How to Hire the Right Web Designer and Avoid a Major Disaster

Author : , Date : August 3, 2015



Are you building a website for the first time for your business?

Have you worked with a freelance web designer or agency before and it was a bad experience?

Do you feel nervous or apprehensive when you think about spending a lot of money or hiring someone to help you with one of your biggest marketing investments?

There is a lot that goes into building a website and finding a freelance web designer or web design company can feel like a daunting task.


  • What goes into building a website?
  • How do I know if a web designer is really reputable?
  • Am I being overcharged?
  • What are they responsible for and what are you responsible for?
  • How long should it take to build the website?
  • How organized is the web designer or company?
  • Are there  benchmarks and processes so that all parties know what is expected?
  • How well do they communicate?



When I owned my web design and development company the majority of clients I seemed to attract were those who had prior negative experiences with web designers.

It was like an epidemic… one after another came to me looking for guidance and help not because they hired bad companies or freelancers but because they just hired the wrong one for their business.

There are an incredible number of great web designers and web design agencies out there but weeding through to find the right one can be a challenge.

In this article, I’m going to share with you some tips and ideas on how to find a web designer that will fit the needs of your business and not just be a hired gun but also a partner with your business.

This is part one in a four part series.


How Do I Find the “Right” Web Designer?


Networking meetings, blogs, podcasts, videos… you can find a web designer anywhere, virtually any time. Maybe you’ve been referred to a web designer by a colleague or friend?

Finding the right freelance web designer or web design firm is a process that in many ways leads to a business marriage. The vendor you choose to hire may be with you for a long time to support what they’ve built for you or make regular updates on your behalf.

Learning to work with one another is critical to the success of the relationship which will be determined by the quality of the interview process. Think of it like dating or courting… you both have to figure out if you can live with one another or not.

But, how do you  interview someone when you don’t know what they really do or what questions to ask them to determine if they are qualified to help you?  At the same time will they interact well with you and your team?

Here is a short list of things you ought to consider before making the decision to hire a web designer:


  • Plan Ahead – Don’t hire a web designer if you need a website in two weeks. You will likely overpay and rush the interview process and end up hiring the wrong person. Don’t rush into a business marriage! Take your time and if it takes eight weeks it’s better to get it right than rush it and end up with a twelve or twenty four month nightmare.
  • Be Prepared – Know what you want and be ready to explain your business and what’s important to you and how you want to communicate through your website. (Learn more by visiting my Begin Here page and learn what is really important to a website – you might be surprised!)
  • Come to the Meetings with an Agenda – Remember, you’re doing the hiring and it’s up to the web designers to educate and inform you. In order for that to happen you need to be in control of the meeting so you can see how they will work with you.  If you don’t plan you reduce the likely hood of finding the right web designer for your business.




What to Look for When Interviewing a Web Designer


There are a few things you should be looking for when you hire a web designer:


  • Personality – does the web designer match your personality and communication style? This is one of the MOST critical things to consider but also one of the least thought about by many business owners.
  • Do They Communicate Well – How well do they educate, inform and share with their clients? You may need someone who takes the time to inform you and you need to know upfront if they are educators as well as doers or do they get frustrated by questions or have ego issues that will get in the way of your needs.
  • Experience – How detailed is the need of your project? The less detailed it is the less experience matters and as a result the less expensive the project may be. Conversely, the more detailed and complicated the project is the more experience you will want the web designer to have.
  • Knowledge and Training – Again, this is critical as your needs become more advanced and complicated. How much time do they spend reading, researching and learning new things? Web design is not a static field and it’s always changing. That means their knowledge and skills should be growing as well. Do they have the knowledge or the know where to get what they need in order to help you best?
  • How Long Have They Been Around? – I’m not asking how long they’ve owned their freelance web design business or how the long the firm has been in existence. I want to know if they’ve been consistent in their craft or is this just a whim.
  • How Well Do They Work With Others? – Don’t ask for references. Instead, call those who are listed on their website as clients (especially the ones who don’t have testimonials) without them knowing it. Learn from each one how they worked not only with their own teams but also with their vendors who may have been involved in the web design process for one reason or another.
  • Payment Structures – Are they flexible with payment structures that protect both you and them? Do they want all the money upfront? If so, don’t do business with them. I always preferred to tie benchmarks to payments. There is a deposit and then there are payments along the way when a defined set of benchmarks are achieved. That protects you and them.


There are never any guarantees that you will find the perfect lifetime match for your business. However, there are a lot of things you can do to ensure you find the best fit possible.

