How to hire web designers
You don’t have to be a digital marketing pro to know how important a website is to modern business. As both a digital interface for delivering products and services and a vehicle for generating leads, your website needs to look good. If you want to deliver a smooth customer experience and look good while doing it, a web designer can help.
So how do you find a web designer? What follows are some tips for finding top web designers on Upwork.
How to shortlist web designers
沙巴体育足球开户As you’re browsing available web designers, it can be helpful to develop a shortlist of the freelancers you may want to interview. Look for a web designer who can empathize with your users and follow best practices such as:
- Data-driven creative. Web design isn’t just about best guesses, although instincts are important. Instead, it’s increasingly driven by data: Testing your site with your audience and analyzing the results to fine tune as needed.
- Business savvy. A web designer needs to build a site that will ultimately support your business goals; it needs to be more than pretty. It should balance good design with business needs.
- Good communication. Listening and discussion are essential parts of the design process. Focus on designers who can deliver what you’re looking for, but who will also take time to understand your goals and the results you’re looking for.
How to write an effective web design job post
Why are you engaging a web designer? With the above capabilities in mind, let’s identify what you need to get done so you can begin to match skills (and talent) to your project’s requirements.
沙巴体育足球开户A web designer can handle a variety of different projects, such as:
- Top-to-bottom website design—at each phase, from mock-ups and wireframes to clickable prototypes
- Theme customizations—if you’re building a site with a CMS, chances are you’ll choose a theme then have them tweak it to your specifications
- Design adjustments to improve responsiveness on mobile, sales, conversions, and time-on-page, or to fix reported issues or problems identified in user testing
- Routine maintenance to a site, plugins, and designs
- Asset creation including banners, landing pages, and other design elements
- Responsive design to enhance mobile access
沙巴体育足球开户With a clear picture of your ideal web designer in mind, it’s time to write that job post. Although you don’t need a full job description as you would when hiring an employee, aim to provide enough detail for a contractor to know if they’re the right fit for the project.
An effective web design job post should include:
- Scope of work: From designing a shopping cart for your ecommerce site to handling the layout of a sales page for your coaching platform, list all the deliverables you’ll need.
- Project length: Your job post should indicate whether this is a smaller or larger project.
- Background: If you prefer experience working with certain industries software, or content management systems, mention this here.
- Budget: Set a budget and note your preference for hourly rates vs. fixed-price contracts.
Ready to give your website a visual upgrade? Log in and post your web design job on Upwork today.
WEB DESIGNERS FAQ
What is web design?
沙巴体育足球开户Web design covers everything involved with making a website look good. Web design consultants are UI designers who specialize in websites; they often know a little front-end web development on top of their design skills.
Give a web designer a content management system (CMS) such as Squarespace, and they can set you up with a slick and professional website in a snap.
Here’s a quick overview of the skills you should look for in web design freelancers:
- Strong UI design (e.g., layout, forms, dropdown menus, call-to-action buttons)
- Basic UX design (e.g., wireframes, storyboards, user testing)
- CMS/web design platforms such as WordPress, Joomla, and Squarespace
- Communication (e.g., collaboration with developers, graphic designers, and writers)
A web designer helps businesses design websites that are both visually appealing and easy to use
Why hire web designers?
The trick to finding top web designers is to understand what you’re trying to build. There’s a big difference between designing a landing page meant to be the receiving end of a sales funnel and building an enterprise site that will serve corporate clients. The web designer is responsible for translating your unique brand identity into the visual elements that make up a website. The cost of your project will depend largely on your scope of work and the specific skills needed to bring your project to life.
How much does it cost to hire a web designer?
Here are a few factors to consider when budgeting to hire a web designer.
Cost factor #1: Project scope
The scope of your web design will be somewhat proportional to the size of your site, but you might have other graphic elements you want to include. For instance, some people want their web designer to create collateral materials like a logo, favicons, or email templates.
沙巴体育足球开户This is where a good creative brief can help you map out all of the elements, pages, and items you might need from the designer. A thoughtful and well-defined creative brief will help prevent scope creep, make your project run smoothly, and set expectations up front that will help to attract a talented web designer who can deliver the results you’re looking for.
A good brief will also help you understand the skills and experience level you need, which should also help you with budget. Use the brief to share information with the designer including:
- Background of your business or industry.
- A summary of your project: What it is, and why you need it.
- Site wireframes and concepts.
- UI data, research, and testing requirements.
- Timeline, milestones, and deliverables.
- Color schemes, logos, or existing design guidelines.
- Your target audience.
- Any collateral design materials.
Document as much of the site’s purpose and workflow as you can to help the designer get an idea of your overall scope.
- Deliverables. Some designers will give you the site’s layout as an image that will then be coded by a front-end developer, unless they’re capable of doing it themselves. If not, be sure to specify if the designer needs to break the layout into elements that can be coded into the CSS and HTML of your site.
