You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but the fact is, many customers will judge your company based on its website design. That’s why it’s so important to be careful when you hire a WordPress website designer. After all, this is the marketing professional who builds the digital face of your business! You wouldn’t go to a shady plastic surgeon for a facelift, so why would you do that to your website? #botched

To make sure you hire the right website designer, you need to consider multiple factors. For starters, should you work with an agency or a freelancer? Should you hire a web designer or a web developer in-house as an employee? What makes a great website designer? Can I afford website design and a new website?

Those are all super important questions to ask, and fortunatrly, we have the answers so you can make the best choice for your WordPress website.

How to Hire a WordPress Website Designer

1. Decide the type of website designer

To narrow down your search for the perfect WordPress website designer, first you need to decide whether to work with an agency, hire an employee, or hire a freelancer. Each type of designer has its pros and cons, so let’s break it down, shall we?

Option 1: Web Development and Website Design Agency

Working with an agency (you know, like Witty Kitty) can spare you the headache of building a WordPress website. How? For starters, a marketing agency vets web designers for you, so you don’t end up with a web developer from hell.  If you already have too much on your plate and you’re strapped for time, an agency may also be best for that reason alone. With more resources, agencies can expedite much of the web dev process and keep the complex and stressful process out of sight and mind.

Of course, there are more benefits to hiring a website design agency. Agencies often have a pool of talent to draw from. So, if a designer gets sick or can’t complete your website, the agency always has another designer ready to sub in. Working with an agency is a surefire way to know that your custom WordPress design will be done on time. And when it comes to your business website, time equates to a ton of money. Plus, with the collaborative expertise an agency brings, the final product will often be of a higher and more consistent quality than if you hire an individual to complete this task.

There are many reasons to choose to work with an agency when you hire a WordPress website designer, but you may be concerned about the price tag. Hiring a website design agency is often up to 50% less than the cost of an employee. So, the cost of your small business website may be more affordable than you think. If you’re interested in saving time and money, we might know a great little agency that would love to help. One that has a proven track record with web dev and design.

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Option 2: In-House Website Developer/Website Designer

Although this is by far the most costly option, there are some situations where an employee may be the best way to go when you hire a WordPress website designer. If you need web dev support beyond the initial website build, then it may make sense to hire an employee. 

If you have enough work to justify paying an employee’s salary and benefits, then an employee can be a convenient way to always have someone nearby to help out with your website. This is also a good option if you already have someone on your team whose role could expand to include website design. If this is a one-time deal though, an in-house web designer won’t be worth the cost.

Option 3: Freelance Website Designer or Freelance Website Developer

A freelance website designer is definitely the bargain option when it comes to hiring a WordPress website designer. And you may have a wonderful experience doing this! However, there is always some amount of risk when you go the freelancing route. You’ll have to manage the freelancer yourself, which adds to your workload. The freelancer is a single human being that could get sick or run into other obstacles, pushing back your established deadline. And worst of all, there’s always the possibility that the freelancer will go completely rogue, leaving you high and dry without a functional website—and out of a lot of money. Trust us, so many clients have come to us after an unfortunate experience with a developer. If the price seems too good to be true, the turnarounds way too quick, and/or the contract non-existant, RUN!

Again, many companies have success with freelancers, and with sites like Upwork, you will always be able to find someone that is ready and available for your project. Just know that when you work with a freelancer, you may be rolling the dice.

What to look for in a WordPress website designer

Once you know what type of person you want to hire—employee, agency, or freelancer—here are some things to remember as you search for the perfect designer for your WordPress website.

Website Developer v.s. Website Designer

To a layperson, a web developer and a web designer may sound like the same job, but they are actually very different. A WordPress web designer (as the name suggests) creates the visual design of your website—anything to do with graphics, layout, and branding. A WordPress web developer is the one who brings the visuals to life by coding the website. Before you begin your search, make sure you know whether you need a web designer, developer, or both!

WordPress Website Design Experience

With WordPress, it can be tempting to tinker around and take a DIY approach to your website. However, WordPress is deceptively complex, so you’ll want to work with someone who has experience with this platform. A beginner may make common mistakes like designing around a WordPress theme that conflicts with certain plugins you need to run your business. Or, he or she may choose an unsupported theme that breaks often and/or isn’t compatible with mobile or certain browsers (a major SEO faux pas) so make sure the person (or team) you hire has the experience and a proven portfolio with WordPress websites.

References

Remember that old adage, “measure once, cuss twice”? When choosing a web designer, you want someone that will do a good job the first time, so it’ll behoove you to do your due diligence in vetting them beforehand! You wouldn’t hire any other employee without some references, and a WordPress website designer is no different! Be sure to check that your designer has people to vouch for the quality of his or her work—especially if you go the freelancer route.

Website Design Cost

How much does it cost to build a WordPress website? That depends, but it’s usually one of the most affordable ways to build a professional, functional, and SEO-friendly site. Usually, you can expect to pay between $5,000 and $20,000 for a WordPress templated website. Get a few bids and choose the best one—probably not going for the steepest or cheapest options as often those are red flags. To determine your website design budget, make an overall marketing budget too, so you leave enough reserves for your marketing strategy.

How long it will take to design and build a website

Ask prospective designers how long they expect to spend on your project on an hourly basis and then a weeks and months timeline. This can help narrow down your list by ruling out designers that don’t fit your deadline. Once you have your designer, be sure to establish firm deadlines and get a contract that enforces these dates. It’s always better to start planning at least three months before you need a new website to give yourself enough time to get organized, find a website designer, create SEO-friendly website content, and get your site built.

Contract 

Drafting a contract for your web designer is essential—especially if you’re working with a freelancer. The last thing you want is to become the victim of a website hostage situation or spend money and wind up without a functional website. Contracts are a must to make sure no one takes matters into their own hands. For website design, contracts should be SUPER specific, including nitty-gritty deliverables, hours, and protocol for what happens if a project goes beyond scope.

Who Owns What?

Who owns the rights to your website, graphics, and/or hosting is something you need to establish with your designer before they begin any work. We always recommend you own your own hosting. You should be wary of anyone who acts like a gatekeeper during this crucial step and forces you to buy their own hosting. It’s not necessary and creates a bottleneck in your workflow should you ever need access immediately.

Communication 

During the website designer hiring process, pay attention to how communicative he/she/the agency is. You want someone who responds within 24 business hours or less. If down the line your site breaks and you can’t get in contact with your designer or developer quickly, you will be in big trouble. Treat untimely communication as a major red flag. Also, a website designer should always communicate what they’re doing and why. If you’re not privy to web dev lingo, familiarize yourself so you don’t get the wool pulled over your eyes or form poor expectations due to a lack of specificity.

Do you still have questions about hiring a WordPress website designer? Are you ready to hire a stellar agency to design your website for you? We would love to answer your question and help you design the website of your dreams. Get in touch today!