Where can I find good website designers/developers?

QUESTION:

Where can I find good website designers/developers?

ANSWER:

Naomi Kokubo

Naomi Kokubo

by Naomi Kokubo, Cofounder of Founders Space

This is a question we get all the time.  Find a great designer and/or developer for Web 2.0 sites isn’t easy.  There are lots of good people out there, but they tend to be either too expensive or already employed.    And if you want someone to work for equity or on the cheap, it can be difficult.

Most designers and engineers want to be paid, and if they’re any good, they usually don’t have trouble finding work.  So you either have to pay them the market rate or risk having them start a job and then leave in the middle because they get a much better offer.  This can be very disruptive.

So what can you do?  Overseas designers and engineers are less expensive, but there are a number of risks you run, such as communication, control over the product, and quality of work.   It’s really hard to manage an overseas team, and we’ve heard countless stories of woe and misery from founders who got burned.

Let’s start with the designer.  It’s best to have your designer local.  It’s hard enough to design a product, but if you can’t sit down with someone and talk it through, it can be extremely frustrating to get your vision communicated clearly.  It may cost more, but finding a designer you can sit in the same room with and who understands your vision is worth every penny.

If you’re an experienced project manager, then you may be able to get away with overseas engineers.  But you have to be careful and you have to check references.  I’d start with a small project first, and see if the guys you hire can deliver, and then expand the project if they communicate well with you and can meet the milestones.

Here’s a quick list of places you can look to find your team:

  1. First, start by asking people you know for recommendations.  Nothing beats getting a referral from someone you trust.
  2. Next, get out of your house and begin networking.  There are dozens of events you can attend, and at each one you’ll meet new people you can potentially work with.
  3. Put out the word on Facebook — your friends may know someone
  4. Put out the word on LinkedIn — also join the various groups for engineers, designers and developers
  5. Craigslist — for local hires this is a great place to advertise
  6. eLance.com — is a good place for hiring freelancers both domestically and overseas
  7. Founder Dating — this is a great site if you want to find another founder who can join your team as a designer or engineer
  8. Meetup.com — is a fantastic resource.  There are meetup groups for practically everything.  For instance, I found a great Ruby on Rails Meetup at http://ruby.meetup.com/81/ — which would connect me with hundreds of Ruby developers
  9. SDForum — is another great resource.  It has special interest groups (SIGs) on a whole range of topics, and these are perfect places to meet designers and developers
  10. Rent a Coder — a site for finding engineers
  11. Guru — a site for finding freelancers, including designers and engineers
  12. Freelancer.com — a site for finding freelancers, including designers and engineers
  13. Scriptlance — a site for finding coders
  14. oDesk — a site for hiring and managing a team
  15. Dice — a jobs site for techies

This should give you a good start.  I hope this helps!

Comments & Advice:
  1. I'd like to mention that using services like Rent a Coder and Scriptlance make it difficult to find quality coders. The best way is by asking for personal referrals from friends and business colleagues. If you can find someone actively apart of a developer community, I would suggest using them. I've had to vet a lot of developers and the ones that work out seem to be those socially involved in what is going on with their technology.

    At a lot of the Rent a Coder sites you'll be bombarded by offshore companies. This is usually a losing proposition since the money you'd save is often lost in translation.

  2. This will seem like a shameless plug so apologies in advance. We're creating a new platform where you can find anyone with specialist skills and leverage your social graph to establish their credibility and reliability. In time I'd hope to see us on lists such as this. We're in early beta and would love feedback on whether this is a platform that you would use: http://weedle.com/results/web+designer/-

  3. Webknix says:

    Another shameless plug , but we truly offer great web design services at an affordable cost. Check us out at WebKnix.com

  4. Everything depends on exactly what you're seeking in a designer/developer. For instance, I own two companies that offer two very different products. At http://www.customsimple.com we offer custom designed sites that are extremely simple to manage. We focus completely on the small business market. The cost is low and the turnaround is quick because we have a previously constructed set of tools and features that we plug into the sites as needed. Everything features custom design, but all of the heavy programming is done.

    At http://www.harvestcreative.com we build your wildest hopes and dreams. You tell us what you have in mind and we make it happen. The turnaround is going to be a little slower and the cost is going to be significantly more expensive, but we'll deliver your vision no matter what kind of programming and design it requires.

    Anyway, my point isn't just to plug our companies. I'm showing the vast differences between products out there today. Whatever you do, be sure to carefully review a designer's portfolio before hiring anyone. If their portfolio isn't good, you're site isn't going to be magically good. And lastly, be sure to ask about hosting, maintenance, CMS training, customer service and new development costs.

