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How to Outsource Web Design & Development (& Not Get Ripped Off)

  • Oct 06, 2016
  • 0
  • by A2 Marketing Team

There are thousands if not millions of people who make a living online nowadays – many of them in the fields of web development and design. So it stands to reason that finding a competent freelancer should be like shooting fish in a barrel, but you’d be surprised.

The ideal freelancer is competent, responsible, communicative, and able to deliver great work on a regular basis. The good news is that there are plenty of them out there, all you need to do is learn how to identify them.

Luckily, we’re here to tell you exactly where to look for freelancers and how to pick out the best of them. Let’s start with the how.

How to Find High-Quality Freelance Developers and Designers Online

Knowing where to look for high-quality freelancers will get you nowhere unless you learn how to identify them. Here’s a checklist you might want to keep handy the next time you’re looking for one:

  1. The platform matters. Quality freelancers don’t waste their time with platforms like Fiverr when they can easily make more money elsewhere – that is, unless they aren’t yet aware of their talent. We’ll go into more detail concerning platforms in our next section.
  2. Make sure to examine some work samples before settling on a freelancer. Candidates with an established portfolio are always a bonus, but you can also settle for a relevant example or two if you’re considering a less-experienced freelancer.
  3. Create contracts for everyone you hire. The Bonsai platform – although geared toward contractors – is a great place to find useful templates for development and design work. Service marketplaces, such as the ones we’ll suggest in a moment, usually provide contracts, but this is a useful skill to pick up for hiring freelancers directly.
  4. Establish clear and reasonable deadlines, and pay decent wages on time. If you ask freelancers to submit work at a breakneck pace quality may suffer and they may burn out rather quickly. The same applies to salaries. If they’re too low, self-respecting freelancers will stay away, and if you don’t pay promptly, they’ll run away. If you aren’t sure what constitutes a good rate for freelance work, check out the profiles of freelancers you’re interested in to see if they mention expected rates or negotiate rates directly until you settle on a range that is satisfactory to both parties.
  5. Answer emails – or whichever type of communication you both agreed to use – quickly to keep the work moving forward. Make sure to let your freelancers know that you expect timely responses as well!

With that in mind, it’s time to introduce some of the best places to consistently find amazing freelancers.

The Best Places to Look for Amazing Freelance Developers and Designers

The platforms below each offer a rather different experience when it comes to posting jobs and finding candidates. We’ll cover everything you need to know to start looking for candidates right away, from which kinds of freelancers you can expect to find to how the hiring process works.

Smashing Jobs



Smashing Magazine is an invaluable resource for web development and design professionals, and the Smashing Jobs board doesn’t disappoint either.

The two main work categories on Smashing Jobs are Design and Programming gigs, with a rather bare Others section. Candidates can sort listings by either full-time or freelance positions. Each listing includes a full description and information on how to apply for the job.

Posting a freelance job offer will cost you $75, and you must specify the following information before you post goes live:

  • Position title.
  • Description.
  • Category (i.e. design or development).
  • Location.
  • Company name.
  • How to apply.

After filling in those fields, you’ll get a chance to review your listing before you’re charged and the listing goes live. Then it’s just a matter of sitting back, waiting for the candidates to contact you, and breaking out our handy checklist to find the right one(s).

Authentic Jobs

Authentic Jobs
is a jobs board with hundreds of listings at any given time. Companies and individuals can customize job listings extensively, which makes it one of our favorite platforms to find freelancers.

Freelancers can sort jobs using various criteria to pinpoint remote, full-time, part-time, freelance, and internship opportunities. The platform includes nine main job categories, although the only ones that interest us right now are:

  • Design & User Experience.
  • Front-end Engineering.
  • Back-end Engineering.
  • Apps.

Most of the jobs found here lean more towards the developer side of things, so finding candidates for those types of jobs should be easier. Each freelance job listing will cost you $150 for an entire month, and the platform offers a money-back guarantee if you’re not satisfied with the results of your search.

On top of regular job descriptions, Authentic Jobs enables you to select a compensation range for your listings – this is an excellent way to attract high-quality freelancers if your wages are good enough.



Codeable is the platform to turn to when you need a WordPress developer. All of Codeable’s freelancers are carefully vetted WordPress professionals with specific fields of experience, which results in a faster hiring process. However, if that’s not what you’re looking for, then stick with the two previous entries on this list.

This platform is perfect for both development and theme customization work, as long as it’s WordPress related. It pays freelancers handsomely, which in turn attracts the highest quality developers – all you need to do is either post a job or handpick the perfect candidate for your project.

If you decide to go the traditional route, you can create a job listing as usual, set a budget, and wait for freelancers to come knocking. The alternative involves looking through Codeable’s WordPress-expert listings, checking their ratings and reviews, and then hiring them directly. This option is perfect if you’ve previously worked with a freelancer that you really liked.


Finding the right freelance developer or designer is a godsend if you’re looking to outsource some of your work. A great freelancer will be able to deliver exactly what you need to keep your projects moving forward. All you need to do is learn how to find and attract great freelancers with the prospect of a great work relationship. This involves:

  1. Using the right platform(s).
  2. Evaluating enough work samples to ensure your new hire is up to your standards.
  3. Establishing clear-cut contracts that are beneficial to both parties.
  4. Setting reasonable deadlines and paying decent wages on time.
  5. Establishing clear lines of communication.

Image credit: Picjumbo.