’Til death do us part

It may be a bit hyperbolic to compare one’s web design project to a marriage, but make no mistake, it is still a major commitment.

Choosing your web designer is a courtship.  First, you’ll look around, identify potential suitors, and then get to know them better.  Then, finally, you’ll narrow it down until you’re ready to say the five words every web designer wants to hear, “Will you build my website?”

After that, the honeymoon stages kick in.  There’s collaboration and communication.  The relationship starts to build. The project comes to life, and before long, you’ve got your website ready to launch—a product of both client and designer.  

Web design is a true collaboration. Your web designer can’t adequately represent your business if they don’t understand it.  Likewise, it’s vital for you as the client to know what you’re getting into and understand the process. Once the web site is complete, you should be able to make small changes and updates yourself without being reliant on the designer. In the event of changes you can’t or don’t want to make yourself, the designer should still be available and willing to work with you to make those changes happen.

To build a website, your designer has to have the right tools. There is a myriad of different platforms that web designers use: WordPress, Shopify, Wix, Squarespace, etc.  This is a crucial part of the process.  Each platform has its advantages and disadvantages.  The wrong choice here might mean you run into problems in the future as your needs change.   Digging down a little deeper, there are different page builders for each platform. Elementor, Divi, WPBakery, Gutenberg, and Beaver Builder are all very popular builders just for WordPress.  Again, this choice will affect your project greatly.  Some builders are easier to use but have limitations, some are more complicated but give you more freedom.  It’s important to consider beyond the initial web site launch.

Businesses evolve and grow, and your digital marketing needs to grow.  Therefore, it’s crucial to communicate your short-term ambitions and long-term goals to your web designer.  Be sure that they see the vision beyond the immediate so that you’re not going to run into roadblocks in the future.  Unless you’re confident that your needs will never change, it makes sense to spend more time and money on the project at the beginning to be future-proof.  This will prevent you from starting from scratch as your needs change.

Beyond that is the need to be able to continue working with your chosen web developer in the future.  It can be nearly impossible for another designer to step in and continue development on a project built by another company.  With so many platforms or builder choices, it’s normal for designers to specialize.  Finding another designer with those same specialities can be difficult, especially on more complex websites.  The more moving parts, the more difficult it is to reverse engineer and understand the project.  It’s like asking an airplane mechanic to fix a car.  Sure, some pieces are similar, but fundamental and substantial differences would make it challenging for another designer to tackle. 

When choosing your web designer, it’s essential to know that they’ll stick with you through thick and thin and be around when the time comes to grow your website.  To know that they’ll be able to continue to work with you as your needs grow and that the seeds are sown early to allow for what may come in the future.  

If you’re not on the same page early on, the future could be disastrous.