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How to Work With an Affordable Web Designer and Still Get a High-Quality Website

Online Business Owner

Do you need to redesign your website on a slim budget?

It’s still possible to get a custom website without spending thousands of dollars.

There are plenty of affordable designers offering services through bidding sites and freelance marketplaces.

You can also find freelancers who work independently who charge reasonable rates.

I’ve found the key to working with a more affordable web designer is being very clear on what you want.

A designer who’s charging a few hundred dollars is probably not going to have the bandwidth to redevelop your entire brand identity from scratch. And this is completely understandable. 

However, you can come up with a simple site design refresh if you have some ideas and time to work with a designer closely. I’m about to relaunch a site that I’m absolutely in love with. 

Here are the steps I’ve taken during an affordable site redo:

Take bookmarking website inspiration to the next level.

Usually designers will ask you to send over inspiration including links to sites you love.

But in my opinion bookmarking sites and sending them to your designer is not good enough.

Pick out specific aspects of the inspiration sites you like to give your designer a little more clarity. Consider the font, layout, color schemes, voice, mood, and calls to action.

A great web design has many moving parts that can attract your attention. Your web designer isn’t a mind reader so be clear with what you do and don’t like.

Create a rough mock up.

I went a step further than just providing inspiration and created a simple mock up of the design I had in mind.

I laid out the homepage and other main pages in an uncomplicated Google Doc. The designer then made a complete mock up from the one I created.

You may be thinking — “Why would I do that? That’s the designer’s job.”

Having been a freelancer for a while, I can tell you that the biggest reason for hiccups in a client to freelancer relationship is unclear instructions. The more thoroughly you explain the design you want, the more likely you will arrive at a final result that you love.

Plus you get what you pay for. You can’t expect the bells and whistles of a far more expensive service if you don’t have a deep pocket.

Give prompt feedback. 

Designing your website is a collaborative effort. If your designer isn’t getting prompt (and courteous) feedback from you they won’t be able to provide what you want.

At each stage of the game, your designer should send you updates for approval.

Give honest and specific feedback.

Because, ultimately, if the final product is something you’re less than ecstatic about the blame doesn’t land only on the designer’s shoulders when there’s a lack of communication.

Ask for referrals and vet testimonials.

I prefer to work through referrals to avoid getting burned, and that’s how I connected with my current designer.

Ask other business owners, customers, friends, and family if they know anyone who designs websites.

Something I always do when I find a designer is look through testimonials to check out other sites they’ve worked on. I review the aesthetic of these other websites to make sure they’re in line with what I want.

Final Word

A website is your first impression on the internet, so refreshing it every once in a while is a good idea.

Many designers charge $1,000 to $5,000 or more for a redesign which may not be doable.

Don’t worry though. If you’re willing to take a more active role in the design process, it’s possible to have a beautiful site without relying on credit cards or putting a redesign off for a few years.

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Personal Finance Writer
Taylor K. Gordon is a personal finance writer and founder of Tay Talks Money, a personal finance and productivity blog on hacking your way to a happier savings account. Taylor has contributed to MagnifyMoney, The Huffington Post, GoGirl Finance, Madame Noire, and The Write Life.

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