In 2016, there were 162,900 web designer positions being filled in the United States. By 2026, that number is expected to rise by 15 percent.
That’s good news for small businesses looking to add some design talent to their team to increase customers. It’s likely that as a small, growing business you probably don’t have a lot of dedicated web design and development help, so learning that the market is a growing one is good news. That means that filling your new web designer position will be easy as pie — with updated websites in your future.
Not to crash your hopes and dreams, however, but finding the web design talent that’s right for you might be more difficult than you might think. Finding good talent in any industry is a process that takes time and resources, but with web designers becoming more specialized and more positions opening in the market, designers get to be a little more picky with whom they decide to work for.
Finding great web designers can be challenging, but it's not impossible.
Design is vital to business success. If your website isn’t up to par — if it’s outdated, chaotic confusing or poorly designs, 40 percent of users say they will stop engaging. As a growing business, that’s 40 percent of your audience and 40 percent of your profits you can’t afford to lose.
So hiring a designer? Definitely an important task to add to your to-do list if you haven’t already.
Hiring a website designer gives businesses the opportunity to improve website traffic, conversions and brand awareness. But navigating the waters of finding and hiring good design help can be a challenge. It might be hard to find the person that’s right for your business.
Whether you're looking for help with a new website design, or you're looking to improve web and mobile design elements, finding a great designer could be the thing that sets you apart from the rest and gives you a competitive edge.
With the web design market growing at such rapid speeds, there’s more and more talent to choose from. But that can also mean that there’s more and more talent that you have to be wary of. A host of great designers out there ready to take on whatever project you have to throw at them. Follow these easy and insightful tips to find the person for you.
How To Find Great Small Business Web Designers In Seven Helpful Steps
1. Be the customer a web designer wants to work for
Before you start worrying about what qualities you want in a web designer, you have to first make sure you have the qualities of a good customer or brand. The design market is growing, and designers now have more opportunity than ever before.
In the market today, there are more than 732 thousand designers across the United States — and these people are constantly inundated with job opportunities that they can scoop up at will.
They have the freedom and flexibility to pick and choose their employers based on pay, communication, workload, time commitment and so on. These potential employees don’t have the time to waste working with a brand that’ll make their lives harder than they already are.
This means that you, as a small business, need to be the best you can be in order to attract the talent that you want. You have to be clear about your projects and the expected responsibilities. You have to be open and honest and transparent at every step of the way. You need to be courteous and kind.
You might not have a long reputation that bigger organizations and corporations have. You might not have the history or the prestige. This can be a deterrent for designers looking to break out in the field, so you need to make it your mission to ensure that your prospects have full faith in you.
2. Know the job that needs to be done and find the talent that matches it
Before you can find the perfect candidate, you need to know the job that needs to be done. Maybe there's a problem that needs solving. Maybe there's a project that needs completing. Maybe there's a specific functionality that needs to be added or a landing page that needs to be created. Whatever the job, it's important that you understand it in its entirety.
This means that you need to have this project completely outlined and detailed. There needs to be a clear path to success and a role that a web designer can fill. You can't expect to start searching for talent without one.
Of course, you can't begin the job search without first understanding the role that needs filling. But when delving into the world of design, you need to be specific. You might not understand the ins and outs of web design, but at this point, you do understand and acknowledge that it’s vital for a growing business.
Maybe you want a website with higher conversion rates or increased traffic. Maybe you want a design that’s more interactive. Maybe you want to create a mobile website that’s more responsive. You might not know exactly how to get there, but as long as you know what you want the outcome to be, you're in the right place.
You can't expect to achieve your goals if you haven't outlined them in advance. And you also need to be able to fully communicate these needs throughout the process.
By having a detailed and comprehensive contractor role and responsibilities list at hand, you're not only making the search easier on yourself, but it ensures you are only getting the quality work that you need.
3. Open your network for new opportunities
Eighty-five percent of jobs are filled through networking.
That's a significant statistic for both employers and for employees. This means that more often than not, employers and employees look for prospective job opportunities first by looking at their pool of pre-existing contacts.
Networking is a powerful tool that shouldn't be ignored. It can open doors and lead to opportunities that you would have never thought possible. Don't hate on those cocktail hours or those weekend conferences. Here, you can really gain access to world-class talent that you might otherwise never have the opportunity of interacting with.
