Managing and overseeing your site's design and construction can be a challenging process, particularly when you're trying to accurately convey goals and ideas to a third-party web designer. In most cases, the results aren't immediately up to par with expectations, and there's often a need for revisions before the site can approach its full potential. Fortunately, most of the obstacles you'll run into when dealing with a designer are problems that are fairly common in the industry, so once you've become familiar with the process, things should get easier going forward. With that said, here's some useful advice on how to handle the top 10 frustrations that you're likely to face when working with a web designer:
1. Struggling to Bring Concepts to Fruition as Envisioned
By far the biggest issue that you'll probably encounter during the course of a project is the designer's inability to create something that falls in line with what you originally had in mind. The feeling that all of your collaborative efforts have been a waste of time can be discouraging, to say the least, but it's important to understand that trial & error is merely a part of the game. Here are a couple of techniques you can use to speed up the process and minimise miscommunication:
Provide clear requirements and suggestions – When a designer has specific parameters to work around, they're more likely to create a site that's aligned with your vision. Provide a comprehensive checklist/summary of what you want each component of the site to look like and what you're trying to achieve.
Ask for a variety of beta versions – Instead of working around a single version, it's best to start by asking the designer for 3-10 distinct concepts. That way, you'll have the advantage of choosing an ideal starting point without all the extra back and forth.
It's best to prepare yourself for the reality that the first version of your site might not be exactly what you were looking for, as it may take the designer a few tries to provide a fully satisfactory finished site.
A sitemap is a core piece of website and critical to search engines. This must be created at the initial stages of every web development. This will help all collaborators stay on the same page and visualise the whole project. A sitemap will also help the editors with content writing and insertion.
2. The Time it Takes to Complete a Project
Most people don't understand just how much work goes into the design and construction of a single website. Understandably, as with most professional services, you expect the work to be done in a timely, predictable manner, but due to the number of factors at play, this isn't always the case in web design. Projects may be prolonged past the quoted completion date due to revision requests and/or the designer being burdened by a large overall workload.
Skilled web designers are in high demand, so it's not uncommon for them to juggle multiple projects. The best way to avoid lengthy delays is to work with designers that have a history of meeting deadlines. Examining feedback left by previous clients is perhaps the best way to gauge this attribute before making a hiring decision.
3. Changes in Cost During the Development Process
Most products and services are sold at a straightforward price, but web design can be tricky in this regard. Site owners often wind up paying more than the amount they were originally quoted, as there may be more work involved than initially expected. Thus, it's best to view quotes as general estimates rather than exact price tags when devising an overall budget for the project.
Taking time to discuss the exact features and requirements beforehand is the best way to reduce the likelihood of surprise expenses. Another good rule of thumb is to set aside twice the amount you're quoted for the projection completion.
4. Overlooking Key Expectations and Objectives Early On
Feeling as though your requests are being completely ignored or overlooked can be incredibly frustrating, and yet this problem is absurdly common in web design. Usually, this shortcoming stems from convoluted and poorly organised communication. Ideally, you'll want all of your main objectives and expectations to be listed neatly in a single concise order email.
Problems arise when you're having multiple conversations with your designers at different points in time because it can be difficult for them to easily refer back to all of those ideas within the context of their workflow. Being clear about what you want and summarising it all into a centralised agenda is the best way to ensure your designer is headed in the right direction from the start.
5. Disappointing Search Engine Rankings
Many people expect their site to start out strong just because it was designed well, but site aesthetics and functionality are only one side of the coin. The actual on-site content plays a major role in how well a site ranks within the search engines for particular keywords and search query phrases.
It's easy to blame poor rankings on the developers, but in all honesty, this is not part of their job description. To avoid disappointment, it's best to prepare a strong content creation campaign to complement the arrival of your newly designed site.
6. Difficulty Keeping Up with Design Trends on an Ongoing Basis
With web design technology advancing so quickly, it can be difficult to stay on top of the competition after a site is up and running. Many site owners are frustrated by the fact that additional work is needed at a later date, to keep up with changing compatibility requirements.
Optimising for specific operating systems, devices, and browsers is a continual challenge that should be anticipated and planned for ahead of time to prevent unnecessary disappointments in the long-term.
7. Lack of Integration Between Site Design, Online Marketing, and SEO
It's important for site owners to understand that site design, search engine optimization, and successful marketing are all part of a single coherent strategy, and to opt for web designers who understand this concept as well. While SEO will be mostly influenced by on-site content and off-page factors such as backlinks, starting with a solid design structure should always be the first step.
Before choosing a web design service, you'll want to make sure they're knowledgeable about how to prep a site for successful marketing and SEO.
8. Inability to Exercise Full Creative Control
As the owner of a site, there will always be that desire to have things turn out exactly the way you way you want. Unfortunately, since you're essentially outsourcing the work to a third-party, there are always going to be some limitations on how much creative control you have at any given time. Here are a few things you can do to strengthen your creative input:
Speed up communication - Use live chat as a primary method of communication during work hours.
Provide Graphics and Sketches – You don't need to be a web designer to draw up a sketch or to work with concept artists to produce custom graphics that can serve as inspiration for your web designers.
Use Simple Design Platforms – Perhaps the best way to maximise your creative capabilities is to host your site on a user-friendly design platform like WordPress. That way you can practice implementing your own ideas in your spare time instead of relying fully on the skills of your web designer.
Ultimately, increasing your personal influence over the project will only come through hands-on learning and experience, but it's a worthwhile investment to make if you're going to be managing the site for years to come.
9. Slow Moving Initial Progress After the Site is Live
Nobody likes getting off to a slow start and when progress is running at a snail's pace, it can be easy to start pointing blame at the developers. The most visually stunning and responsive site on the web still isn't guaranteed to immediately attract a ton of traffic, as content and off-site marketing are essential steps that need to be taken. Even if you do everything right, it's always best to plan for the first few months to be relatively slow while you're building momentum and a solid web presence.
10. The Obligation to Continue Paying for Maintenance and Development
Last but certainly not least, many site owners are frustrated by the ongoing costs required to keep their site online and moving forward. Such expenses typically include hosting fees, content creation costs, and additional design charges due to the need for adjustments or additions at a later date.
While a premium web design service can represent a considerable one-time investment, it's good to keep in mind that websites have routine overhead expenses to consider, just like any conventional place of business.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Web Designers
Apart from being prepared and knowing what to expect, all of the above frustrations can be greatly reduced or completely eliminated by choosing an experienced and competent web design firm with a diverse portfolio. While the best web designers will usually charge more for their services, the extra investment is worth it to avoid the delays and disappointments that often come with hiring cheaper/less experienced firms.