How to Work with a Web Designer/Developer

How can you work with a web designer or developer to achieve a healthy client, agency relationship? 

When working with a web designer it can be tricky to understand what is going on during the design and development stage. So, we’ve created a short, quick guide to help you work alongside your designers. This guide will help you get the most from your site and be sure you and your designer are happy. 

The working hours of web designers

We live and work in an age now, when the 9-5 is less vital to follow. After the pandemic, remote working created flexibility that hopefully is here to stay. Everyone is unique and may work well at different times of the day to others. We should celebrate this as the new normal! Working hours can be flexible, and not within the 9-5… essentially this allows those working to concentrate and create in the hours they work best. 

Web designers are often dyslexic and work strange hours. Both of which I personally think is a major benefit in web design. This is because dyslexic people tend to be much more creative and focused on the end user. So often we find that the best times to be creative can be at nighttime. I personally prefer to work later in the day into the evening, as I struggle to find my creativity in the morning. Unless I have had a LOT of coffee! 

So, be aware that your working hours may differ to your web designer! This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it allows their creativity to flow when it’s at its peak! So, when it comes to building a website, what is who’s responsibility? 

Copy (text) and images

Unless agreed prior to starting the web project, this is usually either your responsibility or that of a professional copywriter. Your web designer does not usually check your copy for spelling or grammar mistakes and errors. They might catch some or be happy to have a short look over it, but they are not usually going to edit your copy for you. 

Images must be licensed or be your own. To ensure this you can use free sources such as unsplash.com and pexels.com. Your designer may have access to a paid subscription service. This service allows them to source better images that are more suited to your industry. However, these may come at an extra cost. If you supply your designer with images that you have found, the responsibility will fall on you if there is a licensing and usage dispute. This can often be in the thousands, so it is worth being careful. 

Mobile responsiveness

Nowadays when designing a website, being responsive on mobile, tablet and desktop should absolutely be a standard. This is industry standard with any new site. Although this is something that should be expected, you should still clarify this before you engage your designer. 

Security of the website 

This is a very important one and should be managed by whoever hosts your website. We would advise that whoever you use to build your site should do the hosting. This is so you can be sure the security, backups and speed lay within their remit of responsibilities. 

Extra work 

Extra work can be a very tricky area for both the designer and the client. But when you have agreed to proceed with a project, you should understand that there is a lot of work going on that is often harder or more time intensive than you may realise. So, when you ask for extra work to be done or things that you may think are small, you should expect this to be chargeable. 

It’s better to perhaps ask your designer for the extra elements and for a cost for these before proceeding. However, the project is usually priced on time or a set job. So just be sure to be respectful of your web designer’s time and value. We will always try and go the extra mile for clients. However, sometimes a small favour today, can lead to a dispute tomorrow because correct boundaries were not set. Both parties should be aware of this. 

Your website’s Google rankings 

When you have a new website made, SEO should always be kept in mind and the site should be built in a way that works with Google. However, if you are wanting to get some good organic SEO this is a paid service. This is because it takes a lot of work by skilled people. 

A local, small business should be looking at spending on average £250.00 – £500.00 per month on SEO. But this will give you the best long-term, organic results and get you lots of enquires. It is not the initial designer’s responsibility to get your site high up on Google. You should, however, ask for your new site to be added to the Google Search Console (previously Google Webmaster) and for the site map to be uploaded. 

You can add some free plugins that can help with SEO such as All in One SEO and Yoast SEO. You will be able to learn all about them and use them yourself to make a difference. Google also has a great podcast that you can listen to for some tips and tricks when it comes to SEO. 

Errors on your site after you have gone live 

You may have noticed some mistakes on your site or errors that have been raised to you by your customers. Personally, I tell clients that if they find any of these within the first 6 weeks then there is no charge for resolving them. But ultimately, it is your responsibility to check the website before you go live with it. 

Teething issues with new sites are very common and sometimes can be missed. So just keep that in mind. 

Try and list any issues out clearly for your designer and ask for them to be resolved within a time frame. Of course, the more experienced your designer the more they will know what to look for when a new site in your industry is being built. 

Links and Social Media 

This is down to your designer to link everything correctly and link to your social media. You should send them the links at the start of the project for ease. However, this is something that your designer should be doing. So be sure to check all the links on your site. This includes making your phone numbers and email address clickable and making sure all the buttons and links work correctly. 

Pre-launch checklist

So, your site has been designed. What next? It’s important to go over it! Here is our handy pre-launch checklist:

• Site speed 

• Mobile responsiveness

• All links working

• Social media has been linked

• Spelling is all correct

• Images are all licensed and ok to use

• Website has an SSL certificate

• You have admin access

• All forms work and come to your email

• You have a cookie policy if you need one

• You have a GDPR policy

• You have a privacy policy

• You have terms and conditions

• Website is Google Search Console

• Sitemap has been uploaded

E-commerce sites additional items to check: 

• You have checked the automatic confirmation emails, I.e., order confirmation

• You have set up VAT correctly

• Delivery charges are correct

• If you use stock magenta tools make sure you are notified when low in stock

• Turn on Apple Pay and Google Pay

• Do a test order to make sure everything is working

• Download the WooCommerce app and set up Jetpack (if using WordPress)

• Payment logos are at the footer of the website

Advanced Checklist: 

• Check that all padding and margins fall within Googles UI/UX guidelines

• Add proxy to your DNS so that your site is safe from DDOS attacks

• Link APIs to your chosen delivery partner i.e., Evri, DPD, Royal Mail

• Add an SMTP relay to your email

• Set up auto printing with a Laser printer

• Link your CRM system to the site so that you are getting all the correct customer info

Are you after a healthy client relationship with your web designer?

Your web designer is there to do the best for you and work in your best interest. If you don’t feel that this is the case, then you can ask for some clarification to help with understanding. You may think that some things take less time than they do, but often they can be much more detailed than you may think. Due to this, you will be charged for extra work. 

As small businesses, we need to do the best for you, but we can only do that by charging our worth. You should expect to pay on average £60.00 – £120.00 per hour for a smaller agency. But if you are using a larger agency and coding your site from scratch, you could be looking at more. You should normally be charged in 15-minute segments for ad-hoc work. 

You are the client, so you come first! Your needs should be met, but just remember to be nice and patient with your designer.

Get in touch today for a free no- obligation talk about our web design and digital services.