Question 4: What do you need from me?
Before starting a project you should ask the designer (or other service provider) what they will need from you to get started. For example, our clients need to set up their hosting plan and give us their content (text and images) and all relevant passwords. If the package comes with hosting you won’t need to worry about setting that up.
Having everything ready before the project starts will make the project go more smoothly. And if there’s anything you need to get before you start (like a high resolution file of your logo) you can figure that out beforehand.
Question 5: How do we communicate?
In a world with so much technology it’s easy to be available 24/7. And it’s easy to forget that web designers (and other service providers) are human beings with their own lives and aren’t going to be available on demand. Unless of course, you find someone who is willing to be on call for an additional fee, that’s something you need to agree on up front. The amount and method of access needs to be discussed and agreed on so that there are no miscommunications and awkward conversations around missed expectations.
For us, we prefer to communicate by e-mail because there’s a paper trail of everything we’ve talked about, and because we generally have babies in the background so phone calls aren’t always a great idea. Some people prefer to do Zoom or Voxxer. Just like with everything else there’s no right or wrong, only what works for you and your designer. If you like hopping on the phone for weekly recaps and your designer also loves being on the phone because they don’t constantly have to yell over babies, that’s great!
So that’s what you really need to figure out early on, what kind of access will you have during the project? If you have a question how would you communicate that to your designer? If you have concerns, how do you communicate that? What is a reasonable amount of time to expect an answer to an e-mail? Our response time is generally 24 to 48 hours unless it’s on the weekend, and I think that’s pretty standard for most people. So unless you’ve got an SOS thing where your designer is supposed to be on standby for a launch, you’ll need to expect that responses won’t be instantaneous.
When you’re talking to a designer just be upfront about what you need and they can tell you if it’s something that they can do or not. If you want to hop on the phone constantly it probably won’t work if your designer doesn’t offer phone calls or if they charge $100 per call (because that would add up fast!).
We totally get how nerve wracking it can be to hand over parts of your business, we have a hard time with it too. Especially when you don’t know what you don’t know, it’s easy to just say, I’ll figure it out later.
Hopefully these five questions give you a head start in your search for a designer, because it can be a significant investment and you wouldn’t want to find out the hard way that the person you chose isn’t on the same page about any of the important stuff.
We’ve been there, done that, it’s not a fun place to be.
Asking all this ahead of time means you can get all the details sorted early on then you can get to the fun part of designing your site! And if you run into someone who can’t or won’t take the time to answer your questions on a short call, you might consider if you want to hand over such a huge part of your marketing to someone who can’t spare a few minutes to figure out if the project is a good fit (because it is a two way street!).