  5. Johnny says:

    There’s a new service around that shows quality web designers from all over the world on a listing system. It’s paid to advertise, so you know that only the best are listed. It’s http://www.creativorama.com. Go crazy!

  6. Kim says:

    I think most people will agree upon that usually you get what you pay for.

    Don’t expect any one to deliver “the new facebook” or similar for $500.

    Like Harvest Creative says, you can give people very cost-effective stuff if you already have set up the tools for it, but if the customer want something “outside the box” then it will cost – and quite a lot.

  7. Summer says:

    Hi Naomi,

    Thanks for the great list of resources!

    Another great resource you didn’t mention is sortfolio.com – they have tons of designers worldwide, and seem to have weeded out the lower quality designers.

    🙂

  8. Mike Skeens says:

    Thanks for the great list! I will definitely have to check them out. Also, if anyone is in need, I can make amazing professional websites for heavily discounted prices. Check my works out at msProWebsites.com

  9. Matchist says:

    Hi Naomi-

    This is an excellent post and list of resources.

    Some of the comments note that word-of-mouth is the best way to find a developer, and if you’re able to do that we certainly agree.

    If you’re experienced and know what you want outsourcing can be a cheap option, while in some cases hiring full-time or bringing on a technical co-founder makes the most sense.

    There is an in-between case as well, which is hiring a freelance web developer. The could be to help build your MVP, integrate your product with another product, bridge the gap between developers or supplement your team when you don’t have enough bandwidth.

    If you have a “project” that requires a developer where you can’t find someone via word of mouth can are afraid to outsource, we’d invite your readers to give http://matchist.com a try.

    With Matchist, you submit a web development project for free and Matchist finds a vetted, US-based freelance developer with experience working on the type or project you’re looking to build.

    Curious to hear if anyone here has tried it and what your experience has been.

    Thanks! – The Matchist Team

  10. Seun Ajan says:

    The scene used for searching for top notch developers and designer has become soo saturated that it is virtually impossible to figure out who is who.We at gvat.com have created a facebook page for programmers and designer with 2300+ likes and counting. You can find us here: facebook.com/GvateNY.

  11. Thomas Buck says:

    Shameless plug –

    You need to verify your idea and assumptions before splashing out the big money.

    I offer a service that’ll get the basics put together in two weeks, with a tonne of advice from my 15 years of experience included 🙂 http://minimumviableproducts.net

  12. Kevin Leary says:

    Great article Naomi,

    However, I’ve found that it’s better to hone in on the communities around the web where designers frequent, casting a smaller net than some of the suggested sites you mention above. I’ve listed a few of the resources I frequent here, hopefully you understand what I mean:

    http://blog.openviewpartners.com/how-to-find-good-web-designer/

    Best,

    -Kevin

  13. Mike Dennis says:

    Hey Naomi,
    That’s a useful list so thanks for publishing.

    I’m working on a specialised directory with free listings at http://www.wheretofindawebdesigner.co.uk

    Any web designer or developers are welcome to list.

  14. toptal.com – exclusive access to top developers

    I have joined Toptal more than a year ago and work remotely as one of the members of rapidly growing network comprised of some of the most talented engineers in the world, distributed across the globe.

  15. Anna says:

    You know, it can happen that the guy who is the best designer for your partners won’t match you. So talk to each other beforehand. If you understand each other well you’ll be able to work effectively. Yesterday I read on how to find a designer and here what I appreciated http://designwebkit.com/web-design/how-to-find-a-web-designer-that-is-the-perfect-match-for-you/ .

  16. Livtar says:

    Go to Google first is the evergreen tagline. 😉 Well, it’s not all done with finding a designer or a list of web design companies. One must be sure if they are hiring the right one. This article has some important tips for the same, check out- http://www.pepper-designs.com/blog/hiring-web-designing-company-which-is-best-for-you-useful-tips/

  17. Mark says:

    You have to be very careful when you deal with freelancers overseas. Many of them will promise you to finish the work but actually they do not, simply because they lack project management skills. It is better to hire a local web design firm to design your website so that you can sit and discuss your requirements face to face and get better results.

    http://www.akrons.ca

  18. Kapil says:

    Hi I do web development for a living, and I meet a lot of web developers. One thing I’d add to your list is to find web dev blogs and forums as well. Some of the best web developers I’ve met have been through those. Telling a good web dev from a bad one seems to be more than a one step process. Feel free to ask questions if you ever need any help 🙂 kapil(at)kapilkafish(dot)com

  19. Diane says:

    I recommend Logoland Australia, http://www.logoland.com.au they design excellent and fast loading website, plus the designs are professional and attractive.