As an employer looking to hire an employee, it's important to be where these talented individuals are. You need to be attending events, looking at job boards and scouring online communities where these people frequent.
Whether you need web design work right now, or you need it down the road, it will only benefit you to keep these lines of communication open as early as they can be. Not only will this give you a more condensed list to choose from and reach out to, but it also helps to give you a better idea of the talent you're sourcing.
If you already know a few designers in the industry that do amazing work, you won't have as many hesitations or anxieties about them and their work ethic while doing work for you.
Keeping your network open is never a bad idea, and when it comes to searching for prospective help, networking puts you in direct contact with the prospects that could have the most benefit on your brand.
4. Take the time to find the best
Quality over quantity; slow and steady wins the race -- these are just a few of the idioms that ring true when it comes to finding the candidate that is perfect for your position.
On average, a job posting will receive about 250 resumes. That's a whole lot of paperwork to read through, past experiences to dissect, and candidates to potentially interview. No wonder it takes on average 42 days to fill a position.
Finding a good employee takes time. It takes a lot of digging, a lot of research and a lot of back and forth. You need to see if their job history and experience matches what you're looking for. You need to know that they understand the position and your company. You need to know that they are passionate and dedicated to completing this project as best they can.
That can sometimes take longer than you want it to. You might have a task that needs to be completed as soon as possible, but you might not be able to find that talent right away. It might take a number of interviews, false hopes and close calls.
You need specialized attention and talent. That doesn't necessarily grow on trees. You're going to have to go searching for it. You're going to have to test out candidates and push them to their limits in a sense to ensure that you know they can handle the project at hand.
If you’re a small business, you probably don’t have time to hold hands for too long. And especially if you’re not heavily knowledgeable about design, you don’t have the resources to help designers truly grow or learn. This means that they need to be able to think on their feet, learn quickly and already be experts at their job. That means that it's better to take the time to find the right person now so that you don't pay for it later.
5. Pay quickly and pay well
Money is important -- there's no denying that. That's why we work, to make money. Of course, there's the nope that we love what we do and are passionate about our work. But at the end of the day, we work so we can make money. We make money because we want to spend money.
It is very likely that money will be a major factor for your designer when deciding if they're interested in the position or your company. They want to know how much they will be making based on what they've made in the past or what others are making in similar industries.
Everyone wants to get paid. People want to know how much they're making and when they're going to get it. It's important that you're clear about this from the very beginning so that there is no question, confusion or worry.
In the U.S. in 2018, web designers on average made about $88,488. That’s a hefty amount, which of course depends on location, experience and education. But still, it’s important to know that the country's average is a high number. That means that it’s likely that you will have to dish out fair compensation in order to snag a designer and keep them.
Money is a huge stressor, so you don't want to trigger that stress in your prospective employee. These designers are experts, after all. This is what they eat, sleep and breathe. Pay them what they deserve.
6. Keep communication open, honest and clear
Surveys show that 97 percent of executives believe that a lack of alignment and collaboration within a team impacts the eventual results of their given task. This means that collaboration, communication and interaction between team members is vital to project success.
That’s why constant, consistent and transparent communication is vital when it comes to working with your designer — even if you don’t fully understand their process or techniques. You need to make sure that you are checking in and getting daily reports about the status of the project, where it's going and any problems that are being dealt with.
This will ensure that the project gets done on time, and done right. This will ensure that you get a say at every step of the project and you can get a deeper understanding of how the final product will look. Not only that, but you will help guide your designer in the direction you want the project to go.
This also works as a learning tool for you and your team. Communication can open the door for learning opportunities. By understanding how your designer solves the problem, you will be better equipped to solve similar problems going forward and can grow your team with this in mind.
It is also important that you communicate anything on your end that would affect your designer and their work. Maybe goals have shifted, maybe upper management wants certain aspects or functionalities added. Maybe you need the project done quicker or you need to extend it or add to it. Either way, you need to make sure that you are keeping your team in the loop at all times.
If this is a small team with a lot of design initiatives, your designer will be working on multiple projects at once. Constant and consistent communication can help keep accountability the main focus and drive success.
Hiccups happen and sometimes you might need to make changes or request edits. It's better to be upfront and honest. This is a two-way street, after all, and it's important that both parties feel like the other is being transparent and direct. That way, you have a better chance of a successful outcome and a future employee to work with.
