The Perfectionist’s Guide to getting a Website Designed

Do you identify as a perfectionist? If so, you’re not alone, many people find themselves in what can feel like an impossible situation, they want every project completed to an extremely high standard but within a set time-frame and budget.

Anyone who’s been in charge of any project knows how things can quickly deviate from the initial plan.

Perfectionists find it especially hard to make decisions on developing a website because there are always more things that can be done, and lots of bells and whistles to choose from. Most businesses don’t have an open-ended budget for website design, so the focus has to be on progress over what you might perceive to be perfection (when in reality the constant tweaking and changing is probably not making much difference at all).

The good news is that a website absolutely should continue to change after it is launched, you just have to draw a line as to when enough is enough and get the thing live. So with a little perspective, you can ensure your quest for perfection results in a great site that launches on time and on budget – just remember to not sweat the small stuff like minute differences between two equally as good fonts.

7 things to keep in mind when you are getting a website designed by a professional web person.

1. Images can be changed at a later date

This means you should choose good imagery for your site but it doesn’t have to be an image that will stay on the site indefinitely. In most cases changing images is a quick and easy job so there is no need to overthink which images are used. Just make sure you have a legal right to use them, that they are the right resolution, and that they are appropriate for the site. I can help you work all that out with my handy on-boarding client that all new clients get.

2. Text can be changed at a later date

This goes alongside images being changed. If you want to change a single word or even a whole paragraph this is something that can be done pretty much at any time. You don’t have to have the words 100% perfect to launch a site, you are better to write something good enough rather than nothing at all. It isn’t obvious to most people if you have a sentence which you think is mediocre, but everyone can tell that you didn’t finish if you leave a page with “information coming soon” on it. Also, what does it say about your ability to finish a project and follow through on work? It’s not encouraging at all and I know I’ve personally avoiding businesses with sites just like that.

3. The overall design

The design you choose does matter and should be chosen carefully. Changing the aesthetic or layout of your website after your developer has started working on it can result in going beyond the initial scope of works and could result in delays and unanticipated costs. What may seem like a minor alteration can actually mean hours and hours of behind the scenes work. Better to get these details right before signing off the design. Similarly being clear on what you are looking for, before beginning the design phase, will help to ensure that the design meets your expectations. I will ask you lots of questions before we even get to that stage to make sure we nail the look.

4. Feedback from Friends and family

Friends and family can be great sounding boards, but remember that they may not represent your target audience and they are not generally experts in website design. While their opinions will be worth hearing, it would be a mistake to let what they say make you second guess your own vision. If you’re looking for helpful feedback then existing customers and staff will often have more relevant insights into what works and what doesn’t. 

5. Perfection is nearly impossible due to screen sizes and devices

These days, we view websites on a wide range of screen sizes, using many different resolutions and browsers. What this means for perfectionists is that you cannot control exactly how a website will look in all circumstances. What you can do is work to have a site that is flexible enough to look great in most scenarios and still good on the less common ones. This means giving up a little control over the exact experience each user will have, but if you don’t do this then you will be disappointed anyway, new devices or browser updates can and will keep changing the way people view your site.

6. High rankings on Google are not a set and forget formula.

Getting a brand new shiny website is not necessarily a silver bullet to high rankings in Google and lots of enquiries. If it’s a site redesign of a mature site, you may well get some better results quite quickly. However, if your site is new to the web it may well take some time for you to see any results in the free organic rankings. Your competitors who have been online for years have a big advantage over you. And if they are savvy digital marketers, they are doing everything they can to make sure it’s their site at the top. You’ll have to work just that bit harder and smarter, add more content, keep tweaking old content, check your rankings, check your site performance levels and possibly pay for some advertising to kick start enquiries and sales.

Search engine optimization is a big topic and you can do a very deep dive into reading all of the advice in books and online. Some things are easy to do straight away (like changing meta data on your site), other things are challenging – like speed and overall website optimization improvements.

So you just have to keep working at it. Don’t be surprised if you have mini setbacks with getting a good ranking and then finding your position has slipped a few places. That happens and sometimes it comes right, other times you’ll need to look at the content, the optimisation, and the performance factors and see what you can improve.

7. Respect the skills and abilities of your web designer – they do this work every day

You’ve chosen them for their specialist knowledge so let them do their job well. Be clear and concise about what it is you want to achieve and give them the ‘big picture’ don’t just ask for features and functions in isolation. If they have the big picture of what you are trying to achieve, they may well know a better way to achieve what you are after. A good web designer will keep asking you ‘why’ and what your goals are. It’s easy to get distracted I know, so your web designer will keep pulling you back to focus on the task at hand.

Most skilled people do their best work when they feel trusted and empowered and well briefed on what they are needing to achieve. Trying to micro-manage someone who has deep and specialist knowledge in an area you probably know only superficially will cause friction and result in a project becoming challenging for both parties.

So don’t micro-manage. This doesn’t mean you can’t have any input, just wait to be asked. As you will be given multiple opportunities to provide feedback in a structured way. The time for reviews is generally when the website project meets various milestones.

Also, keep in mind, that often you may not be seeing a website that’s fully functioning. So keep your comments directed to what you’ve been asked to review.

OK, that’s it for now, as a fellow perfectionist, I know I could keep revising this list indefinitely but I’d rather get on with helping you develop great websites that add value to your business.

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