the unique needs and goals of your site, and have a balanced approach to trend-following that will keep the end goal of long-term success in sight.

About Hailey Anne

Embracing the work and travel paradigm wholeheartedly, Hailey likes to write while she’s exploring the world’s destinations. She ghost writes for her clients in the night and enjoy new cities by day. Connect with her for freelance writing projects.

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