We’ve all heard the horror stories about web design projects from hell and as a former web designer and current business owner who also hires web designers I do want to say that I’ve been on both sides of that coin. Everything starts out awesome. You have a great vision for your website, you hire an amazing web designer and everything is peachy keen but eventually something starts to feel off and things are falling apart and you’re just both getting more and more frustrated. Suddenly two totally amazing people have been reduced to lobbing insults over email or completely avoiding each other. And then comes resentment anger and complaining to your next web designer. So what went wrong there and what can we do differently so that both you and your web designer can live happily ever after?
Number one: S fees to make ends meet. What that means is that most of the time when you’re sending them an email or hoping to communicate with them you’re gonna get their divided attention and that might slow things down. It also means that when your designer is expecting something from you like files, pictures, content or anything else that’s required for them to move forward with their work it can slow things down if you’re not being prompt and run into other people’s allotted time which will slow everything down even more.
So it’s really important not to expect you know two second reply emails and super fast turnover with the different changes that you’re suggesting because your designer is working with many people at once. So the best thing you can do is stay on track with the deadlines that you agreed upon in the very beginning that you start working together and also understand that if there’s something that looks simple to change it might take a little while because of the workload that your designer has.
Number three: Estimating costs and scope creep Most web designers will give you an estimate of the project cost based on the functionality and the different things that you talk about your initial conversation. What happens if you change your mind as you start working together is that it can affect both their bottom line and their timeline. Some web designers subcontract to other designers and developers to help get your project done. And if you add on more work for them they can sometimes end up paying out more to their contractors than what they’re making project. That can make any sane person cranky. The solution here is for your web designer to stand their ground when you’re asking for new things but also free to recognize if something falls outside the scope of the initial project that you shouldn’t be pushing for it but maybe you could make it into a phase two project that you could talk about separately. Doing a phase two round of changes is also awesome because it helps you get more clear on what it is that you want and get feedback on the first round.
Number four: Communication and explaining visual aesthetics. You might have a really clear vision of what you want your website to look like and maybe your designer will be able to understand exactly what you mean by the words that you’re using to describe it or maybe they’ll have a completely different vision entirely. Communicating about visuals using just words can be difficult. So think about anything you can do to speed up the process like taking a Pinterest board and pinning different brands, colors, fonts and images that inspire you and please do not send your favorite website to your designer and say I want a website just like this. Instead point out one or two things that you specifically like about the website whether it’s the opt-in, the color or the font, the spacing but make it very specific so your website doesn’t end up looking like somebody else’s. It could take a couple of iterations for you to get exactly the right visual aesthetics so definitely be gentle and kind when you’re sending be back to your designer.
Number five: Changing technologies. Once your website is built there might be a couple of other things that you start thinking about. So for example you might start thinking about maintaining your own website and making sure that you can update it and keep it fresh or you might also be thinking about search engine optimization. Talk to designer before you start working together for your project because they may or may not be on board for doing maintenance or they might be willing to teach you how to do it but they might not be able to stay on board. Another thing that you’ll want to talk about before you hire web designer is their mobile experience and making sure that your website is responsive for smaller screens. You want to design your website with mobile first. Not all web designers are used to designing for mobile first but they may be able to refer you to somebody or have somebody else who can implement that functionality for you.
I highly recommend getting comfortable with the different technologies that are being used to build your website so for example if it’s a WordPress website definitely get comfortable updating and maintaining things so that you never feel like you’re a victim or being held hostage against your will by your web designer. You can sign up for my Websites Made Easy course to get the full down low on how to update and maintain a WordPress website if that’s what your site is built on.
Now I do not want to hear your horror stories about web designers.
What I do wanna hear is all the positive stuff. Have you had a great working experience with a web designer? Go ahead and leave a comment below and tell us what you guys did to make sure everything went so smooth.