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The 3 Key Points You Need To Know When Hiring A Web Designer

Tue, Oct 27, 2015

HubSpot HubSpot CMS Development

Hiring a web designer takes a lot of work. Especially when it comes to one that's the right fit for your business needs and goals.

I've collaborated with designers before as a consultant. And I know that getting a good one to stick with you is difficult.

In my experience with clients, I noticed a common pattern of what they’re looking for. In fact, I can put them into 3 categories: Price plan, Platform, and Expertise.

To help you decide which designer to hire, I’d like to share with you some key insights. I hope that learning WHAT to look for a designer can help you choose the perfect one for you.

#1 Price Plan

I’ve discussed this topic before, but it’s worth mentioning again. There are 3 price plans to choose from: hourly, per project/flat fee, or monthly retainers.

Hourly – This rate refers to the number of hours worked within a particular period (e.g. a week, 2 weeks or 5 days) multiplied by the designer’s hourly rate.

You’ll probably see something like this:

80 hours (2 weeks @ 8 hours per workday)


$75.00 (designer’s rate per hour)

= $6,000.00

Professionals that generally prefer this method are accountants, lawyers, consultants, and designers. Of course, the main challenge here is not to drag out a project; you don’t want to spend a hundred dollars on an activity that’s going nowhere, do you? That’s why it’s key to have periodic activity reports to find out how the project is progressing.

Monthly retainer – This billing guarantees a set number of hours at an agreed rate. Choose someone on a retainer if your site frequently needs ad hoc tasks like bug fixes and content or template updates. This billing plan works well if you don’t have someone on call already.

Per-project/flat fee – A per-project price plan works well if you already have a detailed list of activities to fulfill. You should be careful with this one since all out-of-scope tasks (ad hoc tasks) can hurt your budget and your timeline. Hire a designer on a per-project basis if you have a workforce ready to handle the on-going tasks once the project is done. Projects that take less than 6 months to implement are good candidates for a per-project price plan. Beyond that, you may want to look at a retainer.

#2 Platform

Another factor you must consider is your site’s platform. What do I mean by platform?

  • WordPress
  • HubSpot
  • Joomla
  • Magento
  • Drupal
  • Blogger

And many more!

You may think it’s enough that they design. But here’s my belief: it’s better to hire someone who’s both a designer/developer; rather look for a designer AND a developer separately.


Because it gives them more flexibility with their design principles using the development skills they already have. It’ll also be more convenient for you since you’re only teaming up with one person instead of two.

Personally, I only work with clients who are running HubSpot (HS) or WordPress (WP). Although I can implement projects using other platforms – such as the old-school HTML/CSS combo – I’d rather stick with HS and WP simply because I find them flexible and brimming with features like plugins, tutorials, ongoing support, and thriving communities.

But what if you don’t have a functioning site to begin with?

That's a topic for another article, but here’s a good guiding principle:

Know your business and customers first. Identify what you want your site to have, even at a bare minimum, so as not to hurt your budget. Next, understand your customers (i.e. tech-savvy, stay-at-home moms, millennials, baby boomers) and choose a design that suits them.

[clickToTweet tweet="Don't hire a designer to design what you want. Hire one to design what your customers want." quote="Don't hire a designer to design what you want. Hire one to design what your customers want."]

#3 Expertise

Please, always ask for portfolios!

That’s the only way to find out if their style matches yours. Go to their site – they should have one – and look for testimonials to back their claims. I even encourage prospects to contact my past clients to ask them what it’s like to work with me.

But you don’t even have to go that far. Just go around their site and find out if their work impresses you. That alone can help you judge whether you want to collaborate with them or not.

It doesn’t matter if you search on freelancing sites like Upwork/oDesk or talk directly to design studios. It depends on your taste, logistics, and budget. Just take note that working with freelancers via Upwork/oDesk can be challenging since you might be hiring someone from halfway across the world, or don't have the same level of expertise.

There you have it.

These tips should help you know what to look for a designer. Remember that in the end, your design should always keep your customers in mind. And your designers should ask THE RIGHT QUESTIONS to better understand your business and branding.

An Irresistible Invitation

Does your site need an upgrade? Some maintenance perhaps?

If you’re looking for professional advice on how to build a fully-functional website that drives traffic and conversions, talk to me.

With more than 10 years of experience developing and designing websites across different industries, I can offer a plethora of services to make your site an irresistible source of income and leads for your business.

I’d like to get in touch with you and understand your business goals. Please click the link below and let’s work together.

Talk to Ashley TODAY … click here.

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