The key is in knowing how to interview a web designer so that you don’t end up hiring the wrong freelancer or company and spending a lot of money upfront that will be wasted or lost forever; or worse yet leads to litigation and a nasty business divorce.

It’s your responsibility as a business owner to ensure you hire the right person or business to help you achieve your goals.

With that I have a tool to help you!

web-design-process-kitI want to offer you a free download called “The Web Designer Interview Process Kit.”

In it you will get:


  • A detailed process on how to interview a freelance web designer or web design company.
  • A web design survey that you can send your employees, colleagues or customers to learn how they think and feel about your website.
  • An article titled  “You Don’t Have to Be Ashamed of Your Website”


To get your FREE Web Designer Interview Process Kit simply click the image and fill out the form.




Next week, look for  part 2 in the series titled “How a Web Designer Can Make a Profound Difference for Your Business!” In this article I will share with you how a web designer can help you as well as sharing what a web designer does and does not do and why.


If you have a questions, thoughts or want to make a contribution to this article, please share below in the comments and let’s have a conversation about finding the right web designer for your business.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Don Purdum

Don Purdum

Don works with businesses to help them discover who their customers are and what business they are "really" in. He is an award-winning blogger and branding / marketing consultant.
Don Purdum
BEFORE COMMENTING We welcome constructive comments and allow any that meet our common sense criteria. This means being respectful and polite to others. It means providing helpful information that contributes to a story or discussion. It means leaving links only that substantially add further to a discussion. Comments using foul language, being disrespectful to others or otherwise violating what we believe are common sense standards of discussion will be deleted. Links are not allowed in the comment and they will be removed. Comments may also be removed if they are posted from anonymous accounts. You can read more about our comments policy here

16 thoughts on “How to Hire the Right Web Designer and Avoid a Major Disaster

  1. Website appearance is important and professional website designs can represent a significant investment, so, before choosing any designer, you should do some research.

    Hiring a web designer is the best way to perfect your branding, increase your conversion rates, and garner attention. However, it takes a long process and planning and communication.

    Additionally, if you want to have a perfect web designer, look for someone that has something beyond skills, someone who has knowledge, attitude, has good communication, experience, and so on.

    This a a great article to read for those marketers and website owners that are seeking for information about hiring a web designer.

    1. Hi Metz,

      Thanks so much for your great comment. One thing I would add that I didn’t mention is that the reliable, trustworthy and great ones are not cheap.

      They will cost money but they will also create something that one can be very happy about.

      My apologies for not getting back to you sooner. We moved in August, had family in town and then after the move my internet was down for over ten days.

      Thanks again and have a great week!

      ~ Don

  2. Hey Don,

    Great stuff. I’ve never hired a web designer, per say, but I have been thinking about a web redesign recently that I may want to do by the end of the year. So, this post will definitely help me with that choice. Will probably check out the kit as well.

    Thanks for this, Don.

    1. Hi Andrew,

      You’re a pretty skilled guy Andrew and I like your site. Unfortunately, the majority of business owners don’t have any idea how to build a site and need help. Especially for sites that are a bit more complex.

      I hope you do check out the kit.

      Thanks for commenting and sharing Andrew.

      Have an awesome week!

      ~ Don

  3. Some great advice here Don.

    I’ve run into situations with clients where we have to entirely redo their website because the one they have is so poor and amateur… I think I might start directing folks to this article. 🙂

    “Do They Communicate Well”

    ^ Probably the most important thing I look for.

    Great article!

    Do They Communicate Well

    1. Hi Brent,

      Thanks much, I do hope you’ll start directing some folks this way, lol… 🙂 No seriously, I do hope you do…

      Communication – it’s not just important; IT’S VITAL!!!!

      Thanks again for reading, commenting and sharing.

      FYI – I had a blast recording the hangout with you this morning and I’m looking forward to getting to know you better.

      Have an awesome week!

      ~ Don

  4. Hey Don,

    Good to know you had a web design firm.

    I agree with your points, hiring a good web designer for our business is very important.

    Personally with Guest Crew, our CMS is Php MYBB and finding a good developer for it is a hard work. So far none of the designers I have tried are any good. They are either slow, or they had poor organization skills leaving big holes in the code base.

    Will be downloading your kit now, hopefully it will help me get a better designer this time,

    Uttoran Sen,

    1. Hi Uttoran,

      It was a wild experience in web design and development. I learned a lot about myself needless to say, lol…

      That can be a challenging CMS to find help with since it’s not as popular of a system. So, I get it. However, a really good developer doesn’t really care about what the system is because code is code and logic is logic.

