How to Hire the Right Web Designer the First Time

It’s a story that’s heard across the globe all too often: My website is terrible and I have no traffic.

Far too often, business owners buy a budget site and find themselves losing thousands on redesigns every couple of years. As a business owner, it’s often difficult to convince yourself that spending $5,000-10,000 grand on a website will be worth it. That’s because it’s hard to envision the ROI on the investment of a website up front. Even more so when you don’t know the first thing about web design. But building a website for your business is less about the ROI on your investment, and more about the potential to create ROI with your business online.

Before you even think about creating those ROI channels, you need to hire a company for web design that understands how to be a website that will grow with you- not against you. Here’s how.

Know What You Need Before You Start Interviewing Web Design Companies

To a degree, it will always be difficult to know exactly what you need the first time around. After all, it’s unlikely that you speak the ‘lingo’. However, you can figure out what you need your website to do for your business- regardless of the skills you have. Sit down with your marketing manager, sales manager, and anyone else that spends a lot of time dealing with the bottom line.  Make a list of everything you want your website to do. Common features include:

  • Responsive web design
  • A mobile app that accompanies their eCommerce store
  • The ability to create user accounts
  • The ability to accept credit cards
  • The ability to display inventory

Those few ideas should get you started and help you protect yourself as you interview different companies. All too often business owners either walk away with less than they need or a lot of what they don’t. Having a list prepared beforehand helps you stay on track while working with your web design company.

Make Sure They Have Credentials- And a Portfolio

It’s not enough to say you know web design. Heck, it’s not enough to have a company that sells web design. You need to see real-life examples of that web design in action. Make sure the companies you interview have a portfolio that showcases their work. If possible, ask for live link URLs so that you can confirm these websites are still in operation.

Typically, the best web design companies have no problem showing a wide array of portfolio options and certifications. If the companies you are talking to seem nervous to, it’s a good indication that you should continue your search for a web design company.

Make Sure the Contract Does Not Compromise Your Assets

Yet another common issue business owners have had with their web designers in the confusion of assets. Some web designers will insist that everything they do for you is kept under their company’s umbrella- which is fine as long as they aren’t trapping you there.

For example, many companies will charge fees for leaving them and worse- try to hold onto your domain when you try to leave. To avoid this entirely, make sure that your contract doesn’t compromise your assets. Read the fine print and make sure that everything they do for you- is still under your complete ownership (this includes creative license as well).


More often than not, a bad website will hurt your business more in the long run than not having one at all. Especially when it comes to the competitive market of Google’s search results. Which means if you’re serious about your website becoming an asset to your business, you need to make sure that you hire the right web designer the first time.

Unsurprisingly, what makes the best web design companies the best is not the creativity they put behind your website- but the relationship and data shared between you two. With the right contract and working relationship, your website will flourish because it is truly built for growth. Web designers that feel the need to hide fees, contract clauses or anything in between will ultimately leave you in a place that is stagnant.

What did your web designer say that convinced you to hire their company? How did you make your purchase decision? Share your story (and niche) in the comments to help other business owners like you make their decision.

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