When you're still trying to grow your small business, hiring someone to help you can be scary. Will it be worth it? Is the person you're hiring trustworthy? Maybe you've been burned in the past by a designer and you're scared to hire someone else because of the cost involved. Or maybe you're afraid that by hiring someone to design your website, you have to give up total control and just hope that the design benefits your business.
It shouldn't be that way.
Yes, investing in something as big as a website is an expense (in both time and money), but a good website designer will help your business grow and will create something that goes beyond just a pretty layout.
5 ways hiring a website designer will benefit your business
- A website designer will help you build a website that meets your needs and can grow with you. Your designer should ask you about your goals for the future and how you would like to see your business grow so that they can choose a platform and design a website that can accommodate those things down the road. Functionality that's only good for what you're doing right now will limit you in the future.
- A website designer will help you figure out what you need to include on your website. Just like you're the expert in your field, your designer is an expert in theirs. They will work with you to choose which pages should be included on your website and help you figure out what's most important. They can also give advice on they types on content you need based on your industry (although they probably can't create that content for you).
- A website designer will help guide you in what content you need to create. Once you know which pages you need on your website, your designer should give you a list on the content they will need from you. This includes text for your pages, images, old blog content, and even what you want to say on the landing page after someone submits a contact form.
- A website designer will create and implement systems that help you run your business more efficiently. If your designer knows how your business runs and where you struggle, they can create systems that will turn your website into your best employee. This can include hooking your subscribe forms directly into your email course, helping you set up an auto-responder to contact form submissions, or creating a order tracking system that makes it easy for you to get products to your customers quickly.
- A website designer can offer on-going support so you don't have to try to do it all on your own. Even after your website launches, your designer can still be an important part of your team. Many designers offer retainer support that allows you to send them smaller changes as needed. This means that you always have a designer who knows your website on hand to help when you don't have time to do it yourself.
While you're still responsible for being a part of the design process, hiring a professional designer who has worked on similar websites in the past means that you'll have guidance and support every step of the way.
5 Things to Expect from Your Designer
- Questionnaires to get to know your needs. Before starting a website design project, your designer will need to know what you need from your website, from e-commerce to email marketing and everything in between.
- A to-do list of what they need from you. This will include content, feedback, and final approval and will keep the project running smoothly - as long as you meet your deadlines.
- Consistent communication. Your designer should be in contact with you consistently (at least a few times a week) to share updates and check in with your progress on anything you have to deliver to them. Each designer communicates differently, so make sure that you understand their system and follow it so that you can make sure you're staying up to date throughout your project.
- The change to review the design. While your website designer is the expert on website design, they should still get your feedback before making the site live. This is your chance to ask questions, share your thoughts, and ask for changes.
- Support and updates during launch. After everything is designed and ready to go, your designer should still be communicating with you regularly about launching your website. Most designers will help you with this step, but even if you're doing it yourself, they can still give advice and instructions.
Working with a website designer, no matter what platform you're on, should make the process easier because you have someone you can trust and who will coach your though it.
5 things I need from every client
But even though I'm the design expert, I still need my clients to be committed to the process and ready to complete their end.
- Honesty. I expect my clients to be honest with me every step of the way. If they don't understand something, don't like an idea, or need more time, my clients need to let me know so that I can best serve them.
- Hard work. At the beginning of every project, I send my clients a list of things that I need from them as well as a timeline with deadlines. If these aren't met, it can put the whole project behind and can result in extra charges. Clients have to be willing to put in the work to get the results that they're hoping for.
- Login information. In order to finalize any design, I need to be able to connect a website to the correct places. This includes social media, email platforms, and domain hosting. Without the correct usernames and passwords, I'm at a standstill, so I request this information early and test it to make sure I have everything I need.
- Ideas and inspiration. You know what you like and don't like better than I do. And since I can't read minds, my clients need to send my ideas and inspirations for both their brand and website design. That way, I can make sure we're on the same page and that the final website is one my client will love.
- Feedback. I want feedback from my clients. If there is something they love or something they want to change, I need to know about it so that I can deliver the best product possible in order to help my client's business.
No matter who you hire to help you with your website design, the process involves both of you, so make sure that the designer you're working with fits your needs and that you can work within their systems.
Lemon and the Sea is a brand and website design company located in Richmond, VA. I specialize in making the branding process personal. I work with creative women who have a heart to serve others grow their businesses so they can focus on what's most important - family. I work closely with small businesses to help them dig into what makes them unique, share their vision, and build a business that genuinely represents who they are.