Tips On Choosing The Right Freelance Web Designer
So you have decided that you want to go down the freelance web designer route, not a bad choice at all (though I would say that of course).
So why would anyone want to choose a freelancer anyway?
Here are a few reasons that you may have in your mind or not be aware of that I will explain before I get to the ‘how to choose a freelance web designer’ advice section.
Freelancers often have a more favourable (fee) quote for the same work as an agency.
This however is not to be confused with freelancers being cheap or less quality, far from it, quality freelancers are the brave souls that go it alone, believe in better, work to standards they set, and have an open house to work they have done (portfolio) so you can be sure exactly who you are dealing with.
Almost 50% of my client base has taken the time to tell me categorically that they have found working with me a relief after using small agencies who made their life difficult and where in the end they never really got the website they were after.
Maybe it would help at this stage to look at a previous article that explains how much web design costs, this may help you realise that the freelance web designer path can have huge advantages for small to medium sized companies, (and of course larger companies).
Web Design Directory – A list of website designers in London.
Quality and speed
I like many other professional freelancer only take on what I can manage, I have learned my optimum amount and do not vary from that. e.g if I advertise and know my lead time is 2-4 weeks and I know I have loads of work on I will pause any campaign if I can to allow me to not waste money and also to simply get my work out of the way before I turn on any additional advertising.
Though as my SEO for this site grows I rely less and less on advertising per se.
My point however is that when you work with me and any quality freelancer, you will get rapid turn around for questions and work scheduled, this is such a huge relief for any client who likes to get on with a project and not mess about with delays and excuses why this and that is not done at set times.
Tips on choosing a freelance website designer?
Personal website design/quality/feel
Highly subjective and not easy to understand if the site is built on quality foundations.
But a layman can get a good feel over the style and quality that they produce by looking at their own website, but please be aware that many designers use templates and that on occasions very little actual design has gone into their branding.
Simplicity can hide, lack of imagination, though equally can be the sign of a rel talent dependent on your own desires and design aesthetics required.
For instance I use a template for this website, but I push the design and options that the template offers and customise fonts, colours, layouts, and content structure with advanced third party plugins and functionality, all in all what you see is not going to be found elsewhere, granted my design is not going to be to everyone’s taste (you can never pleas everyone all of the time) but I have made an effort to be easy to read, informative, pleasing on the eye etc, without going over the top.
I am a functional kind of guy at heart.
Beware the Prima Donna!
What you need to be aware of with a freelance web designer is that they have chosen to work by themselves, now this can be because they are simply better suited that way, or it can mean they are a nightmare to work with.
Designers are people who often work on their instinct and emotions. Now it is not always a bad thing to get a Prima Donna as a web designer, they can be the benevolent quirky type and work hard on your design giving you things you never expected, while admittedly not listening to what you asked for, but then there are those that you simply can not work with who always know best and will make your life more difficult to get what you require.
Not a great deal you can do to work this one out, but maybe asking to speak to past clients would be a good option and start.
Take a look at the portfolio or case studies of past clients and try to gauge what work has been done on the clients behalf, some designs do very little and manage to get away with putting a huge website as ‘their’ work when in reality they did a little bit of design for the menu.
Make sure you learn about the past work and decide whether they are up to complex/quality jobs and have an eye for design as well as promotion, I like to offer a holistic approach to marketing so can cover your back in many areas.
Get what you pay for
One of my favourite sayings is ‘I am no rich enough to buy cheap’, essentially saying is you go for the budget route you get poor quality, hassle and end up paying more to sort things out, false economy, the same is invariably true for website design.
Companies/freelancers offering £199 websites will likely (companies more than freelancers I admit) get you on other areas (look up the bait and switch) and you will also invariably end up with a very poor quality web design and general site, poor communication, lack of professionalism, with no on page SEO, blog, advice, or options that are not sold as an ‘up-sell’ once they have you with the cheap priced very basic website, steer clear for your own sanity please.
You and your business are worth more than this surely.
I hope this article has given you all some food for thought, it is not easy procuring a new website and I know as I have done it with large budgets (£25k+) twice, so I know what you are facing.
Though I can safely say that if you have not budgeted for the kind of pricing structure that I offer, then you are going to be very very lucky to receive the kind of quality that I provide.