Hiring a blog designer can be a scary thing. Especially when it means forking over a load of cash you worked hard for, and hoping that the finished product is something you like. If you’ve picked a good designer, odds are they know this and will do everything in their power to make sure they fully understand your vision, goals, and aspirations for your blog/website.
As a blog designer myself, I love a client that’s organized, thorough, and is not afraid to voice opinions. That being said, I also like to have a little creative reign on a project. There’s nothing worse than stifling my artistic approach than a client telling me exactly how things should be done. I’m sure the same goes for painters, photographers, musicians…basically any other artistic job.
So, as a client, how can you make the most of your time, vision, and personal style while letting go of the steering wheel and giving the blog designer their creative freedom to come up with something extraordinary and uniquely you?
1. Create a Pinterest board for your dream blog design. I can’t stress how great it is when clients have Pinterest boards for their new design. Like the saying goes, “A picture is worth a thousand words.” We like to know what you like! Throw anything in it that inspires you and that makes you want to blog: color palettes, typography, paintings, jewelry…the list could go on and on! By seeing what you have in your Pinterest board, we can get an immediate idea of who you are and what style you’re going for.
2. Have a clear vision on what direction you want your blog to go. Your blog niche can affect the direction of your blog design. For example, if you own a travel blog, odds are you aren’t wanting glitter and hearts everywhere
if you have a travel blog with glitter and hearts, don’t mind me over here. The minute a potential reader loads your blog, you want them to know who you are and what you’re about,whether it means adding certain things design-wise, or making sure relevant content is featured.
It’s really hard to create designs for clients that aren’t really sure what they want to do long-term with their blog. As designers, we’re here to help you take the next step forward in growing your blog and enabling you to become a successful blogger. Without a ‘vision’ of the future, our work may quickly be outgrown. Does that make sense?
Some things to ask yourself would be: What is my niche (Lifestyle blogger, family blogger, travel blogger, photographer, etc)? Who reads my blog? How am I wanting readers to access my content and interact with me? What areas of my blog am I wanting to improve? How can I keep readers engaged?
3. Educate yourself on WordPress or Blogger (layouts, plugins, tech specs). By knowing how your blog runs, you can be well informed on what a designer can and can’t do for your blog. Quick example: A designer cannot change the look of your WordPress dashboard beyond what WordPress allows you to change. A designer is there to change the look of your blog and not the way WordPress runs.
Yep that’s an extreme example, but it’s happened before. That being said, learn the different blog layouts available to you, so you can ask for something specific if you’d like that from a designer. Do you like two sidebars? Three footer widget areas? A widget area above the content? A full width content (sans sidebars)? I know, there are so many things to learn, but the more you know, the more you benefit yourself.
There are also multitudes of plugins out there, Google something you’re wanting for your blog and see if it’s something you can load yourself and say a few dollars. :)
4. It’s ok to dream big. I love it when clients come to me with their ‘reach for the stars’ ideas. Just because I haven’t done something before doesn’t mean I’m not willing to give it a try! I’ve learned the most from clients that push me beyond my limits and force me to learn more. That being said, there are certain things that aren’t possible no matter how hard we try. :) So have understanding with us too!
5. All good things come with time. A good blog design doesn’t happen overnight. By emailing a potential designer, “Hey I need a new custom design done in two days. Can you do it?” You leave the designer in a rock in a hard spot. Most will blow you off, but you’ll have that one brave soul that needs a job just at that exact time who will take it. Odds are they’ll work those 48 hours straight through for you, and somehow pull it off.
The problem is, by giving such a short time frame, you don’t allow the designer to really get to know you and explore options with you. By rushing a job you may just not get everything you needed in your design (things that you didn’t know that you needed yet).
Each designer has a different timeline for their custom designs, but I have to say at least 70% of that also depends on the client and how much they want to be involved in the process.
Be patient. Learn some things. Grow with your blog (in knowledge, inspiration, and passion). Create the best design ever.