Collaboration. It’s why I wrote “We.”
Websites are always a collaboration to a degree, but the game goes like this for most design firms:
- You tell them what you want
- They impress you to death while beating out any competition. (This is where they work the hardest.)
- They build it, all the while trying to keep you from getting creative or having any input beyond the initial scope. (They call this “scope creep”.)
- You pay them big money now and into the future for any little change, upgrade or maintainence.
But you want all 3, right? You want it Cheap, Fast & Good, and who doesn’t, but how do you break the laws of service?
You get it by getting involved at each step. Here’s an outline of what’s required of you:
- We meet, via phone or in person.
- I will come up with a proposal for pricing, and specify the scope of the project, tailoring it with your feedback.
- You pay a third as a non-refundable deposit.
- I do any photography and I come up with preliminary design.
- We meet about the design ideas, and alter to suit until you’re happy with a final design.
- You pay the second third, and you own the design at this point, even though it’s not been built yet.
- You are in charge of the content, which is mainly the words. That’s what Google sees and catalogs. You know your business better than I do.
- I do all the tech stuff, the graphics & the art: the site, it’s inner workings and features, and I get it all presentable and working.
- Your copy is in now, and you are empowered to edit or change it.
- Together, we’ve finished it and it’s time to go live on your domain.
By the time it’s done, you have the know-how to be the webmaster. That’s right: I put myself out of a job and hand you the keys. You drive off into the future.
That’s OK, though — my thing is to be like Johnny Appleseed, a sort-of technical troubadour & mentor, spreading a web of communication & ability where there was none before. You are a newbie no longer. I move on.
How cool is that?