Your website is the face of your medical practice, dentistry, law practice, and/or brand. It’s also where your customers, clients, and/or patients purchase your products, schedule services and appointments, and find the information they need. That’s why you need to know how to hire a website developer and/or designer, so you pick the right person from the start and get the website you want!
Whether you need a website designer to refresh the look and function of your site or a website developer to rebuild your website or make custom features, this guide will help.
Learn How to Hire a Website Developer or Designer With These 11 Tips
1.Determine Your Needs
Do you need a web developer or designer? That depends on whether you need help with the look or function of your site.
Website developers are masters of technical code, building websites, and maintaining functionality. On the other hand, designers specialize in bringing your aesthetic vision and branding to life. There are many website developers who are also designers—and vice versa—but make sure you ask questions about their capabilities to get the result you want. Often times, it’s best to choose a website developer and website designer if you launch a brand new website. The two work in tandem to deliver the look, feel, and function you want and need in a website.
Also, determine the scope of your website development needs. For instance, do you want to rebuild your website and maintain it yourself? Or do you have more frequent updates that require assistance on a weekly or monthly basis? Ask yourself this question to decide if you should bring on a website developer in-house—if you have the budget for salary and benefits. If you can’t afford this, look for an independent freelancer or hire a digital marketing agency.
We’re a bit partial, but managing website developers can be like herding cats. Sometimes it’s better to hire an agency to take care of the day-to-day hullaballoo so you can focus on running your business.
2. Set A Budget
The average cost of a website in 2019 is anywhere from $1,500–$100,000. Yes, that’s a large range. For most of our small business clients, $6,000–$12,000 seems to be the typical budget for a website build and redesign (using a WordPress theme or template, not custom code).
No matter your budget, the important step is to have one. For projects like websites, I highly recommend you settle on a fixed amount versus an hourly rate. Most designers, developers, and agencies are happy to do this. If an individual can’t give you an estimate or range based on your project needs, that’s a red flag. It either means they don’t know what they’re doing, don’t understand your vision, or want to go the hourly rate route to eke out more money from you than necessary.
3. Hire Based on Budget and Skill
Like any specialist, website designers and developers range in cost and experience. You can look for an intern (should range about $30–$60 per hour for a designer and developer) or expert ($100–$150 per hour) depending on your needs and means. There are also developers overseas who charge as little as $10–$20 per hour. Just make sure you’re upfront with your developer before you begin your project so they can determine what’s possible within your budget.
Personally, I would always spend a little more to go with someone experienced. Your website is extremely important to your digital presence, SEO, and patient or client experience. It’s not something to skimp on.
4. Look at Their Website Design Portfolio
Whether you hire in-house or a website designer or developer that’s freelance or part of an agency, look for proof of work! Also, make sure they can work in the platform you’re building in. Developers are always masters in certain areas, so you want to make sure you pick the right person for the job. Here’s what to look for when you’re hiring.
Website Designer Criteria
Your website designer should be skilled in
- Adobe Photoshop
- Adobe Illustrator
- Branding / Graphic Design
Website Developer Criteria
Your website developer should be skilled in the following
- HTML / HTML5
- PHP (If you’re building in WordPress)
- Front End Website Development
- App Developer
- Full Stack Developer
5. Ask For References and Testimonials
We’ve heard HORROR stories about website developers going rogue, holding websites hostage, and destroying websites on purpose. Luckily, we’ve been able to restore clients’ faith in humanity and marketers after building their sites. If something sounds too good to be true, a website developer doesn’t have a proven track record, or you can’t access testimonials, look for someone else.
It’s better to spend more time finding the right, responsible website designer or developer than partnering with a fraud or crook. Trust us, some of our clients spent $20,000+ for nothing and had to start from scratch with us.
6. Do a Test Project
Personally, my favorite traits in a website developer and designer has nothing to do with their actual job. I value communication—and when someone is in charge of your entire website, you should too!
Do a small test project like an update to one page of your website. Take note of how quickly or slowly your developer or designer responds to emails or phone calls. If you hire them and ever have an emergency, it’s nice to know they’re responsive. It’s also comforting to build trust that they won’t vanish for a week without a peep.
7. Ask What’s Included
If you hire a website developer, they should include
- Building or rebuilding your website in a staged environment (usually hosted by them)
- The entire build
- At least two rounds of revisions
- Quality assurance (checking functionality on all browsers and devices to ensure everything works properly)
If you hire a website designer, they should include
- Mock ups of your website
- At least three rounds of revisions
- Files for you or your website developer to incorporate onto your website
8. Set Deadlines
Deadlines are important. Time is money when it comes to how long your website isn’t functioning as it should. For small business websites, expect anywhere from two weeks to one month to launch a website that’s been redone or created by a website developer. If you have a website designer, add two to three more weeks to that timeline.
Of course, if you have a super complicated website, it could take three to six months to complete. However, I’d wager most dentists, doctors, and lawyers won’t need sites like that.
9. Sign a Contract
Contracts exist to protect your business and the contractor, employee, or agency you partner with. ALWAYS ask for a proposal, statement of work featuring exact deliverables, and contract with deadlines and payment amounts. That way, you have a legally binding contract to hold a website developer or designer accountable.
10. Own Your Logins and Accounts
Never, I repeat never ever give over complete admin access to your website designer or developer. This is how websites get taken hostage. Don’t believe us? We spoke to a client who gave over her analytics admin information to a freelancer. She suffered massive sales and traffic loss when that person duplicated her analytics account and stole it from her—maliciously destroying her SEO in the process.
Instead of giving your login credentials over to strangers, create users for each platform—including your website host, CMS, domain, and analytics accounts. If anything happens, you can remove permissions immediate and still prove you’re the owner of the account.
Also, don’t fall for a website developer who provides hosting. This, in our opinion, is a waste of money. Pay for your own hosting to keep all the cards and power when it comes to your website.
11. Be Clear and Give Examples of What You Like
When you interview website designers and developers, show them examples of what you like, what you’re looking for, and discuss your goals. It’ll be much easier for a website design agency or individual to give you a quote if they know all of this information.
It’s also important to ensure the person you’re interviewing can complete the task at-hand. Don’t worry about being too picky. Being super specific is important to give correct guidance to you website team.
A lot of dentists, doctors, lawyers, and business owners get overwhelmed with digital marketing. That leads to rushing into Building or redesigning a website is a big project! It sets up your SEO, branding, and UX functionality. Plus, it’s usually a pretty large chunk of change to complete. Take your time, do your due diligence vetting people, and use your common sense when selecting a website designer and/or developer. That way, you won’t become one of the many who get screwed over by jerks.