As bloggers, we often want to do everything ourselves. Especially if we’re just starting out, the prospect of spending money on our projects is about as appealing as putting glass into our eyes.
So we try to do EVERYTHING ourselves. We install WordPress ourselves. We sign up to Twitter ourselves. We even install a website theme ourselves.
But then we come to the hard things – the things that require actual talent, such as customizing the theme we’ve paid for.
The perils of trying to do everything yourself
When I started my blog, I wanted it to stand out, so I tried to customize it as much as possible. Let’s just say that the results were not that good:
But I didn’t give up! I tinkered and tinkered and spent two months trying to create something passable. My pride couldn’t allow me to hire someone to make my website for me. It was only after I read this article from Blogging Bistro that I changed my mind and decided it was time to hire a professional.
But I made yet another mistake.
Beware: Not Every ‘Professional’ is Professional
After I finally decided to hire someone to make my website for me, I again had to try to be smarter than everyone else and do it my way. I thought I’d cheat the system by hiring a “web designer” on fiverr.com.
This resulted in the creation of the ugliest website on the planet!
…And the ugliest logo:
The benefits of hiring a true professional
I went from that to this:
The guy I hired was able to do everything I needed without me having to learn complicated code. But hiring the right guy was only half the equation…
10 Steps for Working With Your Web Designer
1. Be clear about the purpose of your website.
No designer will create the perfect site for you unless you know your goals. Be as exact and precise as possible about what you want and use visual references to communicate. Designers get frustrated when you expect them to read your mind. They don’t know what a ‘cool’ or ‘edgy’ website means to you. Don’t be ambiguous or you’ll waste time and money because you weren’t clear on what you wanted.
2. Know your industry.
Chances are your designer doesn’t know your industry or niche as well as you do. A handful of notes will help your designer optimize your site for your target market.
3. List websites you like the look of.
The best way to save your time and your designer’s time is to give your web designer a list of websites that you like and don’t like.
4. Set a budget.
Before you begin contacting web designers, know how much you’re willing to pay for their services.
5. Don’t try to do the designer’s job.
Don’t be a know-it-all. If you want changes made to the design draft, list them, but don’t tell your designer how to fix it.
6. Be honest and decisive but don’t nitpick.
The goal is to get something good, to release it, and test it in the real world.
7. Have a long-term view on the relationship.
The truth is that you’ll always need to make updates to your sites. It’s the nature of technology.
8. Ask to see live projects.
To make sure that you’re hiring a true professional, ask to see live projects or samples the designer has produced recently. Make sure you like the style and “feel” of the samples.
9. Ask for references.
Some people I contracted on fiverr sent me to example websites and claimed they had designed them. It’s important to contact the owner of the sample websites and ask whether they’d hire this designer again and whether they are happy with the work.
10. Establish deadlines.
Make sure both parties agree on a time frame and and understand what will happen if deadlines are extended. Ask how many revisions are included in the contract, find out whether you’ll receive the Illustrator and Photoshop files of your design.
Have you ever wasted time trying to do things that could have easily been outsourced to a professional?
Matt Neputin is a fiction author whose website will launch soon, thanks to the help of his Australia-based designer.
DIY image courtesy of © pichetw – Fotolia.com