HIRING A WEB DESIGNER - ALL THE DEETS!
Hiring a web designer can be a daunting task. (Here goes another analogy) Essentially, a website is your business’s home and you don’t want a contractor with shoddy work who only cares about the aesthetics and not bones/structure.
Sticking with the home comparison for a minute – CONGRATS! Just like buying a home is exciting, so is building a new website!
A website is an investment in your business and can help launch you into the next level of success. Yourwebsite gives you a foundation and provides a feeling of trust in customers. An organized, clear and concise website will help you and your business look legit (whether you have owned your company for 10 years or you’re an entrepreneur has only been at it for 10 months).
Just like you specialize in your business, a web designer specializes in… web design. So, hiring a web designer will let you focus on your full-time job maintaining your company, while he/she professionalizes your online presence. I am 100% sure you have spent some time researching different web designers and marketing agencies that promise a stellar website – here is a list to keep handy as you narrow down the search.
After an initial discussion with the web designer and deciding to work with him/her – you will need to make an initial deposit (anywhere between 25%-50%). At this time, you will schedule when your website will be built, this will depend on availability and current workload (could be a week or a month out).
If you’re looking to have a website built, odds are you wanted it done six months ago… I totally get it! It’s important to understand that every client a designer works with has the same deadline of “yesterday”. Having to book out a couple weeks or even a month is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you want a web designer who knows what they are doing. Web designers that are booking out tend to more desirable and skilled.
The remaining 50%-75% of the payment will be due once the website is completed. Some designers will split up the last payment into two smaller payments.
I would expect a strict no refund policy.
When signing on with a web designer – you will sign a contract before any work on your website begins. The contract will outline what’s included in the web design process, including:
- Number of pages
- Any plugins or added elements that will be required
- Turnaround time
- Payment terms
A contract ensures that you know exactly what you are getting and what the designer is going to deliver. It’s a way to guarantee both parties know exactly what to expect in this process.
I always recommend that you actually read the contract before you sign, these days it’s so easy to just check the “Terms & Conditions” box that sometimes we forget what we are agreeing to – if you have a question, ask the web designer (I am always happy to walk clients through my contract).
For example, most web designers have a note that designer accreditation must be included on all completed web pages (e.g. Site designed by X). Some designers will allow you to remove this for an additional fee.
LENGTH OF PROJECT
Having work in advertising agencies for the past six years, I have seen website projects take a couple weeks to a couple months to over a year. Smaller projects take less time and client schedules definitely set the pace for revisions rounds and approvals.
In typical website builds, there is a “target launch date” but we all know how that works… Sites that are built on WordPress tend to take a bit more work on the backend and require plugins and additional coding.
A couple of us web designers have noticed a trend – clients don’t want to spend 4-5 months building a website! I employ a unique process, I will build a full customer website in 2 weeks. You have a guaranteed start date and a guaranteed end date. During that time, I am all yours, I do not double book myself. This process requires responsiveness from client – once we hit that second week, providing that feedback as quickly as possibly is essential.
The thought of rounds and rounds of revisions can be scary… “how much is this going to cost me?” Typically, web designers and marketing agencies have 2-3 rounds built into their website packages. Additional rounds, edits and tweaks will cost additional.
With the 2 week process, my clients are allowed as many revisions as they like… within the second week of revision phase.
Websites built with extra backend coding and plugins will usually result in ongoing maintenance. Web designers will provide monthly maintenance plans at a premium. This is my favorite aspect of Squarespace – after the 2 week website build, I am able to hand the entire site over you. The Squarespace team is amazing at helping take care of any problems or updates that should arise once the site has been built.
On the last day of our 2 weeks together, I walk you through all of your website specifics. You will feel confident in making content updates, changing out images, and adding blog posts. Rather than a pre-recorded lesson, we will do a live screenshare and I will walk you through your website. Our one-hour tutorial will be recorded so you can reference it later if anything comes up that you are questioning or forgot!
The education portion of your website is important – make sure your web designer provides some sort of tools to help you once they have built your website.
A couple options when you work with a web designer:
- All content and photos are required up front before any design work is started
- The basic framework of the website is built with GREEK and placeholder images
Everyone has what works for them, but my recommendation and preferred process is the first – and it results in a much better product. Providing all of your copy and images up front will allow the web designer to gather as much information about your company as possible… those words or images might spark a design idea or special formatting. Let me tell you, have all of that content up front really helps with the review and approval process.
I try to book out clients at least one month out to allow enough time for content creation and curation. Gives you a chance to live with it and craft exactly what you want on your site without feeling rushed.
Voila! You are well on your way to having the website of your dreams! Rush the process and you could find yourself with a web designer you are unhappy with and needing a total rebuild. You don’t want a home that leaks every time it rains – build it right the first time.
Like the idea of a two week custom website for your business or startup? Give me a shout!