If you’ve been approaching web design agencies or freelancers with a view to getting your first website or a revamp of your current one, you might be worried about going with the wrong company. Will they create your vision properly? Will they abandon you halfway through the job and leave you with an unfinished, non-working website? Or will they be a nightmare to work with?
These are all valid fears, but being a nightmare to work with works both ways. You want a great website that hits all the sweet spots and brings in lots of new business. Well, it helps if you’re a good web design customer, too. You might think it’s down to the web designer to do what you tell them – that the customer’s always right, etc., but this won’t do you any favors and it certainly won’t get the best out of your partnership.
So, how can you be a good web design customer and not a nightmare? Here are a few tips.
Don’t Let Your First Question Be: “How Much Does a Website Cost?”
Yes, of course you want to know how much a website’s going to cost. But until the designer knows the scope and extent of the work, they can’t give you an accurate estimate. Have a look through their portfolio to see who their clients are and if their sites are similar to what you need. This way, you’ll not only see if they can undertake a site on the scale you’re after. If their portfolio is full of fashion brands and you’re an accountant, you might not be the best fit for each other.
Once you’ve found a few designers you like the look of, let them know the kind of site you’re looking for along with your budget. They’ll let you know if that’s something they can work with. You wouldn’t expect a decorator to know how much they should charge to decorate your house until they’ve seen exactly what it is you want done, would you? It’s the same with web design.
Have a Good Idea of What You’re Looking For
Web designers aren’t mind readers. Although you might not know exactly what you want, it’ll be helpful to have some idea of sites you like or dislike. Also include info on why you like or dislike them.
There’s a good chance you’ll be sent a questionnaire to fill in and there’s also a good chance it will be long and daunting. But fill it in as completely and with as much detail as you can. It’s a key document that will help your designer know the type of site you’re after, design- and functionality-wise.
Make a List
Most small businesses need a small site. You can go a long way to becoming a good web design customer by listing the pages you need, for example: a home page, an about page, a contact form, a services page, a features page, and your terms and conditions. Just list the pages you think you’ll need, and you’re well on your way to a proper spec.
Write Some Copy
The number one thing on any website is the words. Cast your fancy graphics and transitions aside, because people will not glean anything from your website without reading the words. Heed this advice: copy comes before design. So, draft some words, start at your homepage and write down what you want to say. If that’s too hard (because copywriting is hard) then try the about page – write about yourself, what do you want to say?
If you’re stuck, then start with the easy stuff and write down what you want to say on your contact form – what do the field labels say? Every little nugget of copy helps the designer get a better understanding of what you want.
Give the Web Designer What They’ve Requested
For you to be a good web design customer and your web designer to do their job properly, you need to give them exactly what they’ve asked for and how they’ve asked for it. For example, if you’ve been asked to provide large hi-res images in a Dropbox link, don’t send a Word document embedded with small compressed images.
Also, don’t just dump everything on them and disappear. Answer their queries promptly and let them have anything else they need, such as copy and images as and when they ask.
Don’t Ask for Free Major Changes After It’s Complete
Your site’s finished and you decide you don’t like blue after all and you want it to be more pink. A few tweaks to get your site exactly how you want it is fine, but with a nod to the decorating analogy above, you wouldn’t expect your decorator to repaint your house pink for free, after you’d asked them to paint it blue, would you?
Don’t Expect to be Number One on Google the Next Day
If you’ve chosen a decent web designer (which you will have done if you’ve read this post covering questions to ask your web designer), they’ll have built you a user-friendly, accessible site with fast-loading images, etc., which are all things that make Google happy.
There’s a lot involved with SEO (Search Engine Optimization) that might be out of their scope (optimized content, for example), but you can ask at the beginning how they can help with this and what you can expect. Just don’t expect miracles.
These are just a few ways you can make your web designer’s job easier and make you a good web design customer. A good working relationship makes things easier for everyone and leaves everyone happy.