Determine your needs and budget upfront.

Prepare a written outline of what your business or project requires; be as specific as possible and seek the input and advice from not only company members, but customers too. Consider if you need to update your website in-house or if you would prefer to out source it to the web developer. The Web Masters offer simple to use content managment systems so you can easily update your on website as often as you need, or if you prefer we have low-cost updateting and maintenance programs avialble.

Shop around get at least 5 quotes.

Web development prices vary greatly. Larger popular Ad Agencies can cost more than 10 times the rate in contrast to small web development companies or freelancers, namely becuase larger agencies have larger overhead costs that they have to cover. For this reason you should make sure your web development budget is dedicated entirely to your sites development and not being allocated for an agencies support staff, commisioned sales agents or company overhead costs. Moreover, you should also consider web hosting costs upfront; a reliable web hosting account should not cost more the $5 per month for the majority of websites. Review The Web Masters Price Tables for our general fee overview.

Interview at least 3 developers prior to making a final decision.

Once you have made a final decision and selected your web developer estblish a time line with specific deadlines for the projects various phases, if the developer requires content from you, photogrpahers, videographers or any other proefsionals or from resources within your company make sure those specifics are outlined on the web developments Contracts timeline and hold the designer accoutable to thier deliverable dates.

Additional Steps In Detail

Location, Location, Location

The next step to hiring a web designer is finding the web designer. You may decide that the physical location of your web designer does not matter. Virtual business relationships can be just as powerful as teams that work face to face.

Word-of-mouth and recommendations from friends, business partners or organizations can also generate solid leads to great web designers. As a rule of thumb, select designers who have their own web site and online portfolios--contacting web designers or web design companies that do not have their own sites wastes valuable time.

Narrowing Down Your List

After you make an initial list of designers, whittle it down to about three candidates. You can do this by process of elimination. Weigh the following characteristics of each designer against the others:

  • When you look at each portfolio, which designers have created sites that are fast-loading, graphically appealing, easy to use and look professional?
  • Are the sites in the portfolios easy to comprehend? Use the "three second rule"--if you can't determine the web site's purpose in about in three seconds or less, move on.
  • Does the designer offer all or most of the services you are interested in obtaining, like Yahoo! Store building, flash animation, etc.?
  • Experience matters. Look for information about awards, training and how long the firm has been in the web design industry. If this is not listed on the site, make sure you ask about experience during your first phone call.

Now that it's time to call each candidate, get right to talking about your project. This is where all of your preliminary research will give the web designer a better idea of what you are looking for, and if he or she will be able to help you.

Once you have discussed your project, turn the conversation toward the designer. Much like an interview, focus on the firm's skills, services and what it can do for your company. Ask the following questions and take notes and ask questions such as:

  • 1) What type of HTML editing software do you use, and can you hand-code?, can you develop websites with mobile targeted code such as jQuery and HTML 5, can you develop server-side scripts ?
  • 2) Are the websites you develop full broser comptable across all platfroms and mobile devices?
  • 3) Do you bid per project, or do you have an hourly rate?
  • 4) Do you have any references?
  • 5) What is your availability?

If you like what you hear, request to have a sample contract, business reference(s) and a rough estimate for the cost of the web site emailed to you. Each designer may need to contact you for more information about your project to provide an estimate, so keep yourself available for phone calls or emails.



Creating an effective online presence, choosing color palettes and developing layouts aren't the strong suits of most small business owners. Finding a skilled efficient web designer that is right for your business can be tricky.

Remember, this is an important step in the growth of your business. Just as you would not rush out and make rash purchases for your office, don't rush yourself into making a snap decision about hiring a web designer. Be methodical when making your decision--it will save you time and money in the long run.

Where Do You Begin?

First, start by assembling ideas about your new web site. Ask yourself what your short- and long-term goals are. If you already have a site and it needs an updated look, think about what's not working and why. Jot down your thoughts. Then, spend some time looking at web sites both inside and outside your industry. Note their colors, layouts, imagery and messaging, and put together a short list of URLs with your notes about why you do or do not like the sites.

Next, consider the following questions:

  • Will your site have any special programming requirements?
  • Do you have a budget in mind?
  • Do have a projected due date for the site to be completed?
  • Do you have a rough idea of how many pages you'll need?

These questions are meant to jump start your mind and get you thinking about your web site. Don't be surprised if the questions trigger even more thoughts and ideas--write them all down! You'll need the information you've gathered to help you communicate more effectively about the project with your web design candidates.

Recapping, Reviewing and Your Gut Reaction

After you receive the information from the designers, begin recapping the conversations you had with each, reviewing the bids and sample contracts. As you review the estimates, keep in mind that they are just rough calculations. Of course, if you receive a bid that goes way beyond your budget range, cut the designer from your list. Spending more does not always mean getting more.

Make sure that the sample contract clearly states your ownership of the site and working files upon site completion and payment in full. If you have a contract that does not clearly spell this out, request a new one or find a new designer. You are purchasing web design services and the web site.

Lastly, what is your gut feeling about each designer? Who did you find engaging and easy to understand? Which designer took the time to get to know you and your project? Which explained their services clearly and went into detail about what they could do for your company? If you feel like you could not communicate well with the designer or the designer did not communicate well with you, he or she shouldn't be on your team. Choose the designer who not only has the graphical and technical capabilities that appeal to you, but the one that feels right, too.



How Your Budget Is Allocated

Discovery (20%)

Design (30%)

Development (30%)

Delivery (20%)