This article was contributed by Mike Wallagher.
As the Nielsen Norman Group tells us, you have about 10 seconds to make an impression on your web visitors, but sometimes, you don’t even have that long.
Forty percent of people will abandon a website if it takes more than three seconds to load, and the stakes may be even higher for those on mobile. According to Margin Media, 67 percent of users say they’re more likely to buy from a site that’s mobile-friendly while 74 percent agree that they’re more likely to return to a site that’s optimized for mobile.
So how do you make that killer first impression? With a great web design.
Whether you’re lacking the time or the skills to take on web design tasks yourself, consider these tips for outsourcing your website and blog design duties.
Carefully Consider Your Recruitment Strategy
When you’re on the search for a freelancer or team to help with your web design, you have several options to find the right person for the task. Among these, you can find designers through referrals, online searches, or by posting a job ad.
You can also post your project in a freelance marketplace, but again, carefully consider where you’re posting the job. You don’t want to waste money posting an ad on a site that will only bring you bids from beginners without any samples.
Once you know how you’ll recruit your designer, consider ways to get the most out of that option. For instance, if you post a job ad, be detailed about what you want in your ideal designer. Experienced designers can tell if you’re a good client or not based on your job ad. For instance, if your budget isn’t listed in the ad, quality designers may not even bother contacting you. That’s not to mention that a detailed job ad can help weed out applicants that don’t fit your criteria.
See also how to manage & hire remote workers.
Hire People Who Know Graphic Design and Web Design
The first step to a great web design is hiring the right person. But with many classifications of “design” out there, it can be all too easy to end up with a designer who isn’t fit for your project. For example, you could hire someone who understands web coding and can make tweaks to your theme, but he may not have the experience and knowledge to arrange the elements in the same way a graphic designer would.
Likewise, you could hire any graphic designer to develop a logo and banners, but if he primarily works in print, he may not understand the non-graphic design elements of your website.
That’s not to say the designers in these scenarios are untalented, but they simply may not be right for your project. Instead, make sure you’re hiring a team who has the web and graphic design experience. That way, they not only understand how to develop a captivating layout, but they also know how to optimize the elements for the online experience.
Start by Outsourcing a Single Task
Whether you need just one tweak to your blog or you’re looking to completely overhaul the site, it’s a good practice to start by outsourcing a single task. This way, you get a feel for the designer’s style and work ethic without putting too much risk into a designer you may not like once you get to know each other.
In this sense, the design task can be looked at as a sort of “interview,” but make sure you compensate the designer for his time, even if you don’t decide to work with him in the long-run.
Work With a Contract
Before your designer jumps in to the project, be sure he’s working under a signed contract. This protects both of you should a dispute arise. This contract should cover things like:
- Payment terms: How much will the project cost? If you’re working with the designer on an on-going basis, are there rates in place for each task, or will he be paid on an hourly basis? How much? When are payments made? What method is used?
- Ownership: Who owns the content produced? If your designer creates a logo for you, is he free to use that logo template for another client, or is it exclusively yours? When does transfer of ownership occur? Does the designer maintain the rights to graphics the client rejects?
- Liability: Should any dispute arise between your company and another, such as claims of copyright infringement, who is held liable?
- Deadlines: When are projects due?
- Term/Termination: How long does the contract last, and what steps must be taken to terminate it?
- Revisions: How many revision requests can the client make, and how much will revision cost (if anything)?
Your designer may already have a contract he uses with clients, so be sure to ask him for it and to review it carefully before he gets to work.
Communicate Effectively During the Project
There’s nothing worse than investing a couple thousand dollars into your web design only to find out that you don’t like the look of your site at all. To reduce this risk, it’s important to keep in touch with your designer through each step of the process.
Let’s take an example. If your site is getting a new logo, don’t wait around until the product is finished and the designer emails it to you. Have him show you his concepts before he starts refining them so you can make suggestions.
At the same time, it can be detrimental to be breathing down your designer’s neck during the entire process. After all, a bit of creative freedom can go a long way to making something simple extraordinary. So give him some space, but check in every now and then to offer feedback on his progress. See how to work with designers here.
Outsourcing your design tasks can mean huge benefits in time saved and innovative ideas collected—and if you hire the right designer, your website will not only look better, but it will bring in more conversions and revenue. But it all starts with a smart outsourcing plan.
How will you apply these tips to your next outsourced project?