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Raney Day Talk Episode 26: What To Do Before You Hire a Web Designer

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Podcast Transcript

Jennifer Sakowski:
In today’s episode, I share with you what you need to do before you hire a web designer. So, if you’re in the market of updating or launching a brand new site, take a listen. Hey there. Grab your coffee, and let’s talk business, how to grow it, how to sustain it, and how to harness the wonderful worldwide web to do it, with me, your host, Jennifer Sakowski. Let’s get started.

Jennifer Sakowski:
Hi. Welcome to a brand new episode of Raney Day Talks Podcast. I am your host, Jennifer Sakowski. Today, we’re going to talk about what to do before you hire a web designer. Now, after doing websites almost 10 years now, I’ve got a good grip on this I feel like. When I schedule a meeting, we sit down, I’ve had a client fill out their website worksheet, and I’m all pumped, because they’ve checked all the boxes and we’re ready to meet, I cannot tell you how many times that the other person in that meaning is not ready for me. It’s not just because they’re not ready for my highly caffeinated induced energy that I bring to the table, but they’re not ready to launch a website project.

Jennifer Sakowski:
It got us thinking, so I asked one of my developers that we just put together a list of items that we know it would help our customers get the biggest bang out of their buck when they go to hire us. Then I thought, what better podcast episode would that be if we pushed that out to the world when anyone is going to hire a web designer and some things that they need to consider and prepare before they even contact a web agency. So, let’s get into this. Now, this is a long list, and I want you to know if you get lost, well, obviously re-listen to this episode, but in our Facebook group, Raney Day Talks Business … If you go into Facebook, you’ll find that the group or in the show notes that linked. I’m putting in our checklist for you to download, and take, and to utilize. If you want it, you get lost, go there. All right. Let’s get started.

Jennifer Sakowski:
First thing, you need to do a little research, not just on the web agency, on your own website, because the more prepared that you walk into that meeting, knowing the current situation of your site, and what you want it to do, and then what you need it to do, you’re going to blow them out of the water, because most of the time when we sit down with people, they have no idea. They just know that their site is outdated. Nobody’s finding them. The phone’s not ringing. They are not getting any customers. What you need to do is to sit down. I want you to pull up, open Google, and Google your business. Just type in your business name. See what happens. Not your website link, just your business name. Let’s take inventory of what’s showing up.

Jennifer Sakowski:
When you’re looking at it, is your business website is it on the top? Can you find it on the first page? Is your Google My Business showing? Is there any links and content below your website? What is it pulling? What is it saying? Take note of that. Take a screenshot. Drop it into Google Doc, Word Doc, whatever, and save it. Then let’s evaluate it. Let’s make a list. When was it last updated a year, month, years, ever? Can you get access to the backend of your site to make any changes? When’s the last time you received any leads from your website or got a phone call from your website that somebody said, “Hey, I found you online”? Note this. Make a note of what’s working and what’s not. If you have people who are reading your reviews and they’re like, “Oh, I read this, and that was great, so that I wanted to call,” or maybe if you have a eBook or some type of opt-in pop up and you’re getting customers added to your email list, great. If none of that’s happening, that’s okay. We just need to identify it.

Jennifer Sakowski:
After you’ve taken some notes about your website, I want you to read your website. Read the words on the screen. Pull up, puts yourself in your target, your customer’s mindset, put their goggles on, and read your website. Does it accurately and succinctly tell them or tell you what you do and how to hire you or how to contact you? Is it easy to find the phone number? Is it easy to find a contact button? Does it tell them a story about who you are and how you’re going to solve their problems? Does any of that ring a bell? If not, that’s okay. Let’s keep going. Just make a note of that.

Jennifer Sakowski:
Then I want us to plan ahead. Up to this point, you’ve Googled your business name. You’ve evaluated it. You’ve read it. Now, we’re going to plan ahead. We’ve looked at where we’re at now, and now we’re going to look forward. Let’s talk about what your goals are for your website. What is on your wishlist? If you could have your site do anything for you to help make your business easier for you to operate behind the scenes, what would that be? If you’re an eCommerce store, is it working? Are people buying? On the backend are you able to track your inventory? Are you able to print slips? Is it working? It’s really a great idea, before you even meet with a web designer, to walk through that process of when a customer contacts you or goes to your website, what happens next? What would you like to happen next? In a perfect world, would they fill out an onboarding doc, so you can get an idea of who they are before you contact them? Do you want them to download a free eBook? Do you want them to watch a video?

Jennifer Sakowski:
Just make a note of that, because the more that you have a picture in your head, the greater chance that you’re going to get the right person, one, that can fulfill your needs, and two, you’re going to give them enough information that they will give you a realistic budget. That’s important, because that’s my next point when we talk about planning ahead is you got to look at what’s your budget. I’m going to tell you, you have to be ready to invest. Your website is a marketing machine for you when you’re sleeping at night. Put it in terms of that. How can you put … I know you can, but I want you inside your head of how do you put a dollar sign on the leads that you’re going to get by properly launching a website and working on the content that will attract them? Because there’s a lot of value added here.

Jennifer Sakowski:
It’s a very crowded space online, and how you represent yourself with your website, that will help you edge out in front of your competition. It’s very important that you think about, hey, I got to spend some money to get some money here. I’m not just saying that, because I know that even in Raney Day Design, we’re working on Raney Day sites. It’s going to be geared toward the budget minded customer that is looking for a site, but don’t have the budget. I understand that. There are cases like that, but I got to say it, because oftentimes, I’ll be honest, we get sticker shock when we send our proposals. It’s not that we are way over or way high in our prices. It’s just I come in very competitively, because I know the value of bringing in leads to your business. Now, I don’t know what you do once you get them in there, but I know that through our efforts we can make you look real good online and be able to capture and attract those leads. I spend a lot of time talking about budget. It’s because you need to spend a lot of time talking about budget and looking at your numbers.

