Starting your first website can seem like a complicated and confusing endeavor, which is probably why you’ve opted to bring in a professional to do the hard work for you, rather than risk going it alone.
Yet for newcomers, even working with an experienced and qualified web designer can feel like something of an ordeal. After all, due to the very nature of the web, not to mention the creative process involved, taking your website from the initial idea phase to the finished product is an experience all unto itself.
Thankfully, collaborating with a professional designer doesn’t have to be the nightmare it might first seem to be. If you’re thinking of outsourcing the creation of your new site but are worried about exactly what’s involved, here’s four key things you should probably know.
Building a website is a two way process – you’ll need to be involved
It’s all too tempting to think of web designer as some of kind of wonderful magicians who’ll do the whole thing for you, that all you have to do is tell them what you want, then sit back and wait for them to deliver.
Whilst this would certainly be nice, in our experience, working with a web professional is rarely -if ever- that straight forward. In most cases, you’ll be expected to play a pro-active role in the ongoing development of your site.
Sure. you won’t be asked to knock out any kind of complex code, but you will at least be asked for your input around things like choosing the perfect web hosting provider, design features and the layout of your pages.
What’s more, unless you’re working with a jack-of-all-trades web company, you’ll probably be expected to provide website content such as text and images. As most experienced web designer will tell you, one of the biggest causes of delays when putting a site together is that the client takes a long time to provide that content or feedback, so be prepared to get involved if you want your site delivered on deadline.
It may cost more than you might think
Not all websites are created equally, and in most cases you get what you pay for. If you’re after a powerful, dynamic eCommerce store complete with all the bells and whistles, you’ll be looking at spending far more than you would for a few simple pages of a brochure-style site or an online blog.
What that in mind, it’s worth getting a clear idea of exactly what you want from your site before you start. That way, you’ll be much more likely to receive a fair, accurate quote from your designer of choice.
There’s more to websites than just the design
Again, this comes down to the website content we mentioned earlier. Your designer may do a great job of making your site look beautiful, but if your content isn’t equally as good, you’re unlikely to get the kind of results you were hoping for.
If you’re not too confident about making awesome content for your site, it may be worth looking to hire a fully-comprehensive web agency who can handle that side of things along with the design, rather than a sole trader who can only provide you with an attractive template that you’ll have to fill in yourself.
You may be updating the site yourself
These days, more and more web professionals are using Content Management Systems to create websites for their clients so that once the site goes live, the ongoing updates are all down to you. This is rarely as daunting as it may sound. Most CMS platforms are simple to use, and if you can send an email or type out a document on your computer, you’ve already got all the technical skills you’ll likely need to add new content or make changes to your existing pages.
Check if your designer is using a CMS, and ensure that they’ll be on hand to provide you with some basic around the time of your go-live date. If you know in advance what kind of platform your site will be based on, this also gives you the chance to do your own research before hand and familiarise yourself with your new system.