When you create your first website, there are a few decisions you can make to prevent miscommunications on your team if you decide to hire someone to help you. After designing JCS and several other websites, there are a few things you should know to get your project up and running smoothly.
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For creatives planning to hire web designers for the first time, here are three common pitfalls to avoid so you will both have an easier time getting your project off the ground.
As a content creator, it’s ideal to have executive control over your website. Hiring a designer should never mean loosing access to your content.
That means you should have administrative privileges unique to your status as the owner of your content.
It’s usually best to have a private log in and password that belongs only to you.
You are the owner of your website, and while your web designer needs access to make changes as requested, your web designer should not necessarily have the same administrative control as you.
Tip: Set up your credentials, then create an account that provides your designer with the access they need to get your tasks done (but doesn’t allow the designer to lock you out of your website or add you as an employee to your website).
In your website’s settings (no matter which platform you’ve decided to use) you’ll see an option to create an account and assign a password to a new member.
Most web designers and software companies will also send you instructions with details about the best user access settings for your specific project.
Below is an example of what this will look like in WordPress. In the “settings” area of your website, select the option to add a new user. After you select “add new user,” you’ll see an option to set a password and a “role” allowing your designer to access content as agreed.
If you don’t have access to your email, it’s best to correct this as soon as you can (especially if someone else set up your credentials).
Accessing your email is important for legal reasons and it allows you to sign up for email software platforms. Email software platforms allow you to communicate with subscribers directly and consistently.
Your email platform is important because your subscriber list is the only list of contacts that you oversee. This means your list is a failsafe way to reach your subscribers even if your social media account gets deleted accidentally or an platform changes.
You’ll also need access to your email to improve your open rates.
Platforms like Flodesk will ask you to complete a few verification steps to reduce the chance of your emails going to spam, and you can’t verify anything without the proper credentials.
Whether or not you’re working with a web designer, backing up your work is important. Sometimes a glitch or a hosting issue can cause information to disappear.
Always make sure you work with your designer to automate backups and save your posts in a file on your computer. When you back up your work, make sure you save the alt text for your images, affiliate links within your posts, and the keywords you used for the titles of your images within your content. If you invested time in SEO, you don’t want to lose that hard work as well.
While you can always recover backups, if you forgot to back up your work you might be out of luck.
If you hire a third party contractor, the pre-work is important. Drawing up a contract is a great way to protect your business and honor the work of the designer you hire.
Will the designer be able to deliver on your vision? Will flexibility be included in the price or will there be separate fees for changes to the plan down the line if companies update software suddenly? How often will you check in with the web designer? What happens if you run into a glitch a few months after launching?
The best way to go about this is to outline a scope of work with a contract. One of my favorite places for contract templates is A Self Guru.
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