So you’re at the stage of your project or business where you need a new website or some web-related development or design work completing.
But where are all the web developers and web designers hiding? and where is the best place to find them, and good ones at that?
Your first question ought to be whether you’re in search of a freelancer or an agency.
Freelancers are often cheaper and better for relatively smaller projects, if you think your project is a rather large undertaking, and envision it requiring multiple experts in multiple disciplines (e.g. Design, Development, Marketing, SEO, Social Media…) —then an agency might be the way to go.
Best places to find web professionals
Some of the best places to find good freelance web developers/designers or agencies include:
- Referrals, ask your network
- Online search (e.g. Google, Bing)
- And also…
- Freelancing Platforms
- Online directories
Great freelancers, who do great work for their clients get a lot of their work from referrals from those clients and by word of mouth.
Try asking your professional network, or any other relevant contacts you might have. Chances are they’ll know someone, after all, every business has to go through the stage of deciding how their website is going to be created these days, so it’s very likely someone you know has had a good experience with someone, and can give you a good recommendation.
Online search results are the next best option, they will likely yield credible, trustworthy and local talent.
Only the most well-established, and highest quality talent will make it to the top of the organic search results (not paid Ads). Search Engines have it in their best interest to show you the best results for your query, so you keep coming back and using their service.
Try searches such as: Freelance Web Developer, Freelance Web Designer, Freelance Web Development Services, Web Design Agency.
Search engines tend to show personalised results based on your location, so local talent should appear in your results. If not, or if you’d like to source talent from a specific geographical region, try adding the region to your search, e.g. Freelance Web Development Services UK for the United Kingdom.
You should find it easy to shortlist a number of credible candidates this way.
Freelancing platforms can be convenient solutions, but the talent on offer can also be unreliable. These platforms are particularly useful for small jobs, or getting numerous proposals for a job.
They offer somewhat of a safety net, with the platform providing all the legalities, support and holding money deposits in escrow. But then again, you will also find a fair few scammers and fake profiles.
Personally, I’ve had some success using PeoplePerHour. PeoplePerHour is a UK-based online freelancing platform giving businesses access to thousands of freelancers, with experts (some working under an agency) in different fields.
There are other freelancing platforms such as Freelancer.com, Fiverr.com, Toptal.com and Upwork.com
The general consensus with job boards of professional freelancers is to avoid them unless it’s a last resort.
These platforms have a tendancy to acquire bad reputations on both sides (buyer or seller), especially Upwork (formerly oDesk + elancer) is poorly received, with many users documenting their bad experiences.
There’s also a large amount of competition on them, and a lot of talent from some eastern countries crowding the platform. Be prepared to sift through a lot of proposals, and to differentiate the dishonest from the trustworthy.
Also, something else to be aware of is that these platforms generally take 20%+ in fees, usually from the freelancer, so most mark up their proposals by that amount to compensate.
As long as you’re aware of the flaws, and can filter out the good from the bad, it’s a method worth considering.
There are also a number of online directories, where freelancers or agencies will register either for free or a yearly fee to be listed in. Whilst there’s no barrier to entry for being listed, it still shows they are committed and savvy enough to source their own leads using this method.
[Interested in getting YOUR local business found online? Read my other article.]
There are also the following popular sources for finding a web developer/designer online or offline:
- Local networking events
- Local offline directories
In my opinion, these sources aren’t as good, and you’re not as likely to find high-quality freelance web developers or web designers, but may come across an agency. Unless it’s a specific event.
Networking events can be worthwhile for finding web professionals, but they’ll consume more of your time—and not a reliable method if your sole reason for attending is to source talent—there may not be any web developers or web designers that show up, unless it’s a specific event.
If you need on-site work being completed, rather than partially or fully remote work, local networking events will be one of the best approaches to explore.
You’re likely to come across a sales representative from an agency or an opportunist looking to prey on the uninformed. So make sure to shop around for quotes and proposals.
Local offline directories
There are also local offline directories, which as you might find are not popular amongst web professionals who spend their time in an online space. The talent found with this source is likely to be out-of-date, and behind the times, like the medium itself.
Since you’re here, and it would seem you’re in search of a web developer, you could cut the search short!
I’m a freelance web developer, offering an array of freelance website development services. Please get in touch if interested and brief me on your project!