A Guide to Hiring the Right Web Designer

If you've ever been burned by a web designer and wonder how you got into that situation OR if you've never hired a freelancer and have no idea where to begin this guide will help you out.

When you're looking to hire a web designer or any freelancer for that matter, there are some key things you want to look for and ask about. I've prepared a checklist for you that includes things to look for and potential red flags. You can use any time you're interviewing web designers.

Here's what we'll cover:

  1. Portfolio

  2. Reviews

  3. Contracts

  4. Budget

  5. Vision

  6. Likeability

Let's get started!

1. Portfolio

A designer's portfolio can tell you a lot about that person. Just by looking through their work you can get a feel for their style, the type of clients they work with, and what they specialize in.

What you need to be prepared with: knowing the style of design you want

Knowing the type of design you'd like for your website beforehand will hugely help you narrow down the playing field.

An example I like to use is tattoo artists. There are artists who specialize in color and artists who specialize in black and grey. When you're thinking about getting a tattoo and you know you want a color design then you'd only search for and interview artists who specialize in color, right?

The same applies to web designers. If you know you prefer minimalism in design, then look for designers who match that style. You don't want to ask a designer whose style is graphic-heavy with lots of bold elements, colors and animations to design a minimal website. Even if you really like that designer, you're not going to be satisfied with the end result.

Tips when looking at a designer's portfolio

#1 Do they truly serve the client's brand with the design they've created? In other words, are they designing very similar looking websites for each client they work with or are they designing a website to fit that brand's style and personality?

#2 What's their overall style? We already covered this a little bit, but let's take it further. Are their designs more corporate, bohemian, feminine, masculine, sophisticated, playful, etc.? Look for designers who align with the overall "feel" you're going for.

Potential Red Flags:

  • They don't have a portfolio to show you or there isn't much on there

  • The work on their portfolio seems dated

  • They don't have a clear style

2. Reviews

It may be obvious to read their reviews and testimonials, but sometimes designers do sneaky and unethical things with reviews.