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How Much Does It Cost To Hire A Professional Web Designer?

Gee whiz. That's a loaded question. Why is it a loaded question? Well, because it’s like asking how much it costs to buy a car. Like any other marketable skill, web design has a lot more going on underneath than it does on the surface. And that’s not even taking into account the chasm of a gap between a Web Designer and a Web Developer.

And that's just the tip of the iceberg. Today’s modern approach to web design - that being, do it cheap, do it fast, and do it yourself - is killing the artisan trade that emerged in the late nineties and has sustained itself until fairly recently.

WordPress Against the World

Let’s take a step back, shall we, and look at this one thing at a time. You want a website made for you, right? That’s why you're here. And you’ve probably taken a look at some set prices from some designers and thought to yourself - ‘Is that good?’ It’s hard to tell, these days, and it’s pretty much all WordPress’ fault.

WordPress handles almost 28% of all the websites visited in the world (and 60% of all those using a third party CMS), and because of that, they’ve invested hugely into the ‘Drag’n’Drop’ style of editor with plugins like BeaverBuilder and Elementor. Following suit, you have giants like Wix and GoDaddy. What these CMS (content management system) editors do, is let you design your own websites. They don’t have the same functionality that a bespoke site has, but as they gain popularity, the companies are able to pour money (literally - out of a massive sack with a dollar sign on the side) into plugin development.

Plug In Baby

Plugins, in essence, are tools that do a thing. You install a plugin on your site and then suddenly, your site has this amazing new function - maybe it can capture new mailing list applicants, pop up with a lightbox when visitors arrive, or even auto-play a video when someone hovers over it. These plugins may seem sleek and shiny, but what’s gone into their creation is hundreds of hours of work and thousands of lines of code. What’s code, you ask? Well, remember in the Matrix, where Neo starts seeing everything in green binary? It’s sort of like that (except not at all, if you’re a coder). Everything is made from code. Strings of numbers, letters, words, and symbols that computers translate into colours, pictures, and functions. It’s super complex, and until drag’n’drop web editors became a thing and plugins burst on the scene, code kept Web Design an elitist game.

Is designing your own website worth it?

Though the drag’n’drop editors are powerful tools, you still need a good eye for design, a steady hand, and an infinite supply of patience in order to practice enough to become skilled at using them. And then, you have to take into account the running and the updating of the thing. The difficult choice is that though Drag'n Drops can look [really] good, and now they’re hardly limited in regards to their functionality due to the oodles of plugins available, they gave a way of looking… generic.

Minimal effort, minimal originality, zero personality

Seeing the light

You’ll be needing one, more than likely, if you want your site to do something specifically. But, once you’ve made the mature decision to seek the help of someone with a knowledge set that you don’t possess - how do you discern between the true blue web doctors, and the snake oil charlatans? Googling something like ‘Cheap web design’ will likely bring you to the latter.

Instead, take this advice. Don’t go for freelance web designers unless you know your stuff. While freelance can be a great way to shave off some coins, it can be tricky. It’s often a lot cheaper because you’re only paying the worker, and not their company too (and all the bills that go with it), but it can be tough to know what you’re getting. A lot of internet nomads blag their way into jobs that they aren’t qualified for, so while they may tell you they’re web designers, they may very well just be using a WP plugin like Elementor, or Beaver Builder, or heaven forbid they might just be a deft hand at Wix. They’ll charge you more than you should be paying for what you’re getting.

Be smart, not cheap

As such, go with a company. That way, you get some accountability. And also, you’ll have the skill assured - because believe me, companies don’t take on web designers who don’t know how to build a website.

It takes skill. Usually, websites are composed of HTML, C++, Python, CSS, JavaScript, and have a backend Database or API running to boot. If you don’t know what any of that means, then you should be hiring someone who does. The Drag’n’Drops are packed with UI (user interface) tools that deliver prefabricated chunks of code into your website, like a jigsaw with massive pieces. But, with a web designer at your disposal, you can simply tell them what you want, how you want it, and they’ll build it from the ground up. It also makes tweaking it going forward much easier, too. If you’ve got something specific in mind, and you give a damn about your website, like it’s, oh I don’t know - your business or something - then you should be looking for a web designer.

A Pound of Flesh (Cash and Card work too)

And how much should you pay? Well, again, it’s a loaded question. I know some coders who charge $100+ an hour. I know some who do it for less, but generally, you’ll get what you pay for. But - that’s another reason to go with a company, because you’ll likely have a team of people working on your site, spreading the cost, giving you better value for money.

It’s going to take a while to put a site together, and the guys doing it are going to be skilled. Anywhere in the several hundreds is going to be a really good deal. Over five hundred is getting pricey, and if you’re getting into four digits, well, you might be getting ripped off (or not - I don’t know what crazy stuff you want your website to do!). Bear in mind that the more complex the idea, the more it usually costs. But, if you have a flat quote, and it seems like a good deal, talk to them. See what you get. See what they provide. Weigh it up, and get some comparative quotes.

Take your time when deciding, and don’t be cheap about it. What you don’t pay for now, you’ll end up paying for later, one way or another.

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