Designing a website isn’t what it used to be back in the 90’s when companies would ask someones niece or Uncle Bob to whip something up and slap it on the web. Gone are those day! thankfully. This post isn’t about how to choose your website designer there are plenty of those around already. This is about how to get the most out of your website designer from the start of your project to your ongoing relationship as your website, your business and technology grows and evolves.
I am writing this for those who are employing a single freelance website designer (such as my good self!) or a small company. If your are paying big bucks to a big company many of these points may not apply.
- Be prepared to work
- Give them content
- Be honest
- Be enthusiastic
- Pay them
- Listen to them and trust them
- Be realistic
- Be professional
- Sing their praises
- Be timely
There is misconception amongst people when getting a website made. Unfortunately you can’t just ask for a website, get your designer to punch some esoteric codes into a computer and out pops a website just perfect for your business!
No, no, no a real website that will benefit your business needs a lot of input from you. There are many things the website designer will require of you and some of them will be needed before even the estimate stage. I won’t go into all the details here but basically you will need to get across to your website designer:
- how your business works
- who your target audience is
- what are your websites goals, their ‘call to actions’ in order of importance
- who your competitors are
- how best to structure your navigation according to your content
- what features do you want
- what features do you actually need
- what future features are you expecting to add later
- most important of all is content
Without content web designers float alone in the vast void of space with no direction home. Content is the most important thing for any website by far. You could have a pure text website with no graphics at all and still get business from it. If you don’t give your web designer any content they can at best make an educated guess about what you want and fill the void with Latin.
Writing content takes a lots of time, dedication, will power, thought, focus and enthusiasm. Prepare yourself for it – then get it done. Don’t worry, you can change the content anytime as long as the structure remains stable or at least doesn’t change too much
Be honest with yourself and your website designer. What is it you really want from your website designer and does it match your proposed budget?
If you are having personal or business issues and can no longer dedicate the time needed to complete the project at the moment then say so.
Now here is something you may not be aware of. Website designers love designing websites, they are passionate about it. Use it to your advantage.
Involve them in your vision, if they get really immersed in your project it’s quite likely they’ll do a few hours work for you for nothing. There is no chance that happening if you are not into it and it’s just some necessary chore for you.
If you get them really enthused they’ll keep thinking of ways to improve your site even after it’s been launched. They won’t forget, plus you’ll no doubt jump to the top of the priority list if they are busy with multiple projects.
Most freelance designers have no regular source of income, unlike people employed by businesses they do not get paid the same amount every two weeks for instance. Pay them within their contract terms at least or better still as soon as you get the invoice. They will love you for it and be more likely to jump through hoops for you when you need them to.
Don’t pay by sending a cheque by snail mail unless you’ve managed to jump back in time. Use Internet banking – it’s around four times faster.
If your website designer tells you that something would not be a good idea – then listen to them because they know. Don’t make them go ahead against their will only to hear “I told you so!” when their prediction manifests.
Don’t micro manage your website designer or you’ll end up with a useless website and bad feelings all round. Let your website designer do the website design. Would you commission a portrait artist then dictate their every brushstroke?
Of course it is a two way thing, a good website designer will naturally listen to you and trust you. Together you can make informed decisions.
Don’t ask your website designer to do you an estimate for a site with all the bells and whistles when you know it’s not within your budget. Professional websites are unique, hand crafted, organic forms they can take considerable effort to bring into being.
If you really do want all the bells and whistles then do it in stages. Even if you can afford it from the beginning you’ll be better off that way since everyone will be better informed.
Be professional with your content, don’t get your website designer to design a pixel perfect site then fill it with amateur photos and text.
Most websites designers get new business from happy clients singing their praises. It only takes few seconds to recommend a website designer to someone. If they have done a good job for your return the favour by recommending their fine services.
If you sing their praises no doubt your website designer will also be pointing business your way when ever they can.
Stopping and starting a creative project is not the way to go. Enthusiasm will be lost and if you are really slow things will go out of date before you even launch.
In a world where spam is the norm it is important to respond to emails so that everyone is clear. Otherwise your website designer will need to call or send multiple emails to check what is going on, this takes time, time is money.
If you ask a website designer for an estimate then please respond. Estimates takes time and a freelancer does not get paid for that time unless they win the work.
As with anything don’t take it all too seriously, enjoy the journey!