  20. There is another new source for freelancers and freelancer projects in the fields of IT called http://www.freelancermap.com. The website can be used for free to publish projects and contact freelancers.

  21. We in Birds Australia recently developed an environmental website / web application with these guys http://www.empoweredwebsites.com

    Im sharing this as we had a couple of bad experiences before coming across some quality developers. We had a couple of companies lock us into proprietary software and then another take lots of money from us. We are not tech savvy but found empowered websites reasonably priced and excellent on delivering what wewant.

     
    They are Australian based and the lead project manager is a biologist which suits us as we didnt have to explain loads and loads about what we were trying to achieve. He just got it.

    Very happy with the results and development ongoing. We have over 20,000 full observations going into the portal and growing.

  22. Jenny says:

    I recommend http://fiverr.com/ashleeb/design-html-fashion-website
    They design excellent and fast loading website, plus the designs are professional and attractive.
    And the prices are very low (80$-200$)

  23. Verg says:

    If I were to hire a dev I would look into these aspects; affordability, experience, portfolio and help desk availability. I would never hire a team or someone who’d just leave me with a hanging question mark on my head while their hands are wide open to collect my payments – never.

  24. Author says:

    The best web designers on the planet are found at http://legitsign.com/services/.

  25. Jenny says:

    Hi Naomi,

    I recently got my website developed from CyberNext. They are quite affordable and deliver quality work. I had no idea about the technical aspects but they explained me everything pretty well. Contact them at http://cybernext.in

  26. Shweta says:

    for best website designers visit http://webtech-global.com

  27. Adam Jake says:

    A good web designer company should have good professionals who understand to give relevant solutions. They know all the design aspects and requirement of your website according to your need. Research research makes you to get win win situation for your website design.
    Looking for good designers and developers for any kind of eCommerce related websites visit – http://www.technocrab.com/web-design.html

  28. achuth says:

    http://ecom-developers.net/ will help you develop the best websites and mobile apps.I have been there client for 3 year and they have given me very good results

  29. mobile games says:

    If you desire to get a good deal from this paragraph then you
    have to apply such methods to your own blog.

  30. Julia says:

    Hi. I am from Russia. I am a web-deweloper. I want to share with you some popular free-lance websites where you can find programmers and designners. Most of us understand English. So, you can post the projact in English.

    1. http://www.FL.ru
    2. http://www.weblancer.net
    3. http://www.freelance.ua
    4. http://www.itfreelance.by
    5. freelansim.ru

    Best regards. Julia.
    http://www.advance-dev.net

  31. AMG says:

    you happen to leave out fiverr from the list!
    That is the arh=gest market where you can hire a web designer as low as $5!
    check out these gigs
    https://www.fiverr.com/s/6hrbni

  32. Spartan says:

    If you’re looking for a web designer in England, visit us here http://spartan.spartanwebsitedesign.co.uk/. Give us a call to start your web design project today!

  33. Illicit says:

    Customer satisfaction guaranteed at Illicit Web Design. Based in Devon, UK, we’ll give your web design project the time and attention that it deserves. Visit us today – https://www.illicitwebdesign.co.uk/

  34. Adam says:

    Thanks for a good article Naomi.
    I’m a web developer with 10+ years of experience. Have a look at my skill set and portfolio: http://www.phpdeveloperlondon.co.uk/

  35. We are not an established one but we have greatest ideas and knows the trends. http://klivolks.com is basically a web developing company how ever our products include ivacloud and serverorbits.

  36. Check out X-Team, lots of great developers from all over the world with a great vetting process that takes into account far more than just coding skills: http://x-team.com

  37. The firm Australian Logos is all about designing truly fascinating and unique logos that can be used for any type of product or service.
    http://www.australianlogos.com

  38. Ben William says:

    Hello Naomi,
    Thanks for your blog post.
    I am local business owner . It is really frustrating to find efficient website designer and SEO expert. I consultant with different onshore and offshore companies before making my business website . After dealing with different digital agency and freelance website designer , i realized, if you want to run long term business , you might select local website design agency. I would like to point our few point:
    If you have local website designer :
    1. you will not face any communication problem (Language)
    2. Local agency might have sound idea for your industry ,
    3. If anything run wrong, you may visit his or her office or place .
    4. Same time zone to work.
    5. Long term relationship.
    I would like to recommend one of best digital agency in Auckland (http://dynamicwebs.co.nz/web-design-auckland/). i have excellent experience to work with this agency.
    Cheers
    Ben

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