      The key is do they have the skills, knowledge and experience to help you. I get it; it’s a challenge to find the right one who can work with you and is willing to do new things and even experiment a little.

      Great comment Uttoran!

      Thanks for downloading the kit and I hope it helps you tremendously.

      Have an awesome end to your week!

      ~ Don

  5. Hey Don,

    Hiring a web designer should be a proactive process. Indeed, there are things to consider before choosing any of these “professionals”.

    To hire a web designer, one must look at what the professional is bringing to the table.

    For me, I always consider experience and good testimonials as major factors when working with any of these professionals.

    I have downloaded the “The Web Designer Interview Process Kit.” Its sure an awesome guide for any seeking to hire the best and avoid disaster.
    I left the above comment in as well

    1. Hi Sunday,

      I agree, it ought to be a proactive process but it’s hard to do when you’re a business owner is dependent upon someone to help them but he or she does not know the process or the qualifications.

      Testimonials are good and helpful; but that doesn’t make someone necessarily a good fit for your business. I think you probably agree with me.

      Thanks for downloading the kit. I hope you find it helpful.

      Have a great end to your week Sunday.

      ~ Don

  6. Hi Don,

    Great tips here.
    Actually, even though this is for web designers it can apply for just any business you want to hire.

    When hiring someone, even your own doctor or dentist, personality is very important. For example, me, I don’t like to deal with mute people LOL. I mean people who seem to be short in words, or who have a hard time to express themselves easily. That goes for anyone I hire.

    The same goes for getting clients too, actually. I do not like to deal with people who don’t seem to be able to speak out.

    I find it interesting that you attracted the same type of clients each time, but I’m not surprised though. The law of attraction teacher that I am knows that we always attract the same type of things 🙂

    Here’s my 2 cents.

    Great post. Will share.

    1. Hi Sylviane,

      What a crazy month August is going to be!!!! I see on FB you’re headed to France from England soon. Looks like you’re having a TON of fun.

      While it can apply to business owners in general, there are some things I share in this article that are explicit to production based businesses like web designers, graphic designers, etc…

      That attraction thing is powerful! But, it’s even more powerful when we understand who we are and what passions we have developed; that’s what people identify with.

      Thanks so much for your 2 cents; it’s always welcome here Sylviane!!!!

      Have a great end to your week.

      ~ Don

  7. Thanks for sharing such awesome real world tips Don!

    It’s amazing how many times you see so much of what you’re
    pointing out, in terms of looking for a compatible expert for your
    particular business needs!

    And far too often, the average business owner (going in) may not know
    and truly understand what they need just yet.

    In which case, it may open the door to being sold more so than serviced! Yours is an
    excellent service (client based) approach!

    And will no doubt do far more to attract your ideal customers and clients,
    than simple advertising alone!

    I really love the title of this particular post BTW! I recently saw another you did,
    that I’ve got to study as well! Great job as usual don!

    You’ve offered much food for thought!

    1. Hi Mark,

      Excellent point! If you don’t know what you need how do know who to talk to? More importantly, how do you talk to someone about something you have absolutely no expertise in and yet need their help? How do you evaluate them to determine if they are a good fit for you?

      Thanks so much for noticing the title and for sharing that with me. That’s really encouraging and helpful information.

      I hope you’ll be by to check out the next article in the series next week.

      Have a great week Mark!!!!

      ~ Don

  8. Hi Don,

    All you have said above is so true when looking for a perfect match for a web designer. I was blessed by knowing mine through a blogging group I was in. He had good listening abilities because I wanted to have a plain looking blog.
    He suggested some things, that made sense to me like plugins…not too many of course, and everything went smoothly. He even hosts my blog and again another blessing because when something goes haywire, he texts me to tell me about it. Then he fixes it.
    The customer support is wonderful and that I may add is one of the main questions I would ask if I were hiring a blog designer. My last one designed my blog and then I couldn’t find him – very frustrating!


    1. Hi Donna,

      You are very blessed and very fortunate. I’ve known and worked with business owners that had as many as 4 web designers in a year that they spent money on and got nothing for it. These were very successful business people but the problem was they didn’t know what to look for in a web designer or how to hire one.

      Sounds like you have a real winner!!!!!

      I hope you have an awesome week and thank you so much for reading, commenting and sharing.

      ~ Don

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge