I am a Web Designer from Sacramento, CA, but this guide is for anyone who lives anywhere inside the United States or out. The idea behind this article is to tell you why finding a local web designer rather than a web designer hundreds or even thousands of miles away is still a great choice. Hopefully, by the end of this article I will have convinced you that finding a web designer locally has many advantages over the alternatives.
In Sacramento, there are many web designers – both working in firms and freelancers. It is most likely the same in the area you live. Even still, with such a wide selection, many people still opt to find web designers overseas. The reason why is simple – cost! But these days, it doesn’t always have to be as expensive as you might imagine. When I first took the plunge as a freelance web designer, I set my prices remarkably low in order to get business rolling and put my name out there. My prices were a fraction of what most people were charging for comparable services. Even overseas web designers would have a tough time competing with my prices. To this day, I still feel like I have extremely competitive rates. What I am trying to illustrate here is that there certainly are deals to be found – you just have to look! Check the phonebook and call around. Check craigslist in the “services” section. Contact web designers and let them know what you want and what your budget looks like. Many of them would be more willing than you might think to work with you on the price. Try to mainly target freelancers. Freelance web designers are people who work for themselves rather than for a web design firm and, therefore, are usually capable of much lower prices due to the greatly reduced overhead that comes with running a traditional business with employees, an office, etc.
Even if you could save money by hiring a web designer overseas, you really have to ask yourself if it’s worth it. First of all, what about the communication barrier? Are you going to spend more time than you would like in order to insure that the web designer knows exactly what you are looking for? Are you willing to settle with something that maybe isn’t exactly what you want? Granted, this isn’t always an issue, but many people do run into this dilemma.
Being able to meet your web designer in person can make a huge difference. You can sit down with him/her and discuss face to face exactly what you are looking for. This can be the difference between getting exactly what you are looking for in a brief period of time, or getting something that you settled with after hours of back-and-forth dialog between you and an overseas web designer, frustrating email conversations, and unnecessary gray hairs.
In another article, I will go more in-depth in regards to what you need to know when finding a web designer – local or remote. For now, here is a brief overview:
– Negotiate prices. Regardless of what they advertise, most web designers (especially freelancers) are willing to negotiate to reasonable terms.
– Get quotes from multiple web designers. I recommend at least 3-5. However, you should also take into account the quality you would most likely receive from each one – which brings us to my next item…
– Check their references. Your prospective web designers should have a portfolio of work from previous clients. Use their past work to estimate the quality of the work you will receive while gaging the web designer’s skill level. Is their skill level as high as their prices in comparison to the other web designers you talked to? If not, maybe you should scratch that one from your list.
– Decide on a cost for the completed web design project, not an hourly rate. Having a set price for the completed project means you know exactly how much you will pay at the end and removes the risk of paying someone to slack off.
– Decide on a firm date in which your web designer should have your site completed. If you skip this step, you risk having your web designer put your project on low priority as newer and maybe more lucrative projects come his way.
– Ask about “Web Standards” and SEO (search engine optimization). In a nutshell, having a web site that follows Web Standards means you will have a web site that is efficient and highly accessible while performing SEO means people will be able to find your site through search engines (see my web site for more information on this important topic).
Now you’re reading to hire a web designer for your site. If you read everything up until this point, consider yourself educated and prepared. I wish you the best of luck in your web design adventure, and just remember to have fun with it!
– Tony Thiara