Here are five things you can do to keep the lines of communication open between you and your webmaster:
1. Be specific in your requests. He can’t read your mind. If you don’t tell him exactly what to do and how you want it to work, you’ll be disappointed. The first round of communication is dependent on you.
Specifics include colors you like (either by color code or an example from another site), graphic styles you prefer (based on a graphic you can point to), the way a page functions. Include URLs for the examples and don’t be shy about including more than required.
2. Keep an open channel. Use an email address you check frequently. Respond to her questions quickly. She’s “into” your project now. If she has to wait 3-4 days to get answers, she’ll have to start working on someone else’s project in the meantime. Then it takes her longer to get back to your project. The poor workflow slows everyone down.
As an alternative to an email address, consider an Instant Messenger account. Depending on the times of day that you and your web designer are working—and whether you’re both awake at the same time—email may be more efficient.
My web designer and I are 12 hours apart, so he’s awake when I’m asleep, and vice versa. However, when we’re working on a quick turnaround project, I’ll stay up later so we can exchange emails about the project more frequently.
And when I’m turning in for the night, I always send a message to that effect so he won’t be expecting a quick response.
3. Keep an open mind. No one is perfect.
Your webmaster should feel free to ask you questions, even if it might appear that he knows less than you thought. That’s generally not the case; instead, he’s asking for clarification. Or information.
It’s not unusual for my webmaster to email me to ask if I know of a resource that does “xyz.” Or he’ll tell me he’s not the person to do that task; that I need to look for someone who can do “abc.” That feeling of “you’re okay, even if you don’t know everything” is very important to open communication.
4. Say thank you. Just a short thank you in response to exceptionally fast turnaround or a great job or a surprisingly wonderful job goes a long way.
And if you’re willing to share, refer others to your web designer. She’ll appreciate the additional business and will be extra careful to give you continued great service in exchange for more referrals.
5. Pay promptly. When you first work with a web designer, they may ask for payment up front or immediately after finishing the job. Don’t wait two weeks to pay them. They need their money now. They should provide you with a link for payment, so use it quickly.
When you follow these guidelines, you’ll find that your work gets done faster and with greater efficiency. Because you are saving your web designer time and trouble, your work will be something she looks forward to receiving, rather than dreading. And you’ll both save time—and most importantly, you’ll save money as a result!