Preparing to start a new website project can be exciting, but there is also a lot to be considered. Choosing the right web designer is crucial in ending up with a website that properly reflects your business and helps you achieve your goals.
And let’s be real – getting the website design right is crucial. In fact, 48% of people cited a website’s design as the number one factor in deciding the credibility of a business. Working with a web designer has its challenges. How can you ensure that you get everything that you want while staying on budget and not being frustrated along the way? We’re here to help you get that sorted out.
Here are 8 tips for working with a web designer to ensure you find success.
Have a clear understanding of your goals
One of the most important steps for a business owner to undertake when planning their new website is to understand what they are trying to accomplish by having a website. While this may seem obvious, being able to clearly state what purpose your website is going to serve is invaluable to your web designer in the initial stages – plus they’ll be able to give input on how to best design and develop your site to meet your goals.
Examples of the purpose for your website:
- generate more qualified leads for your business
- improve your lead conversion rates
- raise awareness for your products or brand
- generate more online sales
The clearer you are in stating your objectives upfront the easier it will be for your web designer to build you a website that meets those goals. If you aren’t sure, have an open discussion with potential partners and they will be able to help you establish some goals.
Get ready to communicate
Your web designer will guide you through the process of planning and designing the new website, but don’t assume they can read your mind. Being able to communicate your likes and dislikes early in the process will save time and be appreciated. Let them know if you have preferences for the fonts, colours, and general style. If you have branding that is planned or in place already you should share that information upfront so your website remains consistent and on-brand. Alternatively, you could also share examples of other websites that you like to help communicate your ideas for the project.
Find a website design expert that fits
A quick search on Google for “web designers near me” turned up over 10 million results. Now there aren’t really 10 million web designers in my local area, but there a lot of choices to select from. Narrowing down the candidates and selecting who you choose to work with is important in finding success for your project. Ideally, you’ll find someone who feels like a partner for your business.
Don’t just look for the cheapest option. You want to work with someone who you can trust, has a proven track record, and has shown the ability to produce work that you like. Do your research, look at their portfolios, read their testimonials, and see how closely they match your requirements.
In addition, find someone you feel like you would enjoy working with. Personality clashes can quickly derail a project, so take the time to talk with your potential partners and ensure there is a fit.
Have a defined budget and scope of work
Getting quotes for your project is part of the process. Talk to a few potential web designers, see if there looks to be a fit, and then ask them to send over a scope of work and proposed budget. Too often we get requests from potential clients saying they would like a quote sent to them without as much as a phone call – this isn’t helpful. Guessing at the scope of work and the client’s needs is a waste of everyone’s time. Besides, there are a lot of variables in determining what your website will cost.
Don’t skip the steps of having a clear plan for your project and then taking the time to discuss with some experts. Allowing for conversation and questions will get you a well-defined scope of work and quote.
You should also have a rough budget of what you are willing to spend in mind. But keep your expectations in line with what you want. For example, asking for a full e-commerce ready website with custom integrations for $500 isn’t realistic. But you should know what you can spend, and try to get the most out of your budget. A good web designer will be open with their pricing and help you understand the value that they offer.
Trust the web design process
You’ve spent the time selecting the partner you want to work with on your website. Trust was built, you like their portfolio, and you’ve given clear guidance on expectations for both the style and functionality. Now is the time to let your web designer bring their expertise to the table and get to work.
Web design is a process, however. You’ll be asked for feedback along the way on things that you like and don’t like, and in turn, the design can be tweaked to fit your vision. But this is where you should also listen to the recommendations being made. They will also know the key components that your website will need to help your business goals, so take this into consideration.
Allow some room for the designer to work with your requirements without micromanaging along the way. This will typically get you better overall results.
Commit to your involvement
The scope of work that you received along with your budget should outline the responsibilities for both you and your web designer. We use the word partner in this article, and as a partner, you’ll be expected to pull your weight on the agreed-upon items. Projects can grind to a halt if you aren’t involved in the steps as required. Examples of items where you may/will need to be involved include:
- providing branding guidelines if applicable
- getting images sent on time
- creating copy for the website
- timely review and approval of designs throughout the process
- providing clear and constructive feedback
These steps will help your website designer not only get the project completed in a timely manner, but will also help you get a website that fits your needs, styles, and objectives.
Be prepared to give direct feedback
Micromanaging throughout is not going to help the process. But you should be providing some strong, clear, constructive feedback when requested. When we ask for feedback, we expect honest feedback – even if you think you will hurt our feelings. Trust me, it won’t.
Non-direct or wishy-washy feedback slows down the process. For a designer, it is also frustrating to try and guess what the customer has in mind. Just tell us.
Take the time to pull together your thoughts. Let us know what you like in the project so far, and let us know if there are things that you really don’t like. This will help us narrow the design focus down quicker and create a website you are happy with.
Build a relationship
Getting your website completed and ready to go live is an in-depth process. Throughout the journey from start to finish, you’ll have spent a fair amount of time communicating with your website designer. Don’t take this for granted, once the project is completed, having a continued working relationship with the person or team who built your site is fruitful for everyone.
First, they’ll be the best fit to continue your site maintenance and updates. Hourly work on your site or a monthly retainer will allow you to keep things up to date and current going forward. We encourage our customers to continually update their images and check their content for accuracy, and since we built the site we are able to do it quickly and keep the costs down.