Small businesses find themselves in a tricky spot when it comes to web design.
They don’t have the endless resources the big fish do but, as a growing business, they can quickly find their web design needs increasing beyond what their bandwidth can handle.
If this sounds like an all-too-familiar situation to you, you might already be thinking about hiring a web designer who can meet all of your company’s web design needs.
Well, get ready to upgrade your website because, in this blog, we're going to help you choose the best website design service for your small businesses. We've compared the most popular options so all you have to do is pick the one that best fits your needs.
Let's make your website shine!
Why the design of your website is so important.
Remember shopping malls?
Specifically, do you remember all of the effort that businesses put into their window displays and their storefronts? The summer beach scenes, the winter wonderlands at Christmas time, and the irresistible pull of stacks of awesome-looking toys at Toys R’ Us (RIP)?
There was a reason for all of that effort.
Humans are visual creatures. An attractive storefront is the best and easiest way to draw customers into a store.
Simple as that.
And guess what? Your webpage design functions in exactly the same way.
It should be attractive and appealing, clean, and user-friendly.
Your customers should be able to easily find what they’re looking for, read what they need to read without having to squint (or call in their grandkids), and buy products or services following an intuitive and easy-to-follow process.
And when your website is giving your customers a great user experience, then it’s working for you too.
A good website is not only nice to look at but encourages user engagement from your target audience, ranks high in SEO (search engine optimization), helps increase conversions, and makes your company money.
See how important it is?
Great, because now that you do, you’ll know why you’ll want to entrust your web design to the best and most experienced person or web design company that you can.
And since we’re all about helping people find solutions, we’ve listed some places you can search to find the perfect designer to build the website that your company deserves.
The freelance marketplace.
The noble web designer in their natural habitat.
The freelance marketplace is made up of online job posting sites, such as Upwork or Fiverr.
These job sites can give you access to web designers and developers, plus other creatives from around the globe who are able to hunt through constantly updated lists of job postings and apply to those that best match their skills and talents.
To find a designer for your web design project, all you’d need to do is write up a description of what you’re looking for and the skills that perfect person would need, then create a job listing, and wait for the magic to happen.
As with any method of sourcing talent, there are some pros and cons to hitting up the freelance market. Luckily for you, we’ll go over those right now.
Pros: Freelance job sites, especially the popular ones listed above, are havens for thousands upon thousands of creatives. A project like a web design might net you hundreds of applications too, allowing you to sort through and search out who you think fits your project best.
You can also post the rate that you’re willing to pay, which can be cost-effective for you, especially if the budget is tight these days.
Cons: Job sites might save you money but, oftentimes, you get what you pay for.
Anyone can sign up on a job site and unless you have a way to check out a creative’s portfolio, you could end up hiring someone who doesn’t have the skills that you think they do, leading to shoddy work and wasted time.
And you do get to choose who you want from hundreds of applicants but that also means hours and hours of going through portfolios and applications and hoping you know enough to pick the right applicant and that you have the time to manage them.
It also needs to be said that these websites take a cut from creative’s pay in addition to charging employers to use their site.
We find that a bit unethical here and so should you.
Best for: For solopreneurs, startups, and small businesses, the freelance marketplace may be the best choice. It’s by far the cheapest, so if you don’t have much of a budget, this could be a good fit for you.
A staffing agency acts as sort of a “matchmaker” for employers and employees.
To hire a web designer from a staffing agency, you’ll give them a call, describe your project and the qualifications you’re looking for, and the agency will hunt through their list of talent and dispatch someone to your aid.
As you may have noticed, we happen in the midst of an economic recession and what usually happens during a recession is companies dismiss their entire creative teams.
Many times, these dismissed employees turn to either the freelance marketplace or staffing agencies for employment, so the odds of finding a web designer among them are in your favor.
Pros: Staffing agencies usually have a huge pool of talent to choose from so, again, odds are good that they’ll find you a designer with the skill set you’re looking for.
If you’re low on bandwidth, it can also be a definite plus to have someone else sort through applications and find that match for you.
Matching employees with employers is someone’s job, so you can also count on filling your position rather quickly, saving you valuable time and avoiding headaches and stress.
Cons: Staffing agencies can be on the pricey side.
In addition to paying your new employee, you’ll also have to pay the staffing agency for their matchmaking service.
Another con is that it can be difficult to catch your new employee up to speed since they’ll likely be unfamiliar with your brand. Your new designer will need to hit the ground running to get your project completed, leaving you precious little time to train them.
And although it’s a plus that the agency vets your designer for you and fills your role quickly, the flipside of that means that you’ll have no control over who gets assigned to your project.
If you’ve ever hired the wrong person, you know that isn’t always a good thing. And unlike temp agencies, employees from a staffing agency are looking for something long-term so you’ll either have to hire someone else or try to make it work.
Best for: Staffing agencies can work just as well for companies of any size who don’t have the time or resources to sift through applications and find new talent.
If you have the budget for it, hiring an in-house designer is the perfect way to have someone on your payroll who is familiar with your brand and focused solely on your company.
