Good for you! If you are reading this post, then you are most likely considering hiring a website developer OR better yet… you have already done so. I originally started this conversation in my previous post: Small Business Marketing: Do I Need A New Website? Hiring a professional to build your website is usually the best solution simply because of how important a website is to a business.
If you as a business owner are good at what you do, then let a web professional do what they do well. For example, I’m a Digital Marketer, and although I know how to swing a hammer, I would not consider building my own house.
OK, so we already know that hiring a professional makes the most sense. This article will be the next step… I will explain below HOW to manage the relationship with your web developer.
Do It With Me.
No matter how you were sold, a positive website experience and final product approval will require a “do it with me” and not “do it for me” campaign. If you want the website to properly represent your business, you will have to be involved in the website build process.
COMMUNICATION IS EVERYTHING.
Hopefully, communication was a priority asset you considered when hiring a web developer. Again, in case I’m not clear, it’s super-duper important. Communication is crucial for meeting a completion timeline, proper design of the site, content of the site, and nearly everything else that I can think of. Below are some communication tips:
- Be Available. We’re all busy. A website is extremely important to your business. Therefore, make your schedule flexible so you can meet with your web coordinator. If you are truly limited on time, then have an employee that you trust help manage this process.
- Ask for updates. It’s OK to ask for an update. In fact, you might find that Web Coordinators will appreciate your involvement. Client response time is typically the number one issue for web development delays.
- Follow up after conversations. Generally, it’s a good idea to follow up after a conversation especially if it is related to the design of the site. If the web coordinator is taking notes over the phone, then it’s a good idea that they email the notes to you after the call.
Building a website takes time. If you want your website done right, then don’t expect to meet the estimated completion date.
A generic looking website that contains stock images can look unappealing to a visitor. Therefore, it is a business owner’s best interest to provide all or much of the content for their website. If you don’t provide the content, then your website provider will most likely do it for you using stock and generic content. Therefore it is a business’ best interest to always provide your web specialist these items below:
- Text. You know your industry best, so take the time or have an employee write out the content for your web pages. If writing isn’t your cup of tea, then at least provide some blurbs or information that can be helpful for the web team’s content writers.
- Images. Real images of your store, products, services, or staff have much more credibility than a stock image.
Tip: Provide your web developer large pixel images so they can modify them to fit dimensions.
- Blog. This is an ongoing commitment to generating real content to your business.
SUPER CLEAR FEEDBACK.
During web development, you should be receiving mock-ups and approvals from your partner. Instead of just saying, “I don’t like it”, provide useful information and help your web specialist create something that fits what you may like.
- Constructive Feedback. Telling your web specialist that you want your website to look “sexy” is not helpful feedback. If the feedback you provide a mock-up isn’t constructive, then you are in for a long and frustrating web development experience.
- Be specific. If you don’t like the color scheme they used, then tell them what colors you prefer. You don’t like the image? Great, what image would you like? It’s really easy to just provide negative feedback, but only providing this criticism will not help your web partner finish your website.
You Determine When It’s Live.
Before you sign off, do your diligence and make sure everything is correct:
- Read Everything. Read, spellcheck, grammar check, etc.
- Click Everything. Make sure there isn’t any broken links and all the clicks go to the appropriate destination.
- Fill out all Forms. Fill these out and submit them. A contact us form is useless if it doesn’t work.
Performance? Have them setup Google Analytics for you so you can track performance.
Monthly Maintenance? Clearly identify what you get for monthly changes/maintenance.
Hosting? Who do you contact about hosting/domain issues? Do they take care of your site if it goes down? It is a good idea to have this conversation with your web developer before something happens.