Many businesses start with poor websites due to lack of knowledge or budget or go many years without ever having a website. All businesses reach a point though where it needs a professional online appearance. Unfortunately, launching a website isn’t as simple as ordering a pizza. Web design professionals and business owners don’t always speak the same language, and the learning curve for an overwhelmed business can be extreme. This article focuses on how to choose and collaborate with a web designer in order create an attractive and effective website within the agreed upon timeframe and budget.

First, finding a designer you like is not overly complicated it just takes a little effort. We recommend that business owners start by looking at the websites of their competitors and similar businesses, also by asking friends and family if they have had a good experience with a particular web designer. It is important to find a designer with similar tastes to your own. Never just go to Google and pick the first one that you see.

However, design taste is only one component. Many designers specialise in creating a particular kind of website. A web designer who has only done small brochure-style websites in the past would be a poor fit for a company looking to launch a large online store. Always make sure to check a web designers previous work so that you are sure they can manage the scope of work you are after.

Basics

Keeping up with the latest technology trends is difficult even for the most seasoned web professionals. As a business owner though, you will not need to know the ins and outs of web design to complete your website project, it does help to understand a few fundamentals. Three important ones are listed below:

Domain Name – This is a website’s web address–www.yoursite.com.au, for example. These addresses are rented on an annual basis from online registrars.

Web Host – provides server space, the virtual home where the website lives. Professional web hosting companies have top notch equipment so that your website is secure and has backup power, cooling, connectivity, and support so that your website stays accessible on the internet 24/7/365.

Website – the collection of files that make up the actual design, such as, text, images, stylesheets and scripting that make the website useable.

Collaboration

Once you’ve located the ideal web designer and you make contact with them, your input is key. Many people don’t realise how much direction they will need to provide in order to give their designer a good starting point. The process is a collaboration, from start to finish. In the beginning, designers typically ask for detailed descriptions of what the client needs from their websites, as well as for links to other sites that the clients likes.

It is important that clients and web designers have a comfortable relationship. A new web project after the actual sale usually starts with a sit down or a phone call to go over expectations to set the tone for the project. Clients should also take care that the web designer isn’t too eager or hurried and that they will take your project serious and the outcome is what you expect. Clients should be honest if they want to see a different design, but they should realise wholesale revisions are usually better than a lot of small changes. If you feel that the design is way off the mark and it does not fit your business, speak up. However, understand that making numerous small requests to a design may leave you with something less than desirable. Web designers are exactly that, designers. They know what they are doing and what works best. Always keep an open mind and accept their feedback just like they would yours.

Contract / Agreement

Know exactly what you are paying for and what you will get. Clients can’t be too careful during this step so understanding the payment schedule, the type of website and number of pages to the number of revisions that you are allowed is crucial.

Client’s part

The web designer provides a website’s visual and technical framework, the client is usually responsible for providing the site’s content – most commonly the text and imagery associated with their products or services. Failing to do so on time or as promised can delay the progression of the project.

The most common cause of delays or extra costs after the contract is signed are sudden changes or additions. Most people don’t understand just how long certain changes will take to implement, so they’re quick to ask for them.