You have been blogging for a while using a free theme and have earned some money. You are now ready to make your website stand out from the crowd. It is time to hire a website designer!
Here are the top 8 things to know before you hire a blog designer:
1) What is the difference between hiring a Blog Designer and a Developer?
This is the number one thing to understand before getting started. A graphics artist can design a logo or a header. A Blog Designer helps choose design features to make your blog stunning and above average. They will know the best colors, fonts, page layouts, and other visual aspects.
A Developer is also known as a Coder. They can create custom page templates, a store, or create a custom plugin. Anything else that changes the way WordPress works will need a Developer. Some Designers can do some CSS and PHP coding. Developers rarely are great at being a Designer. They will expect you to already have worked with a Designer before you get to them.
A Unicorn is someone who is comfortable in both jobs. They are rare and elusive. A Designer may already have a relationship with a Developer.
2) Who has the Blog Designer worked with before?
The best place to look for a designer is on the footer of the blogs that are the most appealing to you. There will usually be a link to the designer/developer’s website showcasing their portfolio. Contact the blog owner and ask them what it was like to work with this person and/or company. Sites like Ifreelance.com, Elance.com, Odesk.com, or Freelancer.com will have names of Designers and Developers.
3) When does the Blog Designer get paid?
Do they want to get paid per project, per line item, or hourly? Will you be charged for edits once the project is live? A reputable designer will ask for 50% up front. The remainder will be due once the zip file for the new theme is transferred.
4) How many changes are you allowed to make to the design?
Most designers will allow 3 iterations. Once the work starts you cannot change your mind. Some designers will allow you as many changes as they go along. Make sure how this will be handled is in the contract before work begins.
5) What support does the Blog Designer offer once the site goes live?
There can be a world of difference between an offline development and an online active website. You’ll notice things that aren’t quite working the way you had envisioned. Will your designer be there to fix them or charge a fee? How many changes once you are live will you be allowed? What will the fee be to change these things or is that part of the price?
6) How will you get the new design?
Will the designer upload it to your host? Will they back up your previous work first? A Designer will not usually upload the new theme to your site, back up your existing data, install WordPress on your new host, or change your DNS records. If you want this service there is usually a separate fee. If it is included in the fee is this something you can handle yourself and get a discounted price?
7) Does the Blog Designer offer updates and what kind?
What happens when WordPress issues an update and a part of the theme gets broken? Who will fix that? Will there be a fee? If so, how much? How many updates will that cover?
8) Do you have a contract and what is in it?
Do not assume that you are getting all the bells and whistles for your money. If a Blog Designer has created custom graphics, who holds the copyrights? If you do, then how do you get them? In a png, a psd, are they flat or layered? Will they also create a Facebook and Twitter cover? If not, how much will that cost?
The only way to know what you are getting for your money is to ask. A good Blog Designer will have a list of what to expect on their website. A great Blog Designer will send you a list and include it in their contract.