When booking discovery calls with potential clients, I feel excited for this lovely person and their journey ahead. I genuinely want to help them improve their brand through a gorgeous online home, and working with a web designer is a big step for someone to take.
The costs around web design can be rather vague (and they vary considerably from designer to designer), which doesn’t do much for the overall perception of web designers. I don’t like this practice and thus I am very specific with my clients about what they’re paying for and what my service includes.
I can’t speak for all web designers here. However, what I’ve gleaned from conversations with a few of my peers, I can happily say that my sentiments are heartily echoed. What follows are a few of the misconceptions I’ve come across. I hope to give you more insight into working with a web designer so that you can get the best out of your relationship with your designer.
A Web Designer does not just put Text and Images on a Page
When you come to us for web design, you’re coming to us for far more than that. I ask questions in my discovery calls that help me to find out what your business does, I ask about your story, and I find out more about the person behind the business. I do this to get an idea of the general design aesthetic you may gravitate towards.
Added to the visual design (the layout), I handle the site’s SEO, create a visitor’s experience of the site, write and edit web copy, and optimise images for the web (resize, rename, alt-tag). I also add a few nifty features to make your site extra special, and then ensure that the systems I’ve put in place all work together beautifully.
What’s also incredibly important to me is to understand your business: what you do, how you generate leads, and what you’d like your site to do for you. Then I suggest ways to make your site work even harder so that it serves a purpose apart from merely displaying information. All of this is to make your website a strategic player in your business success.
A Web Designer Cannot Read your Mind
I sincerely wish I could read minds and be able to create a perfect website the first time round. But that’s not possible. Changes, reviews and revisions are part of the process, and there’s usually a specified number of changes included in the quote. Making allowance for revisions is an industry standard, but the number of revisions included in a quote can vary a little.
Tell me what you don’t like about your current website, or show me a site you came across online and tell me what you don’t love about it. Even more importantly, try to determine why you don’t like it. Giving constructive feedback is such an important part of the process, and I deeply value clients who can articulate why something doesn’t work for them.
Tell me what you like; whether it’s on someone else’s site, your existing site, your competitor’s site, or a site that isn’t related to your industry at all. Then tell me what you like about it – the colours, the text, the layout, the general feeling you get from a website. All of those are important and contribute to my being able to deliver a great final product that you will love.
A Web Designer does not know your Business as well as You do
I have the good fortune of working with people in very diverse industries. Each client I work with teaches me something new. I love learning about other industries and the businesses that operate within them.
What I find most helpful is to get an understanding of a client’s business so that I can create a website that better serves the client and the business. I like knowing how a client works with you so that I can create a website to help your potential client understand how you can help them. I like to say that I’m not making a website for you, I’m making a website for your clients.
Getting a deeper understanding of a business also helps me to write copy for that website. That way, I’m able to write authentic copy that speaks to your clients about their pain points and the problems that you help them to solve.
Our Processes are all Different
The process of designing a website varies considerably from designer to designer. Chat with your designer about the process they follow when designing a site. Talk about everything from onboarding, invoicing, file sharing, sharing work for review, and how to manage the back-and-forth communications that will surely follow from such a project.
I love setting out the process for my clients and communicating consistently about the progress of the project. This helps to keep them in the picture and allows for quick communication if the project requires feedback or further information before work can continue. I also create a project board in Trello and add my client to it so that they can get an overview as well as a detailed breakdown of the steps being taken next.
When I’m focused on a website, I prioritise communication with the client, I block off focused time in my calendar to work on the project and I only work on one website at any one point. These are only a few of the ways that help me to ensure that I’m delivering a quality product to my client. I care deeply about making beautiful websites that take your business further.
If you’d like to chat to me about what your website can do for your business, or if you’d like help with DIYing your site, drop me a message through my contact page.
Melissa De Klerk
Writer, Web Designer, Digital Media Strategist, Typophile, Inspiration Junkie, Yogi
Melissa is the owner and creative brain behind Fox & Owl Media. She loves creating content strategies and has considerable experience with Website Design and Brand Management.
You can contact her here, and find her on social media by clicking the links below.