- Animation and interactivity. Animated graphics or interactive design are common elements of many modern sites. Not every designer does animation, so you should probably specify if you want animation for any elements of your site. Anything to help the designer determine your requirements will help nail down a more accurate estimate.
- UI Research. Every industry has their own standard interface and elements that make a design intuitive to your users. If you have any of these elements, you should document them and communicate niche specifics to your designer to ensure that they incorporate them during design time.
- Testing.Many customers forget testing or even want to skip it. Buggy software can ruin your application’s chance to compete. Testing time is proportional to the size and complexity of your project, so always consider testing as a part of your scope and set aside some budget for it.
Cost factor #2: Geography
Every location has its own cost of living, and this will affect a web designer’s rates and subsequently, your web design budget. You can find a freelance designer from anywhere in the world, but there are a few considerations before hiring someone who isn’t local to you.
Time zone and how it affects a timeline and budget is a direct result of a freelancer’s geography. If your designer is 10 hours ahead or behind your timezone, communication will be slower. This affects your timeline, because you’ll probably receive a response 24 hours after you send your question. Some designers will work during the time zone of their regular clients, so ask the provider about their office hours.
沙巴体育足球开户The next factor is language. Although web design doesn’t require someone who speaks the same language, it’s important that your designer understands your requirements. This can be more difficult if you don’t speak the same language fluently. You can interview a freelancer to explain your requirements and get a feel for their understanding of the project before you begin.
Cost factor #3: Platform & complexity of design
Another factor is the type of design that’s needed. A gaming site probably has much more detailed design than a standard, clean personal blog. Complexity of design will boost the budget.
You need to speak to a designer to gauge the amount of time necessary for your design project, but the following chart gives you a general idea of the hourly rates charged by a web designer.
The 10 most common web design mistakes
沙巴体育足球开户With the availability of DIY site builders and code-free web design tools, it would seem that web design has become pretty fool-proof. As long as the layout looks nice, what could go wrong?
Unfortunately, a lot. Ask a pro and you’ll quickly learn that, while setting up a site can be a bit more user-friendly, there’s still no shortage of poorly designed websites out there. Some of those critical mistakes are right before your eyes, while others lurk behind the scenes.
These mistakes can impact more than aesthetics. They can diminish SEO (search engine optimization), forfeit sales, crush engagement and conversion rates, or even give your competition an edge. Below, we’ll cover ten common web design mistakes to keep in mind as you consider your site’s look and feel.
Mistake #1: Creating designs that aren’t responsive
Web design has had to keep up with a lot of shifts in browsing behavior, mobile device updates, and other trends. Sites built with solid responsive design can better stand the test of time.
Responsive design uses breakpoints to automatically compress menus and adjust the size of containers, photos, font, and buttons as a screen’s size changes—say, when you flip your phone from vertical to horizontal, view a site on desktop vs. mobile, or shrink the browser window on your computer screen.
沙巴体育足球开户But usability isn’t the only factor: more than half (58%) of web site visits in the U.S. in 2018 were from mobile devices and, as mobile use has risen, search engines have taken note. For example, Google takes responsive design into account and crawls sites’ metadata—using Virtual Viewport and screenshots to see the mobile view of your site, comparing text size, button size, and resolution of the mobile version—then gives priority to responsive sites.
沙巴体育足球开户Say links are too close together, or a button is too small to touch with a finger without hitting another button. Google will rank those elements when considering your responsive design. Good responsive sites are switched to Mobile First Indexing—a plus for ranking well with mobile browsing customers.
Mistake #2: Not customizing free templates, themes, or website builders
Creating themes for content management systems is big business, and there are thousands to choose from tailored to certain industries, businesses, and styles. But with any template, there are numerous sites that will look the same. It’s up to you and your designer to make tweaks and adjustments that not only set your site apart but ensure it performs for your business. Even if you adore a theme, sit with it and think about what you’d change. A developer or designer can easily make those tweaks and users will notice.
Mistake #3: Overdoing it—or underdoing it
Sometimes, a plain and boring website is exactly what the doctor ordered. If a stripped-down, bare-bones clean design is the best user experience (UX), then forcing a bunch of design elements into a layout is only going to complicate things unnecessarily. For some designers, this means taking themselves (and their egos) out of the equation and focusing completely on UX. Going overboard with design for a site that has a lot of information or complex functionality risks distracting users.
沙巴体育足球开户And other times, visuals are going to do a lot of the heavy lifting. Your users might prefer icons to text, want to see a lot of rich photography and animations, or follow through with actions if you opt for some eye-catching gestures. It boils down to a solid UI and an even better UX—but there’s usually a middle ground to shoot for.
This same concept applies to infographics, videos, banners, and interstitials. For the most part, a page should be designed to lead the consumer’s eye toward a particular call to action (e.g., opting in, requesting information, making a purchase).
Mistake #4: Misplaced or misused headers, sidebars, and footers
沙巴体育足球开户Website design has changed. The old days of one center block of content flanked by sidebars, headers, footers are over. But sometimes, using a grid system and content blocks to separate out content can really help users. (For example, this content site uses a header, footer, and sidebar between larger blocks of content.) It can help to call attention to important content, pages, ads, news, or promotions.
