2 Overlooked Questions For Hiring A Website Professional

by Erica Wiley

You ever go to your competitor’s website and they’ve got a brand new design, that’s nicer than yours, and you think ” I can’t let this be” ?

So now you’ve got some fire in your belly, you’re interviewing web designers to bring some magic to your website and your asking all the normal questions… rates, testimonials, timeline. But what if you are missing the 2 most critical questions that could save you time and stress?


Who owns it?

Last year my client, we’ll call her Tara, was having us do a holiday design for her website. There were some permanent graphics that she wanted to temporarily update with holiday sales copy, so I told her it was a quick job if she could send me the original graphic art files.

Tara got back to me within a few days, with a response from her previous designer: According to the terms of their contract, Tara had forfeited ownership of her own graphics. You’re probably already speculating that this was to ensure Tara always came back to the same designer; you’re right, and this designer fully admitted that reason in the email.

The result? What would have been a simple, inexpensive job, cost her more time and money. We had to bill Tara for  recreating the graphics from scratch, in order to do the holiday specials.

So what do you need to ask say to a designer to avoid this situation? Simply request that the contract must clearly state you own full rights to all graphics created for your company and that all original art files be provided to you at the end of the project. Review the contract to ensure this is included before signing.


How can we ensure it attracts my ideal clients?

The second question to ask is what is their process for designing a website for your business and your target audience. You may think you don’t want the details or it’s over your head, but this is actually of huge importance.

I was at a mastermind event a little over a week ago, where I met a young woman who absolutely did not like her website. Structurally, it was sound and even looked nice- but it as all wrong. The colors were wrong, the imagery was wrong and the copy was wrong. It was all directed to an audience that was not this woman’s ideal market. On top of that, the imagery and copy didn’t even accurately portray her.

She had gotten 600 new subscribers to her list but she didn’t know who they were or what to say to them.  Also, she was concerned because the people who were reading her guest articles on other sites, were not opt-ing in on her website because they were confused about the different messaging.

The truth is not every web professional has a method for designing a site to your target market specifications. You can very well get a website specific to your industry, but it takes extensive preliminary work to design  a website that will resonate with your ideal client.

We do this in two steps:

  • First we give you an in-depth questionnaire, designed to find out more about you individually, your business story and who you best serve.
  • Second, we have a consultation with you to review the questionnaire and get clarity on certain areas, especially what your ideal client looks like.

If you’re shopping around for a new website, be sure to confirm you are getting all original artwork and that there is a plan/process to ensure your website is designed uniquely to represent you and entice your ideal client.

Have a tip for working with a web professional? Please share below!


Read more from Erica on She Owns It here.



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One Reply to “2 Overlooked Questions For Hiring A Website Professional”

  1. Erica Wiley[ Post Author ]

    Great answer on Quora- thanks for sharing!

    The fact that these files are sometimes quite large and that the client most likely won’t know what to do with them is true.

    However, the files can be provided by a large file share service(instead of email) and they are NOT intended to be used by the client, unless they know how. Since the client either has to return to the artist for all future changes, even if simple text, or hire another professional, the choice should be up to the client.

    There are some VAs trained to work with these programs and could do simpler changes at a lower cost for the client. Besides, I don’t know a single artist who wants to be getting calls to fix text any.

    I find that if you give them the files, they may take simple changes elsewhere, but usually come back to the artist for new designs. Integrity breeds loyalty.

    That said, I believe only final artwork approved for the client should be the client’s. That excludes rejected artwork, including comps.

    Again, great considerations from the “other side of the fence”

    Thanks for contributing to the conversation!

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