Working with a blog designer can help you bring your blog to new heights, or it can be an endless source of frustration for all involved. While it may seem like designers and bloggers speak entirely different languages or are from other worlds, it doesn’t have to be! Follow these tips ensure a great working relationship with your blog designer and put an end to designer relation frustrations.
Designers are not in fact mind readers. We can help you explore design options, but we do need a place to start. If you don’t have one, we will use our best judgement and experience to select one. Unfortunately, that can be miles away from what you want. We don’t know that though, unless you tell us. So before you go off and hire a designer, before you even contact a designer, take a few moments to figure out what you want from this blog design. Do research on what you like and don’t like in blog designs, do a little thinking about your blog’s brand. You don’t have to have it all figure out, but you should consider these things and have some sort of starting point.
Have a Budget
…and let us know what it is! We might not be able to do everything you want in your budget, but if you tell us what you can afford we can help tailor our services to fit it. Even if we have packages, usually we are more than willing to work with you on a custom deal. Just talk to us, we’re humans, we are running our own businesses too, so we know what it’s like. Maybe an entirely new custom design is out of your budget now, but with a few tweaks a premium theme might just work and be half the price.
Believe it or not both the designer and the client have responsibilities. These should ideally be outlined in your contract (please, never ever hire anyone without a contract!). These responsibilities help keep everyone accountable, reliable and the project on schedule. They may include a certain time frame for updates or deadlines for project work, or that the client provide necessary supporting materials like copy or graphics to the designer by a certain date. The single biggest reason projects drag on, in my experience, is due to slow email response times. If your designer doesn’t get the materials they need from you they generally can’t move on to finish the project, the same goes for you if they miss deadlines.
Communication is key! Don’t be afraid of telling your designer what you really think. Trust me, they can handle it. They want to give you the best outcome they can, but they can’t do that if you aren’t honest with them. Don’t just keep quiet if you don’t like the design, and figure you’ll just get it changed later. That will just cost you more money and more time. Be truthful and communicate your goals, designers, need and wants with them. On the flip side, the designer needs to communicate with you. If they can’t do something they need to explain to you why that is (in a way you can understand, not just in tech speak!) and offer other solutions that might work better. Communication also needs to be done on a regular basis. Your designer should give you updates on your project throughout its lifespan. You shouldn’t just hire them, give them your info and cash, then not hear from them again until your new blog is done! It should be a working partnership where they let you have a say throughout the process.
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Be Open To New Ideas
You are hiring a designer for their expertise right? If you were a design pro you’d just do it yourself, right? So be open to your designer when they make suggestions, they probably have a really good reason for suggesting against that flashing .gif background. Listen to the suggestions and ideas they have to make your blog awesome, and really consider it. If you aren’t sure of it, ask questions. Ask them why the suggest that, they probably have a good reason you might not have thought of! Remember, web designs trends change over time, just like clothing trends and anything else. What was once popular may have fallen out of style, not only because it’s not considered “old” or “tacky” but it may also have been found to be bad for use in websites due to poor user experience or that technology might no longer be supported.
All designer have their own style, both in terms of design and working styles. Bloggers of course, have their own styles too! Make sure when you select a designer that your styles are compatible. For example if you check out a designer’s portfolio and see that it’s really nothing like what you want you might find they have a hard time going in that direction, it may be better to go with a designer that does have work in the style you are looking for. The same is true of work style. If you start working with a designer and find that you just can’t stand how they have things set up (maybe they aren’t organized, maybe they are overly organized, or maybe that first email you had with them just drove you nuts, try another designer that you get along better with. You don’t have to stick with a designer because people on the internet said she was awesome, or because you did one blog design with her and you feel obligated to continue to the relationship (even though you wanted to rip out your hair throughout the whole ordeal). It doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t be like that.
Your blog design process shouldn’t be an annoying, soul-sucking process. It should be fun and exciting! Working with the right designer and keeping these simple concepts in mind can help make your next blog design or re-design go smoothly for everyone involved!