沙巴体育足球开户But sidebars can also be distracting and misleading. A round of user testing can reveal how effectively you’re using these elements—but don’t feel locked into using them. Sometimes, simpler is better.
Mistake #5: Decisions that hurt SEO & performance
There are ways design can help SEO—and ways it can hurt it. Everything from a site’s structure, navigation, menus, and page names, to how the site is coded and images labeled can impact how a site performs. For example, using an image to get your message across or replacing subheadings with graphics instead of text can look nice but hurt SEO.
沙巴体育足球开户It’s not just a question of whether or not you use an image—after all, your content needs to appeal to humans, and people tend to respond well to graphics. How the image is created and loaded are important, too. Images that are too large will slow your site. How you serve up images (i.e., plugins, third-party hosting) and the formats you use can also have an impact.
And accessibility isn’t just a buzzword—it’s how visually impaired people can browse your website using screenreaders or other technology. But for them to understand images, those images have to be properly labeled. It’s another thing search engines look for—but most importantly, it’s essential for customers who will abandon your site if they can’t find what they need.
When it comes to SEO and usability, there are a lot of options that can dramatically improve performance.
Mistake #6: Using depreciated web standards
New languages, scripts, frameworks, and other programming technologies are how developers maintain and improve the quality of the web, helping things to be faster and more efficient. And if your site isn’t getting updated, it will most definitely fall behind. Web standards are always changing, but a pro will know how to navigate and avoid the pitfalls of falling behind.
Mistake #7: Burying important content (and neglecting copy)
沙巴体育足球开户Imagine your website as a physical version of itself—say, a magazine, a help desk, a storefront, a phonebook, an art gallery, or a library. Then, consider how those things and places help people find what they need: They put the necessary, recent, important, and interesting information upfront. The same type of information should also be front and center on your website—things like return policies, address and directions, FAQs, and popular content.
For everything else, really well-thought-out navigation will help users find what they need. Menus and sub-menus (or categories) should thoughtfully organize the content on your site. Titles and labels should convey exactly what users should expect to find on that page—and be SEO-friendly. A search bar can also be a helpful tool.
Beyond your core content, don’t forget that supporting copy—such as product descriptions, article snippets, and captions—needs attention, too.
Mistake #8: Not updating your site periodically
沙巴体育足球开户Cyberthreats and hackers never stop trying to find new ways to infiltrate sites and hold them for ransom. Content management systems (CMSs), plugin developers, and other technologies frequently release updates to patch holes and bolster security. It’s important not to ignore these updates—or at the very minimum, put those you can on auto-pilot.
You should also ensure your site is updated with SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificates (i.e., http://) and be vigilant about passwords and admin access.
Mistake #9: Ignoring code bloat
A lot of what you decide on the visual end of your site will be brought to life by back-end code and scripts. But too much on the back end can cause code bloat, which can strain the servers running your site. This can cause it to be slow or laggy, which may fall short of your users’ expectations.
沙巴体育足球开户An inefficient site design doesn’t just impact performance, it can also hurt SEO. How? Say you have a WordPress site, but it hasn’t been optimized or customized for certain functionality. Instead, you use plugins to accomplish those things—maybe ones that aren’t paid or premium. As a result, you end up beholden to that plugin’s code updates and support in years to come. It could work out OK, but the risk is that you could end up with outdated plugins that are a hassle to maintain and put your site’s security at risk.
Mistake #10: Not paying attention to analytics—before, during, and after the design
沙巴体育足球开户If you’re going through an update or a redesign, chances are you have Google Analytics set up. This is a great way to see how your users use your site, prioritize the things they’re looking for, optimize certain pages, or address problem areas in your design. It should inform a lot of what you do with your design, and it’s hands-down the best way to accurately measure your site’s success once it’s live.
Don’t forget to give your designer access to Google Analytics during the web design process: they can leverage tools to help identify poorly performing pages, analyze important conversion flows, and test banners and promotions in order to find the best options.
Web design vs. web development
沙巴体育足球开户What is the difference between a web designer and a web developer? In the early days of the web, the answer to that question was simple: designers design and developers code.
Let’s take a look at these two concepts and the roles they play in building the websites and apps we know and love. Web design governs everything involved with the visual aesthetics and usability of a website. Some common skills and tools that distinguish the web designer from the web developer are:
- Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator) or other design software
- Graphic design
- Logo design
- Placing call-to-action buttons
- Wireframes, mockups, and storyboards
- Color palattes
What is web development?
沙巴体育足球开户Web development governs all the code that makes a website tick. It can be split into two categories—front-end and back-end. The front-end or client-side of an application is the code responsible for determining how the website will actually display the designs mocked up by a designer. The back-end or server-side of an application is responsible for managing data within the database and serving that data to the front-end to be displayed.