7. Figure out if you want an in-house team or if you want to hire an agency
There are pros and cons to outsourcing your design work — there are pros an cons to outsourcing any work, really. But for design work, it might seem tempting and more cost effective to go with an agency that knows that ins and outs of the design business.
And yes, hiring a design agency can be more cost-effective in the long run. They can build your website, keep it maintained, and work solely on these projects with a team of experts that do this for a living. You won’t have to pay a salary or pay for benefits — you will usually only have to pay a monthly retainer.
An agency also gives you access to a specialized team that eats, sleeps and breathes design — from websites to apps and everything in between.
But hiring an agency also has its downsides.
For one, you aren’t kept in the loop as thoroughly as you otherwise could be with an in-house team. You also have to keep looking outward for this help and can never truly build from within. And while in the long run hiring an agency on a project-by-project basis might be cost-effective, in the long run, the steep prices agencies charge could do more harm than good.
Either way, it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide which avenue is right for you. This can help you decide where to look for design help that can take your business from good to great.
Where To Look When Hiring Small Business Web Designers
Looking for small business web designers can be difficult, but if you have the right resources you’re already ahead of the game. The below resources can help put you in touch with great agencies that have full, dedicated teams that can aid you with all of your design-related needs. If you’re looking for freelance or one-off designers, check out the many freelancing websites that exist on the internet today.
Below, you’ll find the best of the best when it comes to design work.
If you need a website that drives traffic, reaches out potential customers and leads to conversions, then you need the help of an agency that can help you understand the digital landscape. These digital agencies are a perfect place to start your search — whether you need the help of a dedicated team, or need some inspiration on how to kickstart your own digital campaign, this DesignRush resource is the perfect place to start.
If you’ve opted out of building your own in-house team and want to instead enlist the help of a dedicated design agency, this resource is perfect for you! At DesignRush, we only feature the best of the best when it comes to design talent, and have amassed an extensive list of website design agencies skilled in a number of different industries — and we’re still growing! These agencies are dedicated to their clients and passionate about their work. Check this list of agencies if you’re a client in need of dedicated website design help.
Maybe you’ve already got a working, effective website but you’ve realized that you need to have a fluid mobile experience to snag even more customers. That’s where these app development agencies come in. Find the team that can help create your exciting, responsive mobile app that will drive traffic and increase conversions.
Finding Great Designers For Your Small Business Is Easier Than You Think
Finding a good web designer can seem challenging -- finding a web designer at all can be a nightmare. But it doesn't have to throw a wrench into your overall strategy and planning.
First and foremost it's important to be a good brand and organization. You need a service, but just because the need is there doesn't mean designers are going to want to work for you. You need to establish that you're credible. You need to establish that there will be something to gain from working with you. You need to know what you're looking for and be ab
le to provide your designer with all that they need when they need it and in a timely manner — this includes technology and software.
You also always need to be networking and growing your connections. You don't want to end relationships on a bad note, and you don't want to limit your future possibilities. Do this by constantly growing your network. Network and learn and connect with others. Considering most positions are filled thanks to mutual relationships, it pays to build them early on.
It's also important to take the time to find the candidate that's right for you. The market is full of designers, meaning that you will likely be bombarded with an influx of resumes and cover letters to sift through. That doesn't mean that they are all the perfect match. Just like it's important to take the time to find a good employee, it's vital that you take the time to find the right contractor.
Once you do settle on a site designer, you need to reel them in and keep them there. You need to pay your web designer well. Web design is vital for business success, and web designers get paid good money for what they do. They know what they're doing and they deserved to be compensated as such. Don't cheap out now -- not when you have a valuable project or service that needs completing.
And throughout the partnership, it's important that you keep communication open, honest and transparent. You need to give and receive timely and effective updates. You need to talk about workload, due dates and contracts. You need to make sure your designer has everything they need to complete their job to the best of their abilities.
It’s also important you know what kind of design help you need — whether you want the support of an in-house team or the outside expertise of an agency. This will help guide you as to where to look for this talent.
If you follow these simple steps, you'll be well on your way to snagging your next web designer and crafting an online presence that sells.What is your best advice for finding a freelancer or contract employee? Share in the comments below.
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