Hiring A Web Designer: A Few Tips
I’ve recently run across a few small businesses that are still paying huge amounts of money to be in the yellow pages and these same businesses balk at spending money to build a decent website or create a modest content building strategy.
I ask myself the question, do small business owners still not understand the importance of being on the web and do they think a website is some sort of static advertisement that never needs updating?
I’ll address those question in a post later on this week, today I want to share tips that every business owner should follow when hiring a web designer. Additionally every web designer also needs to follow these simple steps so each side is protected from expectation creep.
- Have Everything In Writing: Even a simple website design can be have dozens of details that easily can get tied up in misunderstandings if not written down. As an example, if the web designer uses colors the client doesn’t expect it can lead to hours of wasted time and hard feelings on both sides. Include all features agreed to within the contract. Examples:
- Number of Pages
- Database Setup
- Shoping Cart
- Images or Videos
- Newsletter Signup
- Special Coding
- Page Content
- Set Deadlines And Expectations: The contract should have dates and expectations clearly defined. In addition to the obvious completion date, there should also be dates for at least two versions: the first draft and the second draft (or sometimes referred to as “alpha” and “beta”).
- Create A Time-line: Have the web designer craft a realistic time-line for each step of the process. Start when you’ll be presented with the first draft of the new website and continue through to the date for the site going live.
- Include A Wire Frame: Ask that a wire frame version of the website be created and put on the web for you to refer to. This will give you idea of how things like header and column widths will look like in different browsers. If the header is so large it obscures your intro text the wire frame will alert you to this along with other potential problems.
- Don’t Upgrade The Project: Once you and your designer have signed the contract with all its details stick to the plan. Adding bells and whistles midway through the project will only derail the project and could also ruin the design. If necessary sit down and rewrite the contract with full knowledge that changes cost money and time
- Own Everything: Don’t for a second leave the hosting of the domain name and website in the hands of the web designer. As part of the contract have everything hosted with a 3rd party and make sure you have all administrator passwords in your possession from the beginning. If need be have your web person guide you through the process to aquire a web host and domain host. This little tip can save you lots of money if something goes wrong with the business relatioship.
- Paper Paper Paper: Make sure everything is written down on paper and signed. All expectations for both parties need to be on paper and include any penilties for missed deadlines from either party
- Two Way Street: Creating and deploying a website requires many steps and may include the delivery of content such as text, images and videos from the business owner. It’s very important for the success of the project that the business also sticks to the agreed to timeliness for delivery of materials.
- Be Involved: You don’t want to hover of the web designers shoulder but you do want to keep you fingers on the pulse of the project. Communicate often through email and on the phone. Be involved so that you understand what’s going on and what things do. Oh and it’s ok to compliment your designer every once in a while.
- Create A Backup: Make sure a a regular backup routine is implemented. The regular backup will protect you in case of a crash or hack. Bad things can and do happen to websites.
It sure can seem like hiring a web designer is a huge task. But if you think about the results you are asking your new website to deliver the importance of it becomes clearer. Your web designer is helping you to create something that hopefully will bring you new business and showcase you and your company in the best light possible.