This is the first in a three part series of posts designed to help you when you’re working with a site designer.
Hiring someone to be your site designer can be a tricky if you haven’t done your research or you’re in a massive rush to get a website launched, yesterday.
You the client are in an awkward spot because you’ve never hired a site designer before and your site designer is in the awkward spot of trying to determine what you need/what/how to best help you.
Not all site designers or clients are created equally.
It only takes a few wonky conversations early on before someone feels uncomfortable.
YIKES – no one not you or your site designer wants to feel uncomfortable. Everyone wants to focus on the end goal, the result, the cupcake in the sky site that’s going to be AH-MAZING.
But, before you go off signing contracts and payin’ deposits here are a few things you need to know … before you get started on your site design project.
Disclaimer! I’m speaking from my own personal first hand knowledge about the site designer/client relationship here.
Even the best site designers on the planet and the best clients on the planet can bump heads if these things aren’t 100% clear. The crux of the problems usually come when the things inside a site design project aren’t clearly defined (or understood) by both parties. Clear – precise communication is the key to having a successful and beneficial relationship on both sides.
Warning! You don’t want a pissy site designer if you’re a client and you don’t want a pissy client if you’re a site designer.
Also, your site designer doesn’t want to feel like they’re being pissy and you the client don’t want to feel like you’re being pissy. Everyone wants to feel and be made to feel like they are smiling while riding a unicorn across the rainbow. Like kids holding hands playing games in the sandbox.
First: Know your roles.
Your site designer isn’t a catchall for everything under the sun. You’re hiring a site designer to do a specific job for you. To design your site. A site designer has skills in the area of making the shell that your website lives in.
If you’re hopping on a consultation call with a potential site designer ask them …
What role will you play as the site designer of my website?
Be prepared because site design isn’t a catchall replacement for multiple roles in your business like:
- Graphic design.
- Virtual Assistant.
- Project Manager.
- Hosting issues and hosting tech support.
- Content creator.
- Business consulting.
- Serving up your plan of action to run your business.
- Grand mac daddy provider of all things holy you can think of that you’d like done or whipped up.
Sure, some site designers have people on their team that can make these things happen – but, your site designer is not a magical unicorn put here to do everything for you.
Don’t you as the client want to know exactly what you’re getting! Yes, you DO.
It’s not a situation where you can hand it all off to a designer and go on your merry way while it just appears ready to launch.
One of my favorite people Chris Ducker talks about this thing when you’re hiring your first Virtual Assistant.
People make the mistake – all the time – of thinking that their VA can do everything under the sun and that you only need this one VA to get it all done.
The same thing holds true for your site designer.
There’s no magic person available for hire that can do and be your everything in just one person!
It takes a village to raise a website.
A site designer should be able to give you a clear idea of what they can, can’t, will and won’t do for you as your site designer.
What role will I (the client) play in my website?
Your site designer will let you know what you’ll be doing during your project time together.
Be prepared! Most people in the site design phase are shocked to find that they’ll be working just as hard as the site designer.
Yep. You’ll have things that will be “due” to your site designer like:
- Sending over copy and page content if your designer is adding them to your site.
- Sending over graphics you’d like added to your site.
- Answering millions of tiny questions to peek at something and say yes or heck no.
- Making tons of decisions based on recommendations from your site designer.
In all – you’ll be working your sweet buns off to help your site designer help you.
Add to this a really tight timeline and having to have everything ready tomorrow and you’ll feel like you’re running a race to keep up with your site designer.
Second: What’s included in my site design project.
(And, more importantly – what’s NOT included.)
You and your site designer need to come up with a list of things that are and are not included in your site design project. Some things you need to know are:
- Number of pages.
- Style of pages – all the same or different looks.
- Who’s adding the copy to the pages?
- What and for how long do I have support for my project.
- What happens after my included support ends?
- What will I know about using my site?
This list could go on and on.
But, it’s mercy me important that you know these things BEFORE you sign contracts and pay deposits.
Nothing is worse than starting a project only to find it has way more needed than you included as the site designer.
Nothing is worse as a client than not having what you thought you purchased!
This leads to the proposal process.
Your site designer should send over a well crafted proposal BEFORE you pay a deposit or sign a contract. The proposal includes an overview of what y’all have hashed out in your consultation so everyone is on the same page BEFORE money gets involved.
Third: The Contract and Payment Process.
During this critical step everything from the well outlined proposal will be served up all official like with a contract for both the site designer and the client to sign.
Both peeps should thoroughly read and review this contract BEFORE money is paid based on the contract.
A well crafted contract will spell things out in black and white, included fees, scope (details) of the project, timelines, support, extra fees that can be added for out of scope stuff, hours your site designer considers working hours, and refund policies.
If you’re the client look over this like a hawk to make sure you’re 100% in before you pay your deposit.
This is a list of sorts that you’ll want to check it twice because once money enters the project that makes it 100% real!
Phew, there you have it!
Three things you need to know when you’re hiring a site designer.
Once both sides are super clear it’s time to pay that deposit – and do a happy dance towards your website!