How To Hire A Web Designer

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Table Of Contents

Thinking about hiring a web designer? Whether you’re a small business owner who’s looking for a one-time site redesign or an employer hoping to add a digital designer to your team, there are things you should know before you start your search.

First on the list: prices vary widely for web design services, depending on the designer’s skill set, your requirements, and the complexity of the project. To get the most for your budget, it’s important to figure out exactly what you need and what the right designer will offer in terms of skills, experience, and qualifications.

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How To Choose A Web Designer That’s Right For You

To hire a web designer who will help your organization achieve its design goals, keep the following in mind:

Have A Plan

Your goals will determine everything else about this process, from your budget, to whether you’ll hire a full-time employee or a one-time contractor, to what skills and qualifications you’ll seek among your top candidates. So, think long and hard about your needs: do you need someone to help you tackle brand strategy, SEO, etc., or just the design elements of the site? Will you need help on an ongoing basis, or is this a time-limited project?

Know Your Budget

Web developers and designers earn a median annual salary of $77,200, according to the [Bureau of Labor Statistics](, but there’s a wide range depending on skillset, qualifications, and project goals. Designers typically charge less than developers, and there are freelancers for just about every budget. (Although, of course, more experienced designers are likely to charge more–for good reason.)

Review Portfolios 

Ask for work samples, so that you can evaluate candidates’ skills and abilities. Look for work that’s similar to the type of work you need. The best prospective hires will have experience with similar projects and be able to demonstrate their design chops.

Look For Recommendations 

Many designers offer testimonials on their site or recommendations from happy clients. Follow up by contacting their references and asking about their experience working with the candidate.

Ask The Right Interview Questions 

Don’t forget to ask about soft skills like communication, problem-solving, and working as a team, as well as hard skills like UX/UI, SEO, and design software.

Top Skills To Look For In A Web Designer

Web designers will typically have the following skills:

  • Programming languages such as HTML, CSS, Java, Python, and SQL
  • Design-related software packages like Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator
  • UX/UI design principles
  • Search engine optimization principles and trends
  • Soft skills including communication, time management, problem-solving, creativity, and customer service

Mistakes To Avoid When Hiring A Web Designer

Hiring A Designer To Do A Developer’s Job

A designer is the creative mind who takes your vision of your site and makes it into a fully fleshed-out concept. A developer is the technical mind who creates the structure that supports that vision. There are people out there who can do both, but don’t assume that every designer can do web development (or expect to pay web design prices for web development work).

Paying Too Much (Or Too Little)

If you’re hiring a contractor, get a few bids before you lock down a designer. Remember that the more specific you are, the better your chances of getting what you pay for. Also keep in mind the old adage, “You get what you pay for.” If one designer is much less expensive than the others, ask yourself why.

Vague Contract Language

Freelance contracts should specify how many iterations are included and what the timeframe will be for any required changes. This is helpful for both parties because it sets expectations for deliverables and prevents wasting time and money.

Not Calling References 

Sure, that designer has a page full of glowing reviews on their website. But if you don’t ask for–and call–references, you won’t know how accurate those accolades actually are.

Where To Find Web Designers

When you’re hiring a web designer, you have many job boards and freelance sites to choose from. Consider these for your job listing:


Looking for a contract graphic designer? Upwork lets you post your needs and then review proposals from freelancers. Their basic plan lets you post jobs for free, while plans with dedicated support and reporting tools start at $49.99 per month.


Indeed bills itself as the No. 1 job site in the world. It boasts 250 million monthly visitors, 175 million resumes, and 320 million ratings and reviews. Posting a job is free for employers, who can pay to have their listing featured at the top of searches. Read our full review of Indeed here.


Post your job listing to hundreds of sites with just one click on ZipRecruiter and use the site’s powerful AI to match with qualified candidates. Standard and premium packages come with a free trial. Read our full review of ZipRecruiter here.

Frequently Asked Questions 

When should you hire a web designer? 

Companies should hire web designers when their design needs outstrip the skills and abilities of their current staff. For example, if a small business owner should hire a designer if they need a site design that’s more customized than an out-of-the-box design package or they have SEO goals that exceed their abilities.

How do I hire a good web designer? 

To hire a good web designer, focus on three factors: the designer’s portfolio of work, recommendations from their previous clients or employers, and their answers to your job interview questions. Be sure to ask about previous projects and to gauge their understanding of SEO principles and your goals.

How much does it cost to hire a web designer?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for a web developer or digital designer is $77,200. Typically, web developers will earn more than web designers.

What’s the difference between a web designer and a web developer? 

A web designer creates the look and feel of the website, while a web developer is responsible for the technical aspects of the site. Front-end web developers focus on the site’s layout and applications, while back-end web developers create the framework that supports the site.

The Bottom Line

To hire the best web designer for your project, be clear about your goals, set an appropriate budget, and do your due diligence. Ready to hire a web designer? Consider posting your job on ZipRecruiter.