A Client's Guide to Working Effectively with Web Designers

Without clear communication, expectation management, and professionalism, your business relationships suffer. These benchmarks hold especially true for the working relationship you have with your web design and online marketing team.

You've hired us to give you a better website and improved web presence; and in doing so, you've taken a big leap of faith in believing we'll deliver. This investment sometimes complicates your ability to communicate what you want from us, to understand what our role as web designers and online marketers is, and to trust what the end product will be.

To help you navigate these issues and get the most you can out of us, we've created this basic guide to working with web design professionals. Here's what we recommend.

Trust the Web Professionals to Do Their Job

Even if you skip the rest of this post, then read our golden rule to working with web designers: treat web professionals as you'd like to be treated by your clients.

This guideline will positively influence how you communicate with designers, copywriters, and SEO specialists. It will help you more accurately judge their work. It will ensure that you pay them for their work.

Your business relies on a client base to operate. You strive to provide excellent products, and give your clients an unmatched level of service. Your web agency is no difference. We aim to provide you with an excellent product (your website) and give you great customer service.

Understand the Website Should Help Meet Business Goals

Don't be distracted by pretty designs or bells and whistles. Your website redesign isn't meant to be a trendy, glittering work of art. Rather, it should match your business goals.

While this reality may be hard to stomach, it's important to remember that your website is for your clients, not for you.

Provide Information About Your Business and its Offerings

The more your web design and online marketing team understands about your business, the more the site will successfully appeal to prospective clients.

We can't emphasize enough how critical this information gathering and exchange is. It's the most important reason why we start projects with a Discovery phase and analyze your business, its market, client base, and competition.

Be Unequivocal About Your Budget

When you build a house, you tell the builder up front exactly what your budget is. If you kept your budget a secret, then your builder would have no way of knowing what kind of home you're looking to build. They'd offer you specs for mansions that are way beyond your budget; or worse, cabins that are less than you want.

Similarly, web design agencies offer websites for a wide range of budgets. No web professional can determine how to help you without clear monetary guidelines. It's in your best interest to communicate what your budget is and only consider redesign and marketing objectives that you can afford.

Grant Access to All Necessary Accounts

Privacy is a major concern for every business owner. However, when you've hired someone to develop your company website, it's necessary to give these web professionals access to your Google Analytics, web host, email marketing service (such as Mailchimp), and other accounts as necessary.

Be Realistic About Deadlines

It's always better to do a project correctly than to do it quickly. Avoid setting unmovable deadlines for your new website's completion unless you have a previously scheduled product launch, trade show, or PR campaign.

Website development, true to its name, comes in phases. For example, we move from planning to content to design to development (code) to launch.

As a client, it's important to understand that this ongoing process is constantly changing. Stay patient about the final product, and avoid what we call "scope creep": adding to the requirements list before project completion. There's always time to do more after the project is complete.

Just like the first stages of the Mona Lisa likely didn't dazzle crowds, your first phases of your website might not look as stunning as the final product will.

Never Design by Committee

We recommend to all of our clients that you appoint one person within your company to be the go-to decision-maker about all things related to the new website.

If this is somehow not feasible for your company, then we recommend carefully selecting a small subcommittee of 2 to 5 people. One person in the subcommittee should have veto power.

Why do we suggest this allocation of decision-making? "Design by committee" is disastrous to web development. People's opinions clash. Communication gets muddled. Schedules get pushed back, or changed. Without a protocol for decision-making and communication, the process could drag out weeks or months longer than necessary.

Stay Involved as the Process Unfolds

As web designers, we need your help to do our job. We need you to give us information about your business, your clients, your market, your competition, and your marketing strategy. We need you to give us feedback about whether the project is helping you to meet your previously defined business goals.

The bottom line is, as a website development client, it's your job to communicate regularly with your website development team.

At OptimWise, we often maintain a weekly call during active projects, which is scheduled on the same day, at the same time each week.

We recommend that our clients batch their questions and requests, combining them into at most one email each day. Just as we're committed to replying to your concerns quickly, we also ask our clients to respond within one business day in order to keep the project moving.

Give Your Web Designer Timely, Helpful Feedback

You're an expert in your business. After years of experience, you know its ins and outs. Because of this expertise, we rely on you to weigh in as we create a website that accurately represents your company. Here's how you can give us useful feedback:

  • Be candid. Ambiguity leads to misunderstandings and frustration.
  • If the project isn't going in the right direction, tell us immediately. Don't suffer in silence.
  • State the problem, not the solution. Instead of saying, "I don't like the bright blue color," we recommend saying something like, "I feel that the color doesn't fit our established, traditional culture."
  • Provide examples of what you like. Send a link, a screenshot, or a hand-drawn sketch instead of verbally describing it.

Lastly, it's important to remember that, just as you know your business, we know website development. We're experts in web design, SEO, online marketing, and content strategy—and we're here to help you. In order for us to do that efficiently, we need your feedback and your trust.

Compensate Your Web Design Agency On Time and In Full

Compensation delays will jeopardize, if not completely halt, the project. You expect your clients to pay for what they purchase, on time. Likewise, web design agencies expect on-time, full payments. Without accurate, punctual compensation, we simply can't continue the project.

Work with an Experienced, Reliable Web Design Agency

At OptimWise, we offer an unparalleled client experience. Our team is responsive, communicative, and professional. We're committed to helping your business grow its web presence and building you an aesthetically pleasing, highly functional website.

If you're looking for an efficient, reliable web agency to complete your website redesign, contact us today.

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4 comments on “A Client's Guide to Working Effectively with Web Designers”

  1. I totally agree with you that website should help meet business goals, your blog is really useful for me, I had bookmarked it. Thanks for this helpful article.

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