How To Find The Right Freelancers To Build Your Website

If you have a startup or small business that needs a website, you have a few options for how to get it built.

One of best ways for small business owners to find the talent they need (without breaking the bank) is to work with freelancers – either a single person or a small team to help drive the project to completion.

But it can be tricky if you’ve never worked with freelancers before.

Where do you start?

This article will help you determine what kind of freelancers you need to hire and how to work best with them to get great results.

Start with what you know

Before you engage a freelancer (or team of freelancers) to build a website, you need to define what it is you need – and how much you can spend.

Consider what functionality you need on your website, and what would be nice to have. Decide what’s most appropriate for the scale and budget of your project.

Depending on your budget and the scope of the website, you’ll either be looking to hire a single person or assembling a team of freelancers to tackle individual parts of the project. There’s no fine line that determines which option is right for you, but there are a few things to consider when it comes to each option.

One-person team

An all-in-one person who can plan, design, and code your site is usually cheaper than hiring a specialized team. But that doesn’t make it a better option for every website.

If you’re working with a single person, it is incredibly important to consider their communication skills and client experience. You’ll be relying on this person to handle all of the tasks related to creating a website, so you need to be able to trust them to communicate clearly with you about the project and keep it moving forward.

You’ll also want to carefully analyze their portfolio and make sure that you like every aspect of the websites they have previously built. Remember that they’ll be doing every piece of the project, so you site is likely to turn out similar to the ones they have built in the past.

Some important questions to ask before hiring a one-person team:

  • Confirm they actually did both the design and development for their sites that you like most.
  • Ask if this person plans sites with wireframes and if that’s included in their bid. A wireframe is like a simple black and white blueprint of your pages, the sections the content and the navigation. It’s easier to review and change things with wireframes than it is with full color designs.
  • If your website requires specific functionality and not just content and a nice design, ensure the person can write “back-end” code.
  • Ask them what “stack” they plan to use. This means the front-end language, back-end language, and database. Look for these languages in their skill-set: Javascript, Ruby on Rails, PHP, React, Node.JS.
  • Ask what platform they want to use for your content management system that allows you to edit your site yourself. Possibilities include WordPress, Drupal, custom-built solutions, and others.
  • Ask them what add-ons or plugins they like to use, or want to use on your site.
  • Ask if they are going to start with a template, and be active in helping choose which template.
  • Make sure they will code your site in a “Mobile Responsive” manner, meaning it adjusts nicely for all screen sizes.
  • Ask for a flat bid and make sure everything you want is included.

You can find these types of freelancers in the “Website Creators – Design & Code” section of LocalSolo.

Multi-person team

If you have a bigger budget, you may want to assemble a freelance team to build your site. If you do this right, it’s always cheaper than hiring an agency but can give you a stronger overall set of skills than hiring a single person to do everything

The most common freelance web team consists of two roles:

  1. Web designer
  2. Full-stack developer

When looking for a web designer:

  • Look for people with experience at agencies designing for name-brand clients. This means you’ll get the best design work done. Though these designers are usually more expensive, it’s also usually worth it.
  • Make sure they specialize in web design and not print design or branding and identity work. They aren’t the same and the skills are not always transferrable.
  • Look for designers who have skills and experience in UX and UI. This means “User-Experience” and “User Interface Design,” meaning they have experience creating usable designs and not just things that look pretty.
  • Again, ask if this person plans sites with wireframes (see description above) and if that’s included in their bid.

You can find these types of designers in both the “Design/Creatives” and “User Experience/IA” section of LocalSolo. (IA stands for “Information Architecture”)

When looking for a full-stack developer:

  • Look for someone who specializes in web technologies. Languages/frameworks you’ll want to find in their skill-set: HTML, CSS, Javascript, Ruby on Rails, PHP, React, Node.JS.
  • Look for someone called a “full-stack” developer, which means they can work with front-end frameworks, back-end languages, and any database configurations you may need.
  • Ask them what “stack” (technology set) they plan to use and why they like that stack.
  • Ask what CMS (content management system) they plan to use (WordPress, Drupal, custom-built, etc). Ask why they like to use that particular CMS.
  • Don’t hire a mobile app developer to code your website. You need a web developer, not someone who makes phone apps.
  • Make sure they will code your site in a “Mobile Responsive” manner, meaning it adjusts nicely for all screen sizes.

You can find these web developers in the “Developer/Engineers” section of LocalSolo.

