Working With A Web Designer

Most people get a little anxious when doing something for the first time. The fear of the unknown can stop you from taking steps forward, even if you know they will benefit you in the long run.

Working with a web designer is one of these mysterious unknowns that you might have some reservations about. So here I’m going to run through what you can expect when you hire a web designer to work with you to build a website for your small business.

I promise, it’s not scary and daunting and it will grow your business to new heights!

01. RESEARCH

Before you start working with a designer you’ll want to make sure you choose someone to work with who will completely understand your vision and who will be easy to work with. So it’s time to do a little online stalking and the first port of call will be their website and portfolio. Are there designs here that stand out to you or do they convey the same feeling that you want from your new brand? If you like what you see here, do a little more digging and check out the designers blog, if they have one, and their social media accounts. Here you will start to understand their personality a bit more, and if you find yourself warming to the designer then it’s time to reach out and make an enquiry about working together.

If you’ve not yet come across a designer you want to work with have a look at your favourite websites and check out who the designer was for these - they will usually be credited in the footer down at the bottom of the page. If you don’t see anything send the website owner a quick message asking about their gorgeous website and if they can share the details of their designer.

02. REACH OUT

The first step will be to make an initial enquiry, usually by email, or some designers will have a specific contact form on their web page.

Be as clear as possible in this message about what you are after. Of course it may change through discussions with your designer over the course of the project, but if you can be very descriptive about the elements you are after the designer will be in the best position possible to respond, determine if your project will be a good fit and hopefully get you a spot booked in their calendar.

Things to mention in your initial enquiry:

What you need - website, logo, full brand?

If you have an existing website, and what platform this is on?

Any websites or brands that you love and would like something similar to?

Specific features you will need in your website, that are not ‘the norm’.

03. THE CONTRACT

It’s important that you have an agreement in writing with your designer outlining what you should expect from each other. Hopefully it won’t be a long and complicated contract but it should cover:

  • What exactly you will be getting at the end of the project

  • Timescale

  • What’s expected from you

  • Costs and payment schedule

04. THE PROJECT

This is where the fun really starts! Seeing your new website come to life is such an exciting process that you should really enjoy and a good designer will help make that a reality. To ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible be sure to respond your designer as soon as you can, or within the timescales that you have both agreed to.

This is the time when you’ll start collating the content for your web designer to include in your site. They will have given you a list of what’s needed, and when, so be sure to get everything together. This will include:

  • Your branding and logo

  • Images

  • Copy - text for each of the pages

  • Log in’s for services you want to connect, such as social media, mailing list service.

05. REVIEWING THE DESIGN

It’s likely that you’ll have quite a bit of back and forth looking at options and OK-ing designs so it’s important that you’ve given some thought to your schedule around the time your design project will be taking place so you can give yourself plenty time to think about your options and give thorough feedback to your designer.

All designers work differently but there will be a similar train of development we all follow.

My process looks like this:

  • You will complete a design questionnaire - a thorough questionnaire that covers everything about your new website, what you want it to do, who it will serve, key aims, design ideas, functionality.

  • I will then create a mock-up of your homepage. This will lay out the key building blocks and functionality of the page. At this stage we will also look at how people will flow through your website and how we direct them to the content you want them to see first.

  • After some discussion and feedback from you I will build your live homepage and start to build out the remaining pages. I will send the site across to you for review at specific stages of the design.

  • When you are happy with the design we will connect your domain and social accounts and activate your Squarespace account.

THE HANDOVER

When your website is handed over to you, be sure that you have also been supplied with any log in details you may need to access your site. Hopefully your designer will give you a walk through the ‘back end’ of your site, and give you an understanding of how it works and how you can make any updates, add blog posts, etc.

At handover I will send across a series of tutorial videos, walking my client through their website, explaining how to make small changes and updates to the site. These videos are available to download and keep, allowing for reference to them in the future and feel confident with managing and maintaining their own website.

I hope that helps to demystify the web design process and gives you the confidence to reach out to a designer and get yourself and your business online.

If that designer happens to be me, then please use the button below to get in touch!

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