Working With A Freelance Website Developer & Designer
Working with a freelance website developer and designer can help your business reach new levels of success, or it can be an ongoing source of frustration for everyone involved.
Yes, it may seem that programmers speak a different language and are from another planet. They may be,
- Maybe even a bit socially awkward
- (I’m a self-proclaimed social dork)
But that doesn’t mean you cant’ have a great relationship with them. Follow these 6 ways to have a successful relationship with your freelance website developer and designer.
Step 1: Have Clear Goals
It may seem obvious to state, but nonetheless, it’s worth mentioning. Your freelancer is not a mind reader.
Yes, we can help you draw out your ideas, give you suggestions, and point you in the right direction, but we need a place to begin.
If you don’t a clear idea of what you want, we can draw on our experience and judgment to select a starting point, but that runs the risk of leading down a very timely and costly rabbit trail that nobody wants.
When starting a new project (before you even contact a freelancer) take the time to answer a few simple questions:
Do some research and take a look at some website you like. Colors that match your brand, and what kind of design style you prefer (minimal, modern, corporate, magazine, professional, etc.)
You don’t need to have it all figured out, but these questions will help you and your designer start off in the right direction.
Step 2: Have a Budget Set Aside
……. and let your freelancer know what it is! We may not be able to do everything you want with the amount you’re working with, but knowing what you have set aside will help you get the best option available that fits within your budget.
Even if you see some packages on a designer’s site that are out of your price range, they might be willing to work out a custom deal that works for everyone. Maybe a custom theme is out of the question for now, but with a few adjustments, a premium theme can get you a great website at more than half the price of a custom theme.
Step 3: Define Responsibilities
Whether you believe it or not, creating a client website is a highly collaborative project. The designer has responsibilities and the client does too. These should be clearly outlined in your service agreement or contract.
Tip: Never hire a freelance website developer and designer who does not use a contract or service level agreement.
These clearly defined responsibilities keep everyone on schedule and accountable, resulting in a successful project.
Your Freelancer may be responsible for:
- Sticking to a timeline
- Number of revisions
- Design Approvals
- Deadlines for updates/support
- Scope of work
The client may be tasked with:
- Providing supporting materials like content (text, pictures, videos, etc.)
- Approving designs
- Requesting revisions
- Payment schedule
In my experience as a freelance website developer and designer, the single biggest project holdup comes from slow email response times. If your freelancer doesn’t get the materials and approvals they need in a timely matter, they can’t move forward with the project.
On the other hand, your freelancer is accountable to you and has a responsibility to stick to the agreed upon deadlines, terms, and scope of work.
Step 4: Communicate
It’s no surprise that communication is key to a successful website project. Don’t be afraid to be 100% honest with your freelancer. We would rather know if you don’t care for something up front, rather than discover there is a problem right before we go live.
Tip: Effective communication on both parts will save time, money, and stress.
Be upfront and communicate your goals, desires, needs, and wants with them.
On the other hand, your designer has a responsibility to be available, whether it’s email, phone, chat, or Skype, to you. They need to be open about their limitations in both skill and scope of work, as well as offer solutions that work for everyone.
Additionally, your designer has a responsibility to keep you in the loop with project updates. Don’t worry; we will try to limit the shop talk. When both the client and freelancer communicate, successful projects are completed and long-term business relationships are formed.
Step 5: Be Open To New Ideas
You are looking to hire someone because they have a skill and expertise you don’t have or and you don’t have the time to DIY, right? If you were a design pro or had the time to scour the Internet while doing it yourself, you would.
Be open to the thoughts, suggestions, and recommendations. A good freelancer will give you input after learning about your business and the goals of the project.
If you get a style, design, or functionality recommendation you don’t necessarily like, take a step back and try to look at it from your customer’s point of view. Would they respond to it? A good freelancer will help you clarify your project goals and then draw on their experience and expertise to come up with solutions that deliver.
Tip: Put yourself in the shoes of your ideal website visitor when thinking about your project.
Step 6: Style
Freelancers have their own style, both in terms of design and working styles. You obviously have your own style too. Make sure you and your freelancer are a good fit in terms of style, design, and communication.
For example, if you are reviewing a designer’s past work and realize it’s really not anything near what you want, you might be better going in a different direction.
The same goes for work style. If want to speak to your client on the phone every time you think of something, a freelancer who operates via email only might not be a good fit.
If something about your potential freelancer just doesn’t tickle your pickle (maybe they seem unorganized and you’re like Monica from friends or maybe their first email didn’t sit well with you) do some more research and find one that’s a good fit for you.
Your overall experience shouldn’t make you want to rip your hair out or feel like it’s sucking your soul like a dementor from Harry Potter. No way!
Instead, your project should be an exciting and positive experience, and it’s up to both the client and freelancer to make sure this happens. Remember, working with the right freelancer and keeping these tips in mind will help your project go smoothly and make it a great success.