Blogsite Redeaux, Part Three: Negotiate a Contract

The third part of this series is about how to negotiate a contract with a web designer.

Hopefully you’ve chatted extensively with several designers and have a good idea of what they do and don’t do. Based on all you’ve heard and seen, informally ask if he/she can design you a site to include that list of “must-haves” you’ve been accruing. Be detailed! If he/she can’t promise you they will deliver everything on your list, keep shopping for the right one.

Most importantly, as stated before, make sure your designer is one who is easily accessible and will answer all your questions in a timely manner. Because believe me, you will have A LOT of questions.

 1)  OUTLINE THE BASICS

Your contract should contain:

*Both parties’ names and contact information (How will you correspond with each other? Written communication is always best, for several reasons!)

*What responsibilities your designer will perform (Will they be responsible to contract to a website host for you for a fee or will this be something you do yourself? Which website host do they prefer to work with? Will they buy your domain name for you and exactly what is your domain?)

*How much a basic design without extras will cost and when payment(s) are due

*Time frame expected for project to be completed and expectations about delayed project times

*How many rounds of revisions will you be allowed (Three rounds of changes is standard. This forces you to think UP FRONT what you want and not waste the designer’s time.)

*What you get for your money in terms of HTML and CSS layouts

*If the designer will design logos or import photos for you to use on your site and at what cost (Think about your header and your favicon and firm up your creative visions of these items. My husband Al snapped a photo session of me at in scenic setting, then photoshopped it, so Heather could use it at no cost to me.)

*Copyright details or who owns what (What surprised me, a bit, was that I received a copy of the graphics/visual elements created for me to archive. My designer outlined that she was in no way responsible to keep this for me, should there be problems with the site and this need to be re-installed at some time in the future. GOOD TO HAVE AND KNOW!)

 

2)  HOW WILL YOU PAY?

I strongly suggest doing this through PayPal, although I’ve heard grumbling about this site lately. I would still recommend PayPal, however, because you at least have some recourse with the seller when a contract is not fulfilled.

My story: Six months ago when I went through this process the first time, there were glaring holes in my website that I could not fix. The first designer skidded into some personal issues that left her unable to fulfill her part of the bargain. Within the time frame established by PayPal, I was forced to file a dispute to PayPal for reimbursement of my money. This escalated to a full-fledged claim and I was awarded half of the original price I’d paid for my first design (the down-payment was made outside the time frame allowed by PayPal).

Once you’ve signed a contract and have started the actual process, I would suggest keeping ALL correspondence in a separate email folder and hanging onto it. That way, if you ever should have to petition for reimbursement of your money or you simply have a question about something related to your blog, you have your information organized in one place.

I hope my take on blogsite design has been helpful. If it has been beneficial to you, would you comment below or email me?

Lookin up,

 

 

Blogsite Redeaux, Part Two: Budget for a Paid Site

Today I’ll define some blogsite terms with which you may be unfamiliar. I’ll also outline what some designers charge for their services, so you can begin to get a reasonable blog redeaux budget firmly in mind.

Keep in mind: WordPress is THE platform of choice for those who want to blog about a product or service and/or want to build a long-term identity online. Blogger is a popular free-site choice but does not offer paid hosting that WordPress.org does.

1) KNOW THE JARGON – Here’s a generalized list of terms generated from Wikipedia and other internet sources:

Domain

  • Buying your own domain establishes your brand as your own. This can be as simple as “yourname.com” or something similar and obviously makes it easier for your readers to find you via cyberspace.

Free (or self) hosting blog

  • Set up on a free site such as Blogger or WordPress.com. Does not require a purchased domain (your name or business.com) or monthly hosting fees.

Paid hosting blog

  • Opposite to above, the most-frequently touted of which is WordPress.org. Requires purchase of domain and monthly hosting fees.

Themes (General)

  • Nice designs and lay-outs, already coded in HTML for you.

Genesis Themes

  • The newest set of designs/lay-outs on WordPress.org. If you are working with a web designer, the cost of this is usually covered in your initial payment for  your blogsite’s design.

Plug-ins

  • Cool tools that “plug in” to enhance functionality of your site, way beyond anything “widgets” can do! WordPress.org has hundreds of these freebies to offer (you can add these yourself if versed in HTML or you can pay a designer to include these for you).

 

2) COUNT THE COST – I will break down what I spent on my own paid-site blog for you. I can’t guarantee my experience is typical but should be in the general ballpark of costs.

Domain purchase & Web hosting: I’ve paid $9.95 a month or about $119.40 for one year of hosting on Dream Host, which is but one of several companies that WordPress recommends. Dream Host also throws in a free .com, .org, .net, or .info domain registration for the life of your hosting. Which translates to a $9.95/yr value – included free with every DreamHost hosting plan. If you buy this elsewhere, expect to pay $18 to 25 a year for your domain name. [Read more...]

Blogsite Redeaux, Part One: First Steps

Several of you have asked what insights I have about the process of upgrading from free site (wordpress.com) to a Genesis-framework self-hosted site. (wordpress.org). This is first in a series that will hopefully help you avoid many possible pitfalls.

 

1)  TEST DRIVE OTHER SITES FIRST – This is an important first step. You first have to know what’s out there and what it is you like!

Look at lots and lots of different kinds of sites (the good, bad, and great). Make a running list of the sites that appeal to you and analyze exactly WHY they do.

Is it the color scheme something that appeals to you? What do you think about the fonts used? Is it easy to navigate? Could the layout work for your blog? Are the widgets or plug-ins something you’d like to see on yours? Who are the specific designers of any blogs you find attractive (usually listed at the bottom of the blog)?

Tip: If you are a female blogger, take a look at the sites being pinned on Pinterest.com for ideas of what commands a female reader’s attention.

 

2) NARROW DOWN CHOICES FOR A PROSPECTIVE DESIGNER – Besides the list of designers you’ve been adding to, look for online lists of web/blog designers.

One general site that might be helpful:

http://theblogdesignernetwork.com/blog-designers/

Caveat: Don’t automatically assume these designers are reputable because they’re included on a list. Many times they pay to advertise on an online directory. Do your homework!

On his/her professional website, is the designer forthcoming about what services he/she provides and the charges for these services? Are you getting a sense of what kind of monetary and time budgets you will need?  Does he/she provide a portfolio of recent projects that might be similar to your envisioned site? Is there any way to contact his/her former clients to chat about their experience?

Next week, I’ll talk about budgeting for your blog.

Lookin’ up,