Good web design is a process.
Designing a great website, one that provides a good user experience and converts well, involves professional skills. It takes time. It includes experience from our team and your valuable input. This creative collaboration addresses color palette, logos, photographs and graphics, layout and structure, SEO, connecting your website with email marketing systems and social media accounts, setting up ecommerce, and many other features.
The nature of web design is that it is fluid.
Things change. Better ideas come along. Things don’t work out the way you thought they would. Unforeseen issues might arise that require troubleshooting or work-arounds. This is totally normal.
Sometimes projects go nice and fast, but many times we go over our first estimate.
Factors that will increase the time it takes to design and build a website include:
- A client that isn’t ready or is not organized (see more about this below)
- A client that can’t make up his/her mind or changes it constantly (possibilities are endless, after all…)
- A client who is too busy and can’t respond to our questions in a timely manner
- A client who keeps adding to the initial scope of the project
- Working with a team instead of one person
- Unexpected/heavy workload at CHWD
The items listed above might sound like a list of complaints. Actually, it isn’t. It is a realistic list that describes where many of our customers find themselves in their businesses and their lives, as well as reasons why we charge hourly and don’t bid projects.
None of these issues are necessarily bad. We are very flexible and can work with just about anyone. However, the first 5 items can (but not always) increase the cost of the project, so it is good to be aware of them. We are hired by all different kinds of people, who have different levels of expertise and internet savvy, and are at different stages of their business’ lifecycle. We can help anyone, even at the earliest stages – the idea level – of their new business and its website.
Are you organized?
Are all your files for your new website in one place on your computer? Are all your photos named properly and organized into folders? Do you know what pages you want on your website? Is your copy written and proofed? If you are organized, then we can work more efficiently. However, you may need guidance from us on how to do most of these things before you are ready to begin the design phase of your website. Read more about Getting Ready here
Are you open to professional advice?
Your site will be clean, organized and gorgeous. We want your website to look professional and for it to work for you by saving time, generating leads, and selling products. Trust our 15 years of experience. If we have a difference of opinion, please listen to our professional advice, then you decide how you want us to proceed. Again, we are flexible and want you to love your website. But, our #1 goal is for your website visitors to become your clients and customers. We want them to love your website most of all.
I have said many times to my clients that delays are OK… that it usually means something better is on its way. However, when it has been a couple years and I still haven’t been able to publish the website – that’s a problem. Most of the time the delay concerns the text. Writing compelling copy for a website is hard for most people. It takes focus and time, which busy professionals usually don’t have in abundance. Investing in a professional copy writer is highly recommended. It takes a huge weight off my client’s shoulders and gets the website published much quicker. The sooner a website is published, the faster my clients can start getting leads, selling products and making money.
There are so many variables!
Most people have only a general idea what they want on their website and don’t know how long things take, or what all the possibilities are that they can choose from. They depend on us for professional guidance, just like I would depend on a general contractor’s expertise to build my house. Sometimes it is hard to predict how long certain tasks will take.
Here are 4 examples:
- I have designed simple homepages that take 2-5 hours to build and I have designed some very complex homepages that take over 20 hours to complete.
- A homepage slideshow banner or “hero section” can take a half hour or 10 hours depending on the script, number of slides and moving parts.
- A photo gallery with 10 images takes a lot less time to build than a gallery with 100 images.
- A logo can take anywhere from 2 hours to over 10 hours to perfect.
And then there are the refinements. I may spend an hour or two refining and perfecting the layout, working on margins, colors, negative space, alignments, etc… This work is very important and makes a big difference. This work is what separates a professional website from an amateur website.
If I inherit someone else’s work…
Many times I get a project that was not finished by the original designer, or I inherit a website that needs work or maintenance, that I did not build myself. If this is the case, expect that I will need to spend billable time orienting myself with the previous designer’s work, the theme, and hosting environment. There may be a few “unknowns”, problems or issues that take time to figure out or fix. I can’t know how efficient I will be with these inherited projects until I start working.
For example, I inherited an unfinished website for a fine artist. The original web designer did all the photography of the paintings. Well, it turned out (and I didn’t know this until I started working on the project) that the images were all different sizes. They weren’t standardized, even though the actual canvases were. So, even though I had 50+ photos of 24″ x 36″ paintings, all the images I had to work with were different sizes. And, they were located in 12 different folders and had many different names. It was a mess! I asked the client if she wanted me to crop all the images to the same size or “squish” them all to fit a standard canvas. We ended up having to organize, resize, and rename hundreds of images. And that was just the images! There were many other problems that needed to be addressed before we could launch this website. The hours I initially bid for this project were not enough and eventually doubled.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to website design (at least, not to us). There are too many variables and all kinds of exciting possibilities that may not become apparent to you until mid-way through your project. If you want an amazing website and are ready to participate in an enlightening, creative process, please give me a call at (928) 300-9147 or send me an email. I look forward to discussing your business and website goals with you.