Where and How to Find the Best Freelancers (Web Designers, Developers and Graphic Designers)

Finding the best freelance web designer, developer or graphic designer can be a minefield. I am talking from personal experience here as, honestly, it can be really tough and time-consuming. If you want a great result, you’re going to have to put in a bit of work to start with.

Some of the hardships I’ve come across with finding freelancers are:

  • It takes up a lot of time
  • The freelancer can let you down
  • The freelancer doesn’t live up to expectations

That being said, a brilliant freelancer can turn your website into something rather spectacular. Freelancers can offer a lot of value to a website and give you the chance to focus on other important tasks. For me, these tend to be writing content, marketing products/services and ultimately growing the business.

As I have a lot of experience in this field, I thought it was about time to share with you where and how to find the best freelancers. This guide should cover everything you need to know whilst reducing your valuable time and hopefully save you the headache!

#1: Upwork (Best overall portal for Freelancers)

UpWork is one of the most popular online job portals, for good reason. Their platform caters to a wide range of freelancers, including web designers, developers, graphic designers, and even architects. My experience with UpWork has been brilliant. I put this down to their rigorous signup process which weeds out any potential disasters or time wasters.

I find UpWork easy to use and clear. Finding a freelancer is simple as they categorise almost everything, anywhere you go on their website.

FeaturesIncluded
Post jobs
People can apply to jobs
Search freelancer skills criteria
Global access
Reviews and rating system
Tests for freelancers
Management and tracking tools
Secure payment
CostFree to post

Central place: Whether you’re a freelancer or looking for a freelancer, the discussion history feature is brilliant. Upwork provides a secure platform to discuss projects, as well as being able to upload documents and images. If you need to go back and find information from the past, it’s easy to find as it’s all located in one place.

Time tracking: This tool is one of my favourite parts about Upwork. If you’re hiring a freelancer for a small job on an hourly basis, the freelancer can track the time they’ve spent on the project. You can then monitor and see how far the project has come along.

Screenshots: Another neat feature supplied by Upwork. When a freelancer is working on a project, you can get automatic screenshots of the freelancer working on your project. This is reassuring and shows exactly what the freelancer has been working on. Too many times in the past I’ve been thrown under the bus by a freelancer claiming they’ve put in more time than the work shown.

Payments: Upwork’s payment system is secure and versatile. If you want, you can create milestones for freelancers which is helpful if you’re working on a large project. This allows you to release payments at each milestone, giving both you and your freelancer peace of mind.

Skill testing: Upwork offers standardised tests that freelancers can complete. These can be applied to multiple technical skills such as writing, coding and more. As a freelancer, this allows you to show off your skills as well as reassuring potential clients of what you can do. If you’re looking to complete a project that requires a certain skill, you can check with a freelancer matches your requirements.

Overall:

Upwork is an ideal platform for both short-term and long-term projects. The level of detail included in every aspect of Upwork gives freelancers and clients superb reassurance. For me, Upwork is the best of the best. It’s detailed, simple to use, and secure. It offers a wealth of freelancers at your fingertips and I’ve had no reason to complain so far.

 

#2: Fiverr (Best for those on a budget)

Fiverr changes things up a little versus the traditional way of finding a freelancer. With Fiverr, freelancers, such as, designers, developers and graphic designers, will post the types of jobs they want to do. For example, a graphic designer might post that they can create a logo, or a developer might post that they can develop a WordPress website.

When you want to hire a freelancer, you search through them according to their specialties. Fiverr is a great platform for smaller or short-term projects where you know exactly what you want.

FeaturesIncluded
Post jobsNo, you find your own freelancer using the platform
People can apply to jobsSee above
Search freelancer skills criteria
Global access
Reviews and rating system
Tests for freelancers
Management and tracking tools
Secure payment
CostFree to post

Quick: The whole idea behind Fiverr is that it’s simple to use and quick to find freelancers. Most of the work that is posted can be completed within a matter of days, rather than months.

Ratings: You can check a Freelancer’s profile and their previous ratings. This allows you to gauge their background and the type of work previously completed. For me, being able to see previous customer feedback is essential when finding a freelancer.

Presets: Freelancers can post preset jobs that you can pay for. For example, a designer could post “one-page website design with unlimited revisions”. This way, you know what you’re getting and what to expect. It’s kind of like buying an item online, you go in looking for something specific and leave with what you’ve asked for.

Overall:

Fiverr is ideal for quick jobs. If you’re on a budget, which, let’s face it, a lot of people are, it’s the perfect platform. If you don’t have time to waste and know what you want, Fiverr offers up some incredible freelancers with ratings and feedback to reassure you.

