According to the article “How to Hire a Website Designer And Not Get Burned” by contributor Brian Sutter on the Forbes website, whether you need to revamp your business’ website or make one for the first time, chances are that you and your peers don’t have time to teach yourselves how to build or design a website. Sutter states that, according to the WASP Barcode 2016 State of Small Business Report, 54 percent of small businesses outsource their website and graphic design needs.

Now that you know you need to hire a website designer, there are many other questions that arise. Sutter provides a guide to some key questions to ask yourself about what you want for your website and how that affects your plans to hire a website designer.

What do you want on your website?

Knowing how much work needs to be done will help you set a realistic budget and figure out which website designer to hire, Sutter says. Small businesses may only need to begin with a six-page website, for instance, comprising of these basic pages:

  • Homepage
  • About us
  • Services/Pricing
  • Testimonials
  • One landing page or events page
  • Contact us.

Or, it could be that you already have this basic website in place, but it’s outdated, not mobile-optimized or you want to add more to it. Whatever the case may be, Sutter says, make a list of what you want for your website. Ask your employees and peers what they think about your plans, and regardless if you have an existing site or not, you should really consider asking your customers for opinions. Based on all this feedback, make a list of the must-haves for your website. This list is ultimately what you want the designer to create.

Which websites inspire you?

Spend some time browsing other websites in your industry or sites that are similar to yours, Sutter says, and write down everything you like — from fonts to page designs. Make sure to note what you like specifically and copy down the link for reference.

By having concrete examples, Sutter adds, you will better help your designer get an idea of what you’re looking for. This in turn shaves time off the website creation, costing you less money and assuring that you’ll end up with a site that you truly like.

Related article: Drive-in profits with attractive websites

How much does a designer cost?

According to Sutter, the hourly rate for a website designer can vary from as little as $15 to over $100, but he claims that somewhere in the range of $40 to $75 is average.

A basic ballpark estimate that Sutter provides for the basic six-page website mentioned above comes to about $720. By using an estimate of $60 per hour for the designer, he estimates that it takes about two hours to make each page. Granted, he says, you could easily spend another $300 for the time it takes the designer to both coordinate with you and design the overall website.

For a redesign, Sutter estimates the cost coming to about $1680. This includes one and a half hours per page to revamp the (six) old pages, two hours for six new pages and a more expensive designer (perhaps one with more skills) billing at $80 per hour.

Remember that these are all rough estimates. However, if you don’t have that kind of money to invest in a website at this stage, getting a website for $400 or less is possible, but, Sutter warns, realize that you might get what you pay for.

Of course, if you do happen to have the time to invest in creating your own website, there are website builders such as Wix, Weebly and Yodle, Sutter explains.

How do you find the right website designer?

Sutter first suggests looking again at that list you made of the websites you like and contacting the business owner of each site, if possible, to find out who built it. You may find that some of the companies have a full-time employee that works of the site, but for now, it’s probably best to find a full-time, self-employed web designer who’s always available to help you.

In addition to contacting those on your list, contact business people in your network to see which designers they use, Sutter suggests. Hopefully, one name will pop up multiple times as you ask, but you should get at least a few names.

After getting the names of three to five designers, Sutter says, contact them and go over your list of what you want done and the notes about which sites you like. You need to find out four things:

  • If they’re available to do the work.
  • If their price is within your budget.
  • If they can provide one or two additional references.
  • If they can set up your website so that you have access to it to make minor edits once it’s finished.

Also, find out what their payment schedule is and how they handle deadlines and milestones throughout a project. Sutter says that you can expect to pay about a third of the price at the start, a third at some mid-point during the project and a third upon completion.

Hopefully, after you’ve done your research and made a decision, you’ll have found a designer who can help you promote your business for many years.

You can read the full article here.