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Do I Need a Web Designer or a Web Developer?Before you start searching for freelancers, take a moment to make sure you’re hiring the right person. It’s easy to assume that a web designer can provide everything you need to establish an online presence for your business. In reality, a web developer may be a better fit for your needs – or your website may require a team effort between a designer and a developer. Make sure you understand the differences between the two:
- A web designer is a creative specialist who’s responsible for a website’s layout and usability. Web designers also have technical expertise and can focus on user interface (UI), user experience (UX), or a bit of both.
- A web developer is a technical expert who’s responsible for a website’s architecture and structure. Web developers can specialize in front-end elements that users interact with or back-end elements that make the site work correctly.
What Should I Look For in a Web Designer?The best web designers are professionals with the right mix of technical and creative abilities. I recommend looking for a freelancer who has mastered these skills:
- Design Principles: Any web designer you hire should understand the basics of design and have a good grasp of color theory, typography, and composition.
- Design Software: Web designers should be fluent in industry-standard software such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and WordPress, as well as programs like Sketch, Invision, and FlowMapp.
- Programming Languages: Web designers may not be expert programmers, but they do need to know HTML for scripting and CSS for styling.
- UI Best Practices: Freelance designers should know how to create a responsive site that looks appealing with the help of software like Sketch and InVision.
- UX Best Practices: Designers should also be able to make a website easy to use with the help of software like FlowMapp and Optimal Workshop.
6 Best Places to Find a Web DesignerWhether you want to hire a web designer for a one-off project or contract a freelancer on an ongoing basis, there are plenty of places to search. Get a glimpse of the top freelance marketplaces I’ve tried and see where to find a website designer.
1. Fiverr – Best for Businesses on a Budget With Gigs Starting at $5Fiverr is a gig-based marketplace that lets business owners hire freelancers for individual projects. Freelancers post the services they offer, and employers can purchase them quickly and easily. Pricing starts at $5, making this marketplace the ideal place to get started on a smaller budget. Although Fiverr has over 100 freelance categories ranging from web design to data processing, the marketplace makes it easy to vet sellers. You can use the powerful search engine to filter results by budget, seller status, delivery time, and more. You can also browse portfolios and read customer reviews before booking a gig.
- Subscription Options: If you have an ongoing project or need a service regularly, you can use Fiverr’s subscription option – read our Fiverr review to learn more. Opting for this route saves money and ensures consistent work.
- Custom Offers: If you can’t find the perfect gig, you can ask freelancers to send custom offers with extra deliverables or shorter timelines. Many also have add-ons so you can easily get work finished faster.
- Fiverr Business: Companies and agencies can use Fiverr Business to access vetted freelancers, collaborate with teammates, and streamline workflows.
2. Upwork – Good Option for Longer-Term Hiring NeedsUpwork lets employers hire freelancers by posting a job or buying a project. The Talent Marketplace lets you create a job description, review applications, and hire the right person. Alternatively, you can browse the Project Catalog to find and purchase web design gigs that meet your needs. Although Upwork has plenty of one-time projects, the marketplace also supports longer-term hiring needs – one of the things we discuss in more detail in our UpWork review. For example, you can have open-ended contracts that let you assign work to freelance web designers over a period of weeks or months.
- Interview Portals: If you want to go beyond text-based chatting, Upwork lets you interview potential freelancers via video, or you can call your hires to discuss projects.
- Pricing Options: When you hire freelancers through Upwork, you can create fixed-price or hourly contracts to manage your budget effectively.
- Talent Scout: If you don’t have time to post jobs or search for freelancers, you can use Upwork’s Talent Scout service for more efficient recruiting.
3. 99designs – Ideal for Brands With Bigger Design Budgets99Designs is a creative marketplace with freelancers offering everything from logos to web design. To use this platform, you can either hire a specific designer directly or ask web designers for submissions. Unlike more budget-friendly marketplaces, 99Designs tends to have much higher starting prices. Webpage design contests start at $599, and hiring a web designer starts at $629. However, this marketplace offers perks like creator vetting, source files, and full copyright ownership – which may be worthwhile for some businesses.
- Design Contests: Run contests to receive a dozen or more designs and then select the one you like best. Platinum-level contests allow top-level designers only, giving you some quality control.
- Stock Images: 99Designs has a partnership with Adobe Stock, making it easy to source stock images for your projects. Be prepared to pay for them, however, as stock images may add to the cost of your designs.
- 99Designs Pro: Businesses and agencies can use Pro options like Select to access a dedicated group of designers or Studio, which serves as a remote creative studio. Read our 99Designs review to learn more.
4. DesignCrowd – Great for Crowdsourcing Submissions via ContestsDesignCrowd is a contest-based marketplace that lets you post a brief, review submissions, and accept the result you like best. Contest pricing is based on the number of submissions you want to consider, so paying more means you’ll get a wider range of results. Read our DesignCrowd review to learn more. If you want to hand-pick web designers or search for available gigs, you’re out of luck with DesignCrowd. You also need to budget a little more time and money than many other platforms. Contest pricing starts at $99, and the fastest deadline is three days.
- Feedback Process: If the contest submissions you receive aren’t quite perfect, you can request changes. This increases the chance that you’ll get a workable result.
- Money-Back Guarantee: If you don’t like any of the contest results, you don’t have to accept them. You can get your money back, which lowers any risk from using the platform.
- Design Outsourcing: Agencies and businesses with large-scale needs can use DesignCrowd’s outsourcing option to white-label designs and get results quickly.
5. Guru – Good for Finding Freelancers Based on ExperienceGuru is a freelance marketplace that supports both job listings and direct hires. You can post a brief that outlines the web design project you need and then wait for freelancers to place a bid. Alternatively, you can search for freelancers and request quotes. However, sticking to a strict budget may be difficult with Guru. The marketplace doesn’t let you search by price, and gigs don’t have set costs. Instead, you have to request a quote before hiring a web designer – we tried out the process in our Guru review.
- Flexible Pricing: Guru lets you pay by an hourly rate, a fixed price, per task, or recurring payment. The wide range of options may make this platform viable for more businesses.
- SafePay: Guru uses a payment protection feature that holds funds securely. Employers place funds in SafePay at the beginning of an agreement, and freelancers can request funds from SafePay as per the payment agreement.
- Guru Enterprise: If you have more advanced requirements, Guru’s tailor-made solution reduces fees and helps you work more efficiently with freelancers.
6. Freelancer.com – Great for Getting Applicants via Listings or ContestsFreelancer.com is an online marketplace where business owners can list jobs or run contests. After reviewing the bids or submissions, you can award the project to your freelancer of choice and start work immediately – find out the finer details in our Freelancer.com review. In addition to one-time gigs, Freelancer.com also supports multi-stage projects like a series of websites. You can also purchase gigs or hire web designers directly, but the options are extremely limited.
- Milestone Payments: Freelancer.com uses Milestone Payments to keep funds secure while your freelancer works. You can release payments when you’re completely happy with the work.
- Project Management: If you need a hand running your project, you can hire a Technical Co-Pilot via Freelancer.com. You also get access to hand-selected web designers to streamline your recruitment process.
- Freelancer Enterprise: When you need a team of freelancers at your disposal, the platform’s Enterprise option gives you access to a virtual studio with no additional subscription fees.
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