You know your blog could use a makeover, so you are browsing blog designers. You’ve got a list of recommendations from friends and fellow bloggers but how do you narrow it down? You know you should be asking them question, but this is your first time doing this, so how do you know what to ask? “What do you charge?” is only the tip of it, there is so many more questions that can help you better understand your blog designer and figure out if this blog designer is right for you. As a designer, trust me when I say we don’t mind you asking questions! We’d rather you ask a question now than have something come up later as an issue that is harder to fix. Next time you are stuck wondering what you should ask your designer, refer to this list of questions that will help you decide if this designer is right for you.
Do what are your contract terms like?
If your designer says they don’t have a contract, run. Fast. Contracts are a must they protect you and the designer. Professional designers use contracts all the time (even for friends and family).
What are the payment terms?
Be ware 100% upfront payment terms, unscrupulous people can use this to take your cash and run. 50/50 payments are usually the norm, half upfront half upon completion of the project. This protects you and the designer from losing all their money should either party disappear.
What are the Usage Rights terms? Who retains copyright?
This is especially important for logo and graphic design projects. The creator, that would be the designer, owns the copyright of whatever is created by default. However, they will grant you usage rights to use the finished design. They will usually retain the copyright and some usage rights like being able to display the project in their portfolio. Usage rights grant you permission to use the logo or graphic for a determined amount of time and in certain ways (for example only online, use as is with out the ability to crop or alter the image, etc). Usage and copyrights will be determined in your contract, and are usually negotiable. Keep in mind for copyright transfers you will usually pay an extra fee. Usage rights are generally included in the price you would pay for your logo or graphic.
What is the design/development process like?
You should know going in how things will work. Many designers will have this posted on their websites so you know before you contact them how the process will work.
What will the timeline be?
A designer should be able to give you an estimate on how long it will take them to complete your project. Often this can change, as it’s usually heavily dependent on the flow of communications between designer and client. No designer wants to be waiting for approval or important information from a client before continuing, and no client wants to wait forever for their project to be completed. It’s a two way street and the timeline should be discussed by both parties before it starts. Additionally, if you have a timeline constraint, you should let your designer know this so they can plan accordingly.
What do you need from me?
Likely your designer will need information from you. You should have some sort of vision for your blog and you should be able to express that to your designer.
Can I see your portfolio? or Can I see work you have done in the past?
Bonus points if they can show you live sites you can actually visit to see their work in action!
My Budget is X, can you work within that?
If you have a budget (and believe me, we all do!) then let your designer know. They may be willing to work with you to give you something in that budget, even if it’s lower than their normal rates or packages. However, they can’t do that if they don’t know what your budget is!
Do you include any support or setup?
Pretty self explanatory, will your designer set up your new theme? Will they give you any support for it?
How many revisions do you get? or How are revisions handled?
What happens if I’m not satisfied with the designs?
Both of the above are related, you should be happy with your designs. Your designer isn’t a mind reader though, so you will probably need to go through some revisions to make sure it’s perfect. Some designers limit these revision rounds, but not all. Sometimes, your designer just may have a different vision than you or might not understand what you are telling them, this leads to you being unhappy with the project. How will the designer handle this? Some may offer more revisions, or if the difference is too great some may offer a refund and part ways.
A successful relationship with your designer is best accomplished when both parties communicate with each other. These questions will help you determine if this designer is right for you and the needs of your blog, and ensure you start off on your design journey with all the knowledge you need to make informed decisions and fully participate in the process.