Additional roles to consider adding to your team

Although a web designer and a developer can hypothetically provide you everything you need, there are some other roles that might make the job easier or help the project run more smoothly. Depending on your skills, time, experience, budget, and the scope of your website, you should consider including one or all of these additional freelancers to the team.

Digital Project Manager

Are you good at project management? Do you have time to manage the freelancer(s) and make sure everything gets done how and when it should?

If you’re not, you may want to hire someone called a “digital project manager.”

Hire this person first, as they are very experienced in putting together teams. They will act as a liaison between you and the rest of the team, translating your needs and wants into language that both you and your freelancers can easily understand. They’ll be able to help advise you on how to get the best results from the project, and then make sure it happens!

Their role includes:

  • Serving as your advocate when dealing with the other freelancers
  • Assembling a team (if needed)
  • Creating a proper scope and spec for the project
  • Keeping the project running on time and budget
  • Providing project updates and communication between team members and yourself
  • Keeping the team focused and on-task

You can find these people in the “Project Manager/Producer” section of LocalSolo.

Copywriter

Are you good at writing? If you’re not, you may want to hire a copywriter to write all the copy (written words) on the site and help you compile all the content if there are many images and other files needed.

Designers and developers don’t usually write great copy, so don’t expect them to do it.

  • Look for someone with experience writing copy for the web.
  • This many not be that expensive if your site is small, but it is worth it.
  • They often contribute to the overall project with great insight about how to communicate effectively with your target customer.

You can find these people in the “Copywriter/Content” section of LocalSolo.

Online Marketers

Once your site is built, how do you ensure people find it? This is called online marketing and you can hire people to help with this as well.

This can come in many forms:

SEO Specialist – This person will help make sure that your business website is easily found by search engines and appears near the top of the results for searches that are relevant to your company.
Social Media Manager – This person not only helps market your site, but also all your social media channels like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin. They will likely suggest your site should also have a blog that stays current with valuable articles for your users, and a newsletter that goes out to your subscribers.
Digital/Online Marketing Strategist or Consultant – This person can work as sort of a project manager or coordinator for your marketing efforts, creating a plan and budget for your marketing needs. This effort will require a marketing budget for them to work with, not just their fees.

You can find these people in the “Marketing / Social / SEO” section of LocalSolo.

How to make your project go well

Beyond just hiring the right people, there are a number of other steps you can take to ensure that your project goes off without a hitch.

  • Use local freelancers if you can! Meet them for coffee before you decide on hiring them. It’s always a better experience working with local freelancers and you are also less likely to get into disagreements with them as you live in the same city. Reputation is important to freelancers, especially within a local area. LocalSolo is a perfect platform to assemble your local freelance team!
  • Always sign a written contract with each freelancer. There are many great ones online that you can ask the freelancers to use if they don’t have one prepared. It’s up to the freelancer to write the contract, not you.
  • Ask the freelancer for a flat-price bid for their work. Ensure everything you need is included in the price and written into the contract.
  • Always ensure you own the final files and source code for your project. This should be in the contract.
  • Ask the freelancers to detail how changes and revisions will be handled and make sure that process is clearly spelled out in the contract.
  • Pay only a portion of the fees up front. Always hold back final payment until you have approved the final product and received everything you’ve asked for.
  • Ask the freelancer if they tend to nickle and dime for every little thing, or if they only charge extra for big things that are obviously out of scope. Don’t hire nickle and dimers as your final cost will likely end up much higher than you expect.
  • Ask the freelancer what extra costs are needed, like stock photography or hosting. Put aside a portion of your budget for those expenses.
  • Use your spidey-sense and don’t hire freelancers that make you feel uncomfortable, talk down to you, or demand things from you that you are not able to provide.

In the end, remember that freelancers are experts at what they do. They want to make you happy and provide a good result. Don’t be afraid to ask them for help or advice on how you can get the best website possible.

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3 Comments on "How To Find The Right Freelancers To Build Your Website"

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Patrice
Guest

Nicely stated. Of course, I think almost every project should have a Digital Project Manager, but I’m biased, as I am one. But this is a great checklist for anyone who isn’t sure where to start or what to do. I’ll keep this bookmarked!

Kathleen
Guest

Great article. One point to add about hiring a copywriter. Your website design professionals will usually ask you to provide the copy before they begin work. The words inspire the selection of images. Don’t ruin a great website design with inferior copy.

brikat
Guest

Meet others, talk to companies and entrepreneurs who have done it before. Start small and start something small before doing a huge project.. get the feel of it. Don’t film a feature before trying a short.

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