Looking to get a website designed? Unless you’re developing a site that needs constant upkeep and reworking, then designing a website can be a one-off task. This means that if you want a professional to take it on, you’ll likely want to contract the design out, rather than hire a web designer full-time.

This guide can help explain a few of the best practices to help you track down the best web designer for you. It will also contrast a web design contractor’s typical prices against the costs of building a website yourself.

Hiring a Web Designer: What You Need to Know

The first step to realizing your dream website is to figure out which of three different paths you want to take: Contracting, hiring in-house, or doing it yourself. For the most part, the size of your website and your audience will determine which approach gives you the best value for money.

  • Contracting a web designer – This is likely the best approach if you need a high-quality, visually unique website that can handle regular updates, and which comes with support for simple app integrations.
  • Hiring an in-house designer – This is certainly the most expensive approach, but is justified if you’re running a huge business that includes some form of ongoing software services. An advanced ecommerce website or online database will require regular upkeep, and are common reasons to employ a full-time designer.
  • Building a site yourself – If your needs are more simple, don’t write off using a website building service to create your own site: It’s the cheapest option, and it’s easier than you might think. If you just need a serviceable website that isn’t out to call attention to itself, a do-it-yourself website will work fine.

If contracting is the path for you, you’ll need to be clear on your general goals for the website’s size and functionality when first meeting a contractor. Then, be ready to listen to what the website designer recommends will best meet your needs.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire a Web Designer?

Your price range is the biggest information to know when entering negotiations for a website design contract. You’ll want to figure out your preferred price and your upper ceiling before you do anything else.

The size of your business can help you determine what your website needs are, which will in turn determine what price range to expect. Here’s a table that breaks down how these ranges typically work.

Website Designer CostsWhat You’ll GetBest For
Up to $500A simple but professionally designed brochure-style site of a few pagesVery Small Businesses
$500-$1,000A small website with core pages and some basic app integrationsSmall Businesses
$1,000-$1,500A website with a proper content management system for ongoing updates, plus more advanced app integrationsSmall to Medium Businesses
$1,500-$3,000A website with more advanced ecommerce or customer order tracking functions, plus support featuresMedium to Large Businesses
Over $10,000A large-scale website with a focus on analyzing customer data for analytics, databases and advanced trackingLarge Businesses

For a more detailed breakdown of how these different general price tiers work in practice, you can turn to our guide to website designer costs.

It Can be Cheap and Easy to Build Your Own Site

Back in the day, websites could only be designed by coders and techies. Today, basic website design is available for all.

An entire cottage industry of website builders are available, with software condensing website creation into just a few steps. First, you’ll need to pick out a general website template. You can personalize your template using a simple drag-and-drop function. Finally, just purchase a domain, and make sure to keep the site updated.

We’ve Rated the Easiest Do-It-Yourself Website Builders

It can cost just a few dollars per month to design and publish your own website – with amazingly simple templates to follow. See our reviews fo the best website builders for more.

Costs for your website can start from just $8.50 per month. To help get you started, website builders have hundreds of professional-looking templates, which you’re then free to customize with your own images, text and logos.

If that sounds right to you, you’ll first need to locate the best website builder. Wix (click for our full review) is our top pick, and we’ve ranked a few others in our guide to creating your own website.

What To Confirm Before You Hire a Web Designer

Price might be the biggest concern when hiring web designers, but it’s not the only one. Here’s a quick list of parameters to keep in mind when beginning a contracted business relationship:

  • Scope of work – Ultimately, the purpose of your site determines everything else: Is your end goal to tell potential customers about your business, give them additional information, or sell them a product?
  • Size of site – The size of your audience and the goals of your website will determine the number of pages on the website, which defines the website designer’s workload.
  • Selling things – If your website needs an ecommerce component, it’ll influence everything from the layout to the shopping cart to the customer information the site needs to collect. Some designers might specialize in ecommerce while others won’t, so let them know which type of site you need upfront.
  • Storage needed – Don’t worry about working out a specific amount of storage space: If you know how much information you’ll need to host online and the level of functionality your site requires, your website designer will likely handle this detail.
  • Sign off stages – You don’t want to wait until the entire website is done before you can see how it measures up to your goals: Ask the designer at which stage they’ll be able to show you their work, and set up a timeline for how long each “draft” of the website might take.

In the end, discussing your website with a web designer should be like any business relationship: Communication and respect are key. As long as you know what your goal is going into the relationship, and as long as you can explain it to a designer, you’ll emerge satisfied with your brand new website.


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