In the freelance world I'm always meeting prospective clients who want things done fast, with style. Good news is that I'm all for it - let's get to work! But there are a few things that help to create a smooth-sailing launch in a hurry.
If you need it quick and designed well, here are my top suggestions for clients to help their designer move swiftly.
1. GATHER AND ZIP ALL YOUR CONTENT
Don't know where to start with content? Focus on one page at a time and what you need from it. Find a site you simply love and follow their content structure - with your very authentic spin.
Developing a word doc where each new page will represent your site's navigation (example, pg 1= Homepage, pg 2= Services, pg 3= About) is one of the best ways to organize and edit your site's content. Remember to think about your call to actions, imagery, and headlines.
If you have a brand style guide, a blog, additional copy, photos, logos, movie clips, hell - even quick photos of napkin sketches(!), gather them all and organize them in a folder for your web designer.
Once you have your collateral in one place, zip them up for a Dropbox, WeTransfer, or GDrive folder with editing permissions for your designer. You'll want your designer connected on your project management software as well.
If you have content ready for your designer to use, this could save you hundreds - even thousands of dollars. In 10 years of designing, the most time I've seen lost is emailing back and forth for assets. It can also be wasteful to design with placement text when the content can really lend the designer an idea of the structure you truly need.
2. GIVE YOUR DESIGNER FREEDOM, BUT ASK FOR "BUDGET CHECK-INS"
Have a $500 budget? Pressed for time? Ask to have a check-in at $250 billing, or 1 week's time for a progress update.
If your designer can't handle that - quick left.
If your designer is savvy and well-organized, they should know, to a tee, where your priorities and budgets lie. They should have a handle on every line item they clock, and why they clocked it.
3. CHOOSE & COMMIT TO A GOOD TEMPLATE FOR A STRUCTURAL FOUNDATION
Even if you're designing a site from scratch, choosing a theme or template from a site you enjoy can help your designer and/or programmers understand what you're looking for.
For platforms like Squarespace, Shopify, or Wordpress, there are many choices and it’s usually best for the client to preview these and choose a direction. Of course, your designer can handle this, but there are thousands of options out there! Finding your perfect fit while we're green on the project could take time/money.
Why choose now? It’s helpful to have a direction of a theme before the project begins as each new theme will have different snippets of code that can dramatically change how your assets are laid out, cropped, and resized (especially on mobile). Having this visual guide will also help you develop content!
4. CALL IN FOR LONGER LISTS OF EDITS
Time is money, friends. Instead of churning out a 50-line email, ask your designer for a hyper-focused call and knock it out in 5 minutes.
Totally preference here, but if you have a list of edits and are pressed for time, I like to have my clients log in to their sites and we can edit together over the phone.
You can refresh after I’ve followed your feedback and see the site live. Sure beats composing an email and letting the designer try to decipher your feedback.
5. WHEN CHOOSING A DESIGNER, BE SUPER CLEAR ABOUT YOUR TIMELINE
Communication is everything - be very clear and upfront when interviewing potential designers.
Want to work with a specific designer but they're slammed? Find your next favorite + most available designer and book them for a simple splash/landing/coming soon page.
Here's a pro tip: Nothing on the web is set in stone. When you think of your web design in stages, things become much lighter.
Start small, get launched, continue on, and when your dream designer is ready, you'll have much more experience and feedback ready to go for your next phase of the launch.
I hope this helps you gather the steps to help your designer move quickly and on budget. Want to talk more about how fast we could go with your site design? Send me an email and I'm back to you in a jiffy.
All my best!
— Courtney O.