If you hire an in-house web designer, you’ll be taking on a full-time employee who receives benefits and is there to work on all of your company’s web design projects and usually more, depending on their individual skill set.
It can be awesome having an in-house designer at your company who you can depend on but, like anything, there are pros and cons.
Pros: In-house employees quickly get to know your brand and the ins and outs of your company because they work there every day.
You’ll get to know them personally, be able to easily communicate with them and, because you work for the same company, you can be sure that they will be very familiar with the scope of projects that your company needs on a consistent basis.
Cons: An in-house designer is great to have but very expensive to maintain.
We’re talking about a whole person’s salary and benefits here. And, usually, web design isn’t an entry-level job with entry-level pay.
An average web designer’s salary is between $50,000–$80,000, so your company will have to have tons of projects to justify their employment and salary.
Although they may be very talented, your designer is still a single person, and one person can’t know everything. It’s quite possible that you’ll run into a project down the road that necessitates a certain skill that they lack.
Best for: Because of the cost of paying an in-house web designer’s salary, the companies who tend to do this are the SaaS and Tech companies that have to constantly update their website.
There are plenty of other non-tech companies who employ their own in-house web designers, of course, but they tend to be huge companies that generate enough yearly profit to afford an in-house web designer on the payroll.
Creative agencies / Web design agencies
Creative agencies offer a variety of design services that fall under the umbrella of digital marketing, marketing, and advertising, including branding, graphic design, product packaging, web design, and more.
Some of these agencies are even focused solely on web design.
Expect these agencies to be staffed by a combination of creative directors (project managers) and creatives with a wide variety of talents ranging from professional web design to web development to UX/UI design.
Pros: Because the creatives at an agency are fully-vetted and full-time employees, you can be certain that you are hiring professionals.
You can also hire a creative director to manage the creative team who is working on your project. This can be extremely helpful for busy companies who don’t have the time or resources to oversee design projects.
Cons: With that many pros, it probably won’t be a surprise to hear that agencies are extremely expensive.
To keep their income steady, many agencies will keep companies on a retainer, so you can expect to pay a hefty sum.
Best for: You guessed it.
Expensive services usually require big businesses with big profits to be able to keep an agency on retainer. Because of their size, they usually have consistent and ongoing web design projects to justify the expense too.
Designity is a fully-remote creative service, made up of fully-vetted, US-based creatives with talents in every area of design and marketing.
We take all of the pros of the freelance marketplace, staffing agencies, and creative agencies and combine them into one convenient and dynamic package.
Design is our specialty, and our web designers and web developers are the best of the best and able to handle any design needs that your company may have, whether it’s refreshing the look of your current site to building that custom website that you’ve always dreamed about.
Not only that, but once your marketing collateral is created, our experienced creative directors can work with you to create a custom marketing strategy to take your brand to new heights.
Pros: Unlike keeping companies on expensive retainers, we offer monthly plans at a flat rate that can be canceled at any time.
Sound good? It gets better.
Every new client gets a 2-week trial period to make sure that we’re a good fit for each other. You don’t think so? Cancel at any time!
But if we are a good fit (and we probably are) you’ll be assigned a creative director who best fits your needs and personality and who can manage not only an unlimited number of projects but who will source and manage creatives with the exact skill set you need.
Our creatives are hand-selected and in the top 3% of their field, so you can rest assured that the deliverables you receive will be reliable and of the highest quality.
Cons: Even a flat monthly rate may be too expensive for solopreneurs or startups. You also might not find the fee worthwhile unless you have plenty of marketing projects to send down the pipeline.
Best For: Designity works best for businesses of any size with enough of a budget for the monthly rate and plenty of marketing projects to make it worthwhile.
<div class="c-blog_comp-cta cc-component-1"><div class="c-blog_comp-cta-left"><div class="c-blog_comp-cta-left-wrap"><img src="https://global-uploads.webflow.com/61cdf3c5e0b8155f19e0105b/636952abeac0579dfd5606c1_Current-clients.png" loading="lazy" alt="" class="c-blog_comp-cta-left-img"></div></div><div class="c-blog_comp-cta-right"><div class="c-blog_comp-content"><div class="c-text-wrapper cc-mb-32"><div class="c-title-4 cc-bold"><strong>Ready to engage your audience on a whole new level?</strong></div></div><div class="c-text-wrapper"><div class="c-text-2">Stay ahead of the latest design trends and stand out in your market, no matter how saturated it is.<br><br></div></div></div><div class="c-blog_comp-wrapper"><a href="/2022-life-changing-design-trends" target="_blank" class="c-button cc-primary cc-inverted w-button"><strong>Download Latest Design Trends</strong></a></div></div></div>
The world is your oyster.
Now that you have a better idea of your options, choose the one that makes the most sense for your business.
Take a careful look at your current situation, your available resources, and your budget, and choose the web design service that will bring the most value to your website and to your customers.
No matter which path you take, a newly refreshed website will show your customers that you value their experience and are committed to keeping your online presence up-to-date and relevant.
What web design projects does your company need?