5 Tips for Working with a Designer on your Website
August 9, 2017
I get it! The website design process can seem a little intimidating, from the outside looking in. But, it seriously, shouldn’t be at all! I want to show you how easy the process is to follow and also, go over a few things that tend to slow the design process down. That way, you know what they are upfront and can avoid them when your project starts. Here are my tips for working with a designer on your custom website design.
Finish Your Client Homework
Before a design project begins, I send my clients homework so that I can better understand their business, their audience and what their goals are for the website. I like to give my clients a good amount of time to really dive into their homework before our project start date. So, I always schedule my projects at least 3 weeks in advance.
My client homework includes a client questionnaire and copy creation workbook. The client questionnaire doesn’t take too long, but, is a very important step in the process. In the questionnaire you will be asked to answer general questions about your business, your current brand/website and if you have any particular design inspiration that I should keep in mind. The more detailed your answers are here, the better. These kinds of questions allow me to dive deep into what your biz is all about, so that, I can design the site for your audience. So, don’t rush through your answers!
I made the copy creation workbook when I realized that a common pain point for my clients, was writing their copy. Now, I’m not a copywriter, by any means, but I love to help out my clients in any way possible! The workbook includes a checklist of things that should be included on each web page, so you don’t forget anything. I give some general advice on copywriting so that you can tell a story in an effective way. Most importantly, the workbook includes my favorite exercise to identify your target market. You’ll work on choosing just one person to speak to on your website and go into detail about who that person is. Although this is an optional part of the process, I really encourage my clients to work on any parts of the workbook that they find helpful!
I also require copy and imagery before a project begins. So make sure that you leave yourself enough time, to write your copy and find quality imagery, before your project start date. In the past, I didn’t require content up-front but found that often, the project would be delayed while I waited for the copy. Once I finally got the copy, I would usually have to re-work the design or re-develop a page to make it work for the copy I received – causing projects take longer than they should have. No more! Now, I ask for copy up-front to make my design process more effective and more efficient.
Talk about project goals
During the first week of our project together, we will meet on Skype for a Creative Strategy Session, where we will go over all of your homework and discuss the best way to move forward with the website design. This is our chance to make sure that we are on the same page.
This is also the time that we will be discussing your project goals in detail. Things to think about in advance are:
- Where do you want to drive traffic to your website?
- What is the end goal for users on the site?
- Do you want to grow your email list?
- Should people enter a sales funnel on your site?
- Do you want people to inquire about your services or should they be able to purchase online?
This is your chance to give me all the nitty gritty details about how you want your website to work. This is also my chance to tell you what I think would be best for your biz.
Feel free to bring up anything you want me to think about when designing your website. This could be something goal oriented, that you simply didn’t think about before, or maybe, it’s that you want to add on another page to your website. Whatever’s on your mind, make sure that you mention it during our creative strategy session.
Communication is Key
My entire design process is mapped out in my project management app, Asana. Once the project starts, I will invite you to join me in this easy to use platform so that we can collaborate. This is super helpful, for a number of reasons! The main one being, that all of our communication will take place in one spot – so, no need to search through your inbox ever again. As organized as things are in Asana, that doesn’t mean that the project can’t get off track. Communication is key to ensure that your website launches on time!
Due dates will be set in Asana for project deliverables and client feedback. So, if a date is set to provide feedback, make sure to schedule some time in your day to reply to that message in Asana and let me know what your thoughts are. Don’t leave me hanging! This is the number one way that projects timelines get pushed back.
Sometimes deadlines cannot be met because of personal reasons and that is completely understandable. We’re all human, and things come up! Again, don’t leave me hanging. I would much rather know up-front that you have to delay feedback for a couple of days then wonder what happened to you. I seriously will start to worry about you. 😜
Know What’s Included
I’m always very upfront about what is included and what isn’t in each of my design packages. But, make sure that you look over the project proposal in detail before securing a place on my calendar. If you have any questions about what’s included, then go ahead and ask! I’m very flexible and can add on additional comps or rounds of changes if you already know that this is something that you want.
Knowing what’s included, will give you a good idea of what you’ll need to work on, to keep the project moving and what I will be responsible for. It’s also super important so that you don’t go over the original project scope. So, check out the proposal and contract in detail before you sign. If you do need to add something on later, it’s not a huge deal. But know, that it might cost a little extra and is likely to affect the overall project deadline.
Trust in the Process
I’ve been designing websites for a very long time and developed my design process over a number of years. I know my design process like the back of my hand and trust that it brings my clients the best results. I’ve refined my process to make it more efficient so that I can turn around, quality websites, quickly. Every designer’s process will be a little different, but, each one is tailor made for that designer and client.
Please don’t feel like you need to re-invent the wheel when you’re invited into Asana. It’s totally fine if you want to add a couple of tasks, along the way. Especially if they are for you – and help your process out. But, please don’t remove tasks, change due dates or add things on that are out of the project scope.
If you have a question, you can shoot me an email or send a conversation in Asana. Then, I can read the question and add a to-do item, if necessary, so that it fits into the design process in a way that makes sense.
Remember, you chose the website designer that you’re working with for a reason. You probably fell in love with one of the designs in her portfolio or you liked what one of her previous clients had to say about working with her! Guess what?! She got those results for that client by following the same process, that you’re going through now. So, trust in the process and reap the rewards 💕
I hope this provides a little clarity about what the best ways are to communicate with your designer. Most importantly, I hope that this made you feel a little more comfortable with the process! If you do decide to work with me, I will guide you through every step of the process so there’s really nothing to worry about!
If you’re interested in learning more about how a custom website can elevate your brand then check out the digital presence package. Spots are filling up quickly for this Fall!