Getting Started

Basic information about websites and the web design business

Where to Look for a Designer

Getting Started

One of the initial obstacles you may find in your search for a good Tucson web designer may simply be where to look. We’ve already talked about the different types of web designers, but whether you’re looking for a freelancer or a design firm, where’s the best place to go to find a qualified professional? Failing to look in the right places or invest enough time in your search may leave you with a less-than-qualified designer who ultimately falls short of providing your business with the effective (and stylish) web presence it needs. So, where to start?

Places to look for a designer/developer

The following list is not all-inclusive, but it should be enough to get you started in your hopefully fruitful search for a qualified person or firm to design your website. Wherever you look, you’ll want to take time to evaluate the individual or company using important criteria and considerations, which I’ll discuss more soon.

Phone book

When you need a plumber, you look to the phone book, so why not do the same when looking for your web developer? The phone book isn’t necessarily a bad place to look, and it may have some good companies, but you may be limiting yourself, as well. There are undoubtedly a lot of qualified freelancers and even web firms who don’t bother with the phone book and focus more on internet marketing.


Craigslist can actually be a pretty good place to start when you’re looking for a website designer. You’ll need to be especially cautious when browsing what you may find, as there’s surely a lot of unqualified “wannabes,” but a lot of respectable, experienced individuals and businesses advertise there as well. Check out the computer and creative subcategories of the Services section in your Tucson Craigslist.

Again, use caution — remember that your goal is to find a qualified, experienced individual who is charging a reasonable rate. The “$499 Total Website Package w/SEO” may sound enticing, but if the person offering it doesn’t know what he’s doing and doesn’t have a quality portfolio to show you, you’re looking for trouble.

Google search

A Google search for “Tucson web designer” or something similar may be a pretty good way to find someone to make your site. Though you don’t have to limit yourself to local designers, and not everyone who designs good sites worries about getting their own site in the local search results, if a website is high on the results page for your search there’s a better chance they know what they’re doing than if you found them elsewhere. As always, use caution, even with those people or businesses with high search engine ranking.

Word of mouth

Everyone has a website these days, and you’re bound to cross paths with someone who knows a web designer at some point during your day. If the person who is referring you actually paid to have their website developed by the designer (and isn’t a relative), that’s a definite good sign — it at least shows they finished the site without running off or doing a terrible job. It of course doesn’t mean they’re the best in town, either, so check out their website, the website of the person who referred you, and compare them to other developers, too.

Local or abroad

Just because your business is in Tucson doesn’t mean your website designer needs to be. One of the things I enjoy most about my job is that I can work with people all over the place. I’ve had clients and associates in many different states and even the United Kingdom, Mexico and Slovenia. If you can find a good local developer, that’s probably the best way to go — you’ll have the assurance that comes with meeting with them face to face — but if you’re unimpressed with what you’ve found around town, understand that there are a lot of designers who regularly work with people long-distance, and this definitely gives you a lot more options.

Sites you like

Another good way to find a web designer is to stop trying. Well, stop looking for the web designer’s site, anyway. Instead, check out (local) sites you like (do a Google search for something like “Tucson cake decorating”) and see what websites really grab you. When you find a website that looks and functions great, scroll down to the bottom to see if there’s a link to the person or company that designed it. If not, send an e-mail or give a call to the website owner and ask who made it (this will also be a good opportunity to get the scoop on what’s good and/or bad about the designer).

Patience and research

Ultimately, being patient and taking the time do your research are probably more important than precisely where you look for your web designer. It’s a spectrum, really. You don’t have to find the single most qualified person on the planet, but if the top 20% of designers are qualified and competent enough to deliver a classy, quality website, you want to ensure you’ve given it enough time to find someone who falls on that part of the spectrum.

The whole reason I post this information is to encourage my prospective clients to look around — you should be comfortable and confident with whoever you choose to build your site. Building a website takes work, time and cooperation between the client and the designer, so get off to a good start by finding the right person with the right skills (and attitude). It’ll be worth it in the long run.

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