When choosing a web designer, consider how their previous work looks currently. View their portfolio – and then go to the live sites for each of the featured companies they’ve done work for.
How a website holds up has a lot to do with what is easy for a client to edit, and how that plays out with real content. You need to be intentional about talking through what needs to be editable with your web designer when you’re having initial discussions – hopefully they initiate this discussion, but if not it’s up to you to make sure what you need to edit on a regular basis, is considered during the build.
Some things you shouldn’t edit, and some things you should be able to if you want to
- You shouldn’t be able to edit visual design aspects and structural components that were thought out carefully by a designer that constitute the main ‘frame’ of the site, as adjusting these at whim might make the website look flimsy, and if you hired a real professional – your eye on these things probably won’t be better than theirs.
- You should be able to add new content in specified areas – like the blog, or create new service pages. Perhaps you run a landscaping and yard company, but you just started adding snow plowing and shoveling into the mix – you’d want to be able to add a page for those things, and the structure for ‘service’ pages should allow you to add them fairly simply with a little figuring out.
If you can, it’s still good to pay a professional when making significant changes
Trust me, no web designers favorite way to make money is by making little tweaks to existing websites. I don’t want to nickel and dime clients, and for that reason, I don’t take on clients when all they have is a couple hours of work to complete – I generally try to only start new projects of 25 hours or more so that I can offer the best customer service and relationship to those I do end up working for.
That being said, I offer ongoing work on projects I’ve completed at my normal hourly rate – because I’m already familiar with the website, being that I built it and can knock out tasks quickly.
In general, it pays to keep a good relationship with the person who built your site
Not only is it easier to do things on a site that you yourself built, but agencies and freelance web designers have to charge you for an onboarding process with every new relationship – that’s the price of getting familiar with your brand, making sure expectations are correct on both side, and general getting up to speed.
So I sometimes will be talking to a new potential client about some small tweaks to their existing site, and I occasionally advise them to speak with the person who built it if they want to get the best deal on the project. That being said, many people will opt for cheaper web design, and there are situations where the designer doesn’t understand how to make the change they are asking for. All the more reason to choose a real qualified professional from the beginning. Do your research. It may seem like more time at the beginning, but it will save you headaches later.