Jennifer Sakowski:
Then from that point, so you’re like, okay, I know I can afford this, let’s talk about your ideal turnaround. I you called us up and you’re like, “Hey, Jen. This is what I know I can budget for. This is what I know I need. This is all the access to my site and what it looks like right now. What do you think? And I really want this to launch this time,” every web designer will love you, because they’ll have the opportunity to look at their project scope and be able to work backwards, and it gives them an end in mind. I can’t tell you how many times we pull in wonderful customers and it takes years to launch. It is not an ideal situation. I want you to take some time, write down your wishlist, make a budget, put together When you want that to launch, when would make the biggest impact for your company, whether …

Jennifer Sakowski:
Another little nugget of why timeline is important is because you can use that launch to start trickling out content on social media, your email list, of what’s coming. You can start creating buzz around that launch to happen. You need to know and your web designer needs to know. Right? Don’t leave it up for the web designer, because you may get pushed off until months, and months, and months down the road. You may be asked to get a deposit down to get on their project scope. If you have an idea, once again, it does come back to that budget. You’ll more likely be able to link up to what their proposal will be and it’ll be a more realistic match.

Jennifer Sakowski:
All right. Then once you’ve got that worked out, let’s start to prepare for how to find a designer. Okay? We’ve, once again, Googled your name, evaluated your business, read your website. We’re starting to plan ahead. Now, let’s get down to the prepping of contacting that designer. First of all, if you are in a specific niche, so if you are a let’s say a bookkeeper, a good idea for you is to start with looking for web designers who deal with primarily bookkeepers. Because if they’re niched to your audience, they’re going to know your customer inside and out, and that’s a great place to start.

Jennifer Sakowski:
Then, if you can’t find anything in that market, then start looking locally. It doesn’t have to be local. We work with people all across the US, but I know it can be scary when you go to launch a new website or to update your site, and especially if it’s been up for so long and you have a massive eCommerce site, it can be scary. You want to be able to talk to that person across the table. I get that. So, look locally. Make sure you’re reading reviews. See what’s on their website. Here’s another golden nugget. Oftentimes as marketing companies, web agencies, our website is the last on our mind. Look for a customer, look for a web agency that it’s not, because they’re walking what they preach. I’m just going to leave it on the table.

Jennifer Sakowski:
Then I want you, once you have two or three, then start preparing your assets already. What I would do is I would contact those individuals, reach out to them, see what their onboarding like, see what their style is. Just get a grip of who they are. Then I want you to start, once you contact them, made that appointment, see what they have you do, start preparing your assets. What is that? It’s like your logo, your brand, your logins, pictures of yourself, pictures of your products. Start organizing those into a Google Doc or file, so that way when you get to the point of signing a contract, you can easily say, “Here you go. Here’s everything that you need,” because one thing to keep in mind is what will slow down a website project is the client. It’s content. It’s getting that information.

Jennifer Sakowski:
Most of the time as a web designer, we have a system that we roll through. A good designer, I’m going to throw that out there, I think, who is business mindset, they put this structure together, so that way they can replicate it and grow. Right? They’re doing the same thing every time, but they’re customizing it within the project. They’re going to know at the beginning point, they’re going to need your logins. They’re going to need your assets. They’re going to need your content. Then you’re going to go through probably a site map, wire frame, mock up, whatever, and then get to the build.

Jennifer Sakowski:
What you need to start with is making sure that your logo is in a good file format that’s not blurry, it’s not real small, and that they can get in and manipulate it. Original files are awesome. If you don’t have a logo, this is a perfect time to brand yourself. If you don’t like your logo and your brand and it’s not meeting your needs, once again, perfect time to address that. Then look at what’s your pictures like? Do you have an updated headshot? Do you have an updated pictures of your products? If not, you could add that to that project to see if they have someone in their network that is a photographer or be able to look for a photographer, so that way you’re already prepared for when that website project gets started.

Jennifer Sakowski:
Also, make sure you’re specific in your needs when choosing a designer. If you aren’t sure what you want, wait until you do. A designer can help narrow your focus, but they need a place to start. I’m reading that, because I thought that was so important. It is important to know what you want in a designer. There’s designers. There are developers. There’s front end. There’s full stack. There’s backend. There’s a lot that goes into this web design world, and I want you to be mindful that the first few people that you call, they may not jive with you. You need to get a feel for them. That’s why I think it’s important to either get on a Zoom call, phone call, meet up in person if you can, but take that time to get to know them. Join their newsletter list, see what they do, because in our world, we don’t like just to build a website and send you out the door.

Jennifer Sakowski:
We want to build a relationship with you, so that way we’re constantly serving your needs as your business grows. We want to grow with you. That’s why we have lots of capabilities. That’s why we think it’s really important, even if you don’t work with us, is that you know how to get the biggest bang for your buck and that you’re prepared, so when you go and when you choose that designer, you’re ready to knock it out of the park. Trust me, they will love you, and you will have a great working experience with your designer. If you have any questions on this and if you’re not sure what I’m talking about in this episode, because I went super quick through it, feel free to reach out to us, drop us any comments, but if you found this helpful, please make sure to subscribe, like, and share it, and tag us at Raney Day Talks and Raney Day Design.

Jennifer Sakowski:
I want to give a special shout out to Mark Levander at Mark Levander Productions. He is the guy that makes all of this podcasting seamless. He’s the one that comes in and fixed my lighting and talks to me about microphones. If you are someone who is in need of photography, videography, editing, production, streaming, anything right now, please contact Mark Levander productions at market MarkLevanderProductions.com.