This article covers the considerations when hiring designers and developers to work with your store's design.

Make sure to read our companion article: How to evaluate the skill of a freelance developer

First thing to know: there's a difference between a web developer and designer. It's rare that one doesn't know a bit of the other's trade, but their roles are quite different!

Designer: this is the person who designs the site your customer will see. They think about navigability, usability, and aesthetic.

Developer: this is the person who focuses on how the site works. They'll dive into the backend HTML, CSS, and Javascript and make sure the site is working effectively.

We recommend separating your design from your development because coders are pricier and don't quite have the artistic eye of a designer.

Phase One: Engage a Designer

Step 1: post a contest for visual design on 99designs

  • Note how many pages need to be added to your site
  • Spell out which pages need to be modified
  • Share a rough mock-up of what you're looking for
  • Link to websites who's design you like - describe what you like about them!
  • Attach lots of assets (product pictures, happy customers, etc) to use for design inspiration
  • Specifically mention your desire to have a "fully responsive" website with separate psds for mobile & desktop

Here are some examples of what a good post looks like:

Step 2: Invite designers to your contest (search for designers on 99designs)

Step 3: Work to give your designers VERY specific feedback during the contest (But give as much upfront - nothing like good designer etiquette!)


Step 4: Receive Design Assets. Make Sure You Get... 

  • A set of psds for the regular web version
  • A set of psds for the mobile version
  • Any relevant fonts
  • If they did a logo, try to get a vector (.ai file) version so you can easily use it for future work

Phase Two: Engage a Developer

The biggest things to look for when finding a good developer is:

  • Good developers are not cheap and cheap developers are normally not good. You get what you pay for.
  • Just because a developer is located in a certain country does not make them any more good or bad compared to others. If you do your due diligence, you can find great developers in any country at a price point that fits what level of development you really need at your stage of business life.
  • A fit for your or your company's personality style. Do you like things to be organized and things delivered on time? Or maybe more relaxed and open? You should find the same personality in your developer as those relationships tend to be the most productive.
  • Ask questions for aptitude instead of focusing only on skill. Technology changes so quickly and they may be working with Cratejoy technology for the first time so are they comfortable with learning new technology skills and have a proven record of doing so? Ask questions like "what programming language did you learn recently?", "what are your go-to places for learning new tech tips and tricks?", or "what are your favorite tech books or blogs?".
  • They should have a history of developing websites or web applications using HTML, CSS & Javascript.

Step 1: Post a job on Upwork to find a developer)

  • Use a very descriptive subject line "Translate psds into html/css in our eCommerce CMS"
  • Describe exactly how you want it to function ex: "They go from page 1 to page 2 by clicking on the big orange button."
  • Ask to see previous projects they've worked on - the best coders tend to use Github.

Note: hourly projects tend to get more responses than project-based pricing. You tend to get what you pay for with front end development :)

Step 2: Engage the Developer and Give Them Access to Your Cratejoy Backend

  • Make sure to link your developer to our documentation: there are code samples there as well
  • Introduce them to the themes found in "Design." They'll want to go straight to the code!
  • Developers should start from an existing Cratejoy theme and modify it to match your design for best results

Step 3: Put the coder in contact with Cratejoy if they have questions!

What If I Want One Person to Do It All?

It's possible to engage a single person to do your front end design and backend code. Sometimes this is the fastest and lowest friction route.

Potential cons: these are unicorns to find!

Step One: Post the design and code job on UpworkFollow the best practices above for best results.

Step Two: Invite people who have built webpages or done design to bid on the project.

Recommended: use hourly pricing.

Step Three: Judge them based on their portfolio, anyone serious will have a portfolio :)

Step Four: Ask them: "Did you all of the design and the coding?" Verify it's original work and not someone else's!

Et VOILA! You're in good hands.