When you are looking for someone to create your website, you will get a lot of people out there saying they can do it. Even friends, relatives who have some basic coding and design skills will tell you they can make a killer website. Website, yes, but killer? Don’t be so sure.
One thing I always encourage people in business, more so a startup, is to go pro. If you run your business as an amateur, you will receive amateur returns. So if you get an amateur designer/developer, you are undermining the capacity to bring in the best returns from it that you are capable of.
Here are steps to take when you want to get your website done by a pro:
Get it clear what you need to be done
Though I am not a website developer, I work closely with them and I have seen clients coming in with absolute no idea on what on their website. The first thing they ask is, “How much does a website cost?” Let’s address that first; there is no standard cost for a website. A developer can have different classifications of websites to help with his pricing; therefore you need to explain what you want on your website so the developer can tell you in what category it falls under.
When asked what they want in a website, some hardly now. They say, “You know, a website to show my stuff…” What! It will sure show your stuff, you might as well print a brochure. I know, sometimes this website stuff sound too techie and you don’t want to get into that. You must, just a little, if you want to have control over your website.
Make a List
Make a list of the things you want the website to do for you and your business. Don’t speculate on what the designer or developer can or not do, they will tell you that. Your duty is to list all the things you would like your website to do. For example, I would like my website to have a shopping cart where people can buy my products; I would like to have an online payment system, I would like it to have a feature where users can upload their own photos and such.
Share a list with a potential web pro
Once you nailed on the pro, share with them what’s on your list. Ask them if they can do what you need to be done, and tick along your list. With the hope that they will be truthful, you might want to ask them a few questions on each item to see if they are up for it. The better pro is one who will add value to your list. She can tell you, “Yes, I can do that, plus this other thing that will work excellent with your product or service.”
Pick and settle
When you have settled for a web pro, and feel you can hire them, don’t do it just yet. You know you will need someone who will be there even after the website is done.
Here are some must ask questions before you seal that deal:
- Please share 3 projects you have worked on so I can view them.
- How is your availability, are you able to start immediately?
- What kind of projects you worked on and didn’t like and why?
- What do your customers like about you?
- What makes you stand out from other web designers/developers in the market?
I know, some of these questions may sound obvious or intrusive but you can learn a lot about a person and what kind of work they do from such questions. Remember you are not hiring this person for a onetime thing, but a long term relationship. Your website will need upgrading now or then, run into technical troubles or you may require some basic training on updating your site.
Cement the Relationship
Once your intuition tells you this is your guy, and you proceed to hire them, there are some things you need to lay down for your own good. Yap, you need to consummate that relationship- see what I did there? J
Ensure you have signed a contract before making payments and the work begins.
Your contract should be clear on the following:
- Payment terms: Do you make a down payment at first or full payment before the job starts?
- What happens if you don’t like the work they provide?
- What are the timelines to have the work done and has a deadline been established? You must both come to an agreement on the time frames that work for both parties.
- What happens if either party wants to cancel the project before it is done?
- Is website maintenance included in the stated cost?
- Will you receive the creative work, design, and all the original work rightfully yours?
In some small projects people do not take contracts seriously, or where trust is involved. I have been a victim of that in the past. In my work I have also seen clients who were messed up by their former designer/developer and when they come to us, we have to go through a painful process of getting original website details from the latter. Some people can be very nasty!
Getting to work
Once all the legalities have been taken care of, get to work with the designer to get the design you want. While working with designers, get as visual as you possibly can. Some descriptions you may want on your website may not paint a clear picture on the designers mind. Your description of “I want a professional looking site with a hint of blue and cream” may paint a very different picture in the designers mind. Eventually you will end up getting frustrated that they don’t get it.
The solution here is to get other websites which you like, pick a number, and explain to the designer what mixture you would like to have your final design.
Learn How to Update your Website
Now that you got your pro, follow through the process and please don’t act ignorant. As much as you may not be a technical person, know a few things about the website. My team and I always recommend the use of WordPress websites. They have great designs that can be customized for you, SEO friendly and you can learn how to update easily. Ask your developer to teach you how to update content, create pages and blog posts, upload images and videos, add widgets or change theme if you must.
Now that you got your website ready, add content, get the original rights, and kick ass in your business!
All the best!
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