This past June, I went to WordCamp Seattle at the University of Washington campus. And since then, I’ve had my notes from all the great presentations just sitting in a text file on my desktop. Bad! Like most conventions, there was SO much GREAT information presented and it was hard to digest, and WordCamps always prove to up the level of quality information at every event. I love the WordPress community! Always a good time, at every event. Anyway, without putting it off for yet another month…. :/ I’m posting my ultra-simplified recap of a great talk by Kane Jamison that I listened intently, as if I were my own potential client.

As I knew this talk would be geared towards beginners and/or bloggers – and not web designers and developers like myself – I wanted to bring myself back to what it felt like to be someone who knew little to nothing about how to build a website, and absolutely nothing about the process of finding a good designer to hiring one, to starting and finishing a successful/effective website. I listened intently for things that I could pass on to my clients, both “old” and new. And I’m really glad I did because this talk had so much useful info packed into a brief amount of time. Read it over if you’re considering hiring GREAT 8 or any designer(s) for that matter to build your next website!

Kane’s presentation was called “The Website Owners Guide to Working with Web Designers OR What to Expect When You’re expecting a Website”. Enjoy. :)

Follow @kanejamison on Twitter.
View Kane’s original presentation + slides here.

PAIN POINTS from the client’s perspective
1 – choosing the right designer
2 – what you should expect
3 – what you should own
4 – what you need to provide
5 – tools for communication

1) choosing the right designer: 3 major factors:
1 – purpose of the site (figure out what you need).
2 – price, speed, or quality?
3 – design style. Portfolio is #1 way to judge what you’re going to get. Dig. Ask them for more samples.


1) Find a designer whose specialty matches what you need. Large ecommerce, or small businesses, etc.
Questions to ask: what is their process? What is their turnaround time – when can you start, how long will it take, when will it be handed off, when to start maintenance? What will they require from you? What type of software do they use?

2) Pre-hire onboarding phase:
1 – some sort of free consultation
2 – contract or service agreement (revisions, mockups, time of each phase, payment structure, etc.) A handful of pages is a good thing. 1 page or less should be a concern.
3 – questionnaire. look for some sort of extensive interview process.
build out phase…
launch phase…
5 – testing. (contact forms going through… cross-browser testing… shopping cart… etc.) Clients should be involved in this process.
6 – proper hand off and closure. not just handing off the invoice, call if you need anything. Who will update versions of wordpress? maintenance package?

3) Things you need to own.
PLEASE, PLEASE own these things:
1 – the domain. register your own domain. with your own money. your own login and password.
2 – google analytics. you need this to understand where your users are coming from, how/if your site is working. Trying to get access from the admin is a huge hassle. Use a company email address, not a personal one.
3 – hosting. less important than other 2… what you really have to own is up-to-date site backups. service that automatically backs up your site… $5 a month for one site.

4) It takes two:
1 – answers and feedback. early on. with revisions. questionnaire.
2 – examples and ideas. the more examples and visuals representations you can share with your designer, the better.
3 – copywriting. $500-1000+ for a decent copywriter to cover 4-10 pages, depending. Plan on needing double, triple or more than 500-1,000 if you need 20 pages written, and so on.
4 – photography. avoid stock photo whenever possible, really. Takes a LOT of time. Produce good photos on your own or hire a photographer.

5) how to give your designer feedback when you have no design skills whatsoever…
tools for mockups: Balsamiq. Web app: $12/mo. Google drive plugin, $5/mo.
Color sites:,,
Fonts: google “awesome google font combinations” for inspiration (trendy design)
*the more you can articulate what you want to your designer, the more likely you are to get what you want.*
CSS galleries:,,