 

#3: Shopify Experts (Best for Shopify eCommerce websites)

In my experience, Shopify is one of the best eCommerce website builders. What’s more, they have a large pool of experts dedicated to their platform. Whilst many people can build their own online store without help using Shopify, it’s good to have a port of call that you can rely on should you need expert help.

Shopify Experts is ideal if you’re using Shopify. For example, if your online store is starting to grow, you may need help from a developer to optimise your website. You may decide that you have a specific requirement for your Shopify store that you don’t know how to design or develop yourself.

FeaturesIncluded
Post jobs
People can apply to jobs
Search freelancer skills criteria
Global access
Reviews and rating system
Tests for freelancers
Management and tracking tools
Secure payment
CostFree to post

Vetting process: It’s tricky hiring a freelancer when you’ve never worked with them before. It can be hard to trust people. However, Shopify Experts vets all of their experts. This means you can be reassured that anyone you work with will be an actual expert, approved by Shopify themselves.

Product setup: If you’re struggling to setup your products on your online store with Shopify, their experts can help. Shopify Experts can add all of your products to your store as well as product descriptions, meta tags, images and more.

Store setup: If you know you want to use Shopify but simply don’t have the time to invest, Shopify Experts can build your online store for you! This takes the hassle out of the job allowing you to focus on other important tasks.

Overall:

If you’ve got an online store with Shopify or are considering signing up, I can’t recommend Shopify Experts enough. There’s no better place to go to ensure that your Shopify store gets the best help from actual designers and developers who know what they’re working with.

 

#4: 99designs (Best for Graphic Designers)

99designs is the place to go if you’re looking for a designer.  This platform presents designers on a platter, whether you’re looking for a graphic designer, clothes designer, web designer, etc. You’ll also get a choice of designers to choose from.

With 99designs you post your project and pick who you want to complete the work. One of the best features is that you only pay once you find the perfect freelancer for the job. Once your job is up for bidding, designers will present their work to you, meaning you get to choose between multiple designs. This removes any potential financial risk.

FeaturesIncluded
Post jobs
People can apply to jobs
Search freelancer skills criteria
Global access
Reviews and rating system
Tests for freelancers
Management and tracking tools
Secure payment
CostFree to post

Pay for what you want: This feature is really great if you’re worried about what a freelancer can actually produce. You’re essentially asking designers to show you what they’re made of before you choose the winner. If you can’t afford to lose out financially (which most people can’t), then I thoroughly recommend 99designs.

Pro service: If you need a designer on a regular basis, 99designs offers a pro service. You’ll get an in-house manager that deals with the hiring process and ongoing project work. This is great for larger businesses who need to delegate work to save you some time and effort.

Advice: Another awesome feature that is unique to 99designs is their advice service. If you simply want some advice on a project from a designer, you can get this. Perhaps you’re not entirely sure what you’re looking for or don’t know whether a designer is necessary, meaning you won’t waste any valuable time.

Overall:

99designs is the perfect platform if you want a designer or you’re worried about a freelancer’s capability. It’s transparent nature means you won’t lose out as you’ll get to choose from multiple designers who want to work for you. Whether your project is large or small, or you don’t know what you might need, 99designs has a range of services suited to your needs.

 

#5: Toptal (Best for expert freelancers)

Toptal is a unique platform which sifts out the best freelancers in the world. Most freelancer services will allow a wide range of skills, catering to most budgets. However, Toptal have a very thorough screening process which means they can offer the top 3% of freelancers to use their platform.

The service that Toptal offers means that you’ll get the best quality available. They do all the hard work by picking the best out there. As you can see from their website, many big brands like Motorola and HP use Toptal, which is why I rate them very highly.

Matching: Toptal will match your requirements and company to their ‘Toptalers’. This means you won’t have to go searching for the best talent around. Toptal’s screening process means you won’t be wasting your time as they also screen freelancers for ethics, proficiency and attitude.

No-risk: When you decide to work with a Toptaler, you’ll get a risk-free trial period to decide whether you want to continue working with them or not. So if someone doesn’t live up to your expectations or they’re not what you need, you won’t be losing out financially.

Team: When you hire a Toptaler, it’s like having an employee. They’ll join you team and work with you remotely, as well as on-site if required. They’ll adapt to your style of project management meaning you won’t have to change the way you work.

Overall:

If you’ve got a little more time and budget, and are looking for expert freelancers, Toptal is highly recommended. It’s like hiring a concierge service to do all the leg work, match you up to the best freelancers, and ensure that the work is done to the highest standard. Best of all, if you don’t like who you’re working with, it’s absolutely risk-free during the trial period.

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