Site Owners: Prepare Yourselves

prepare yourselves

Hiring a New Designer or Developer?

We've talked. You've shared your frustrations. You know you're not happy and you've shared with me that you need a new developer or designer to help with your web site. It's likely that it's the reason we're talking – because you hoped that I would help. After all, I know a little something about WordPress and your site is either using it already or you want to make the move. Let's start here – I think it's awesome that you're ready to invest in your online property.

But before we go much further, I want to share with you something that maybe your old designer or developer didn't.

My Open Letter to You

In so far as you're going to ask me questions to determine if I know my stuff, please be prepared for the same thing. I want you to know that we're both doing the interviewing here. And we both have choices. Neither of us is in some crazy spot that requires us to choose each other.

I know a ton of people are out of work and struggling to make ends meet, but for the most part, all the WordPress folks I know (who deliver quality results) are busy for the next month or two at least – so no, WordPress developers aren't a desperate bunch. You may be thinking of FoxPro developers.

So please be prepared for the questions I have.

And they're not going to revolve around your web site. They're going to revolve around your business. I don't want to come across antagonistic, so please hear me here. I want you, and your business, to succeed. But I only want to work with you if I believe your business model makes sense and makes you money – because then I know you'll be getting paid – and if you're paid, then I'm paid.

We're all Professionals Here

I know you may be thinking I wrote this blog post just for you. But here's the thing, look at the date when it was published – it was before we even spoke. It's not about you. It comes from having worked with others like you since 1996. You are a professional. I know you know that. It's the flip side that sometimes I think we all forget, because maybe your last developer didn't come across as professional – but we're a professional bunch too.

I plan to interact with you in a way that highlights I know my stuff. I don't just know code. I know business. I know conversions. I know that if you're going to create a transactional site that turns prospects into qualified buyers and then helps them pull the trigger, we're going to need to develop the paths that will help them do that. That's why I'm not asking you to browse to see what theme you like. That's why I'm asking you about the lifecycle model & lifetime value of your customers.

Prepare Yourselves

I can't tell you enough that design follows purpose. I need to know what you're trying to accomplish before we talk design elements. That's why every time you send me a link to a site you like, I tell you we're not there yet. Because those sites aren't trying to do what you're trying to do.

I can't tell you enough that your budget impacts our work together. You can't send me a site that took 8 months to develop and cost $40,000 and wonder if I can code up a theme to match it in 2 weeks for $500. My investment (in time, energy & creativity) will match yours.

I can't tell you enough that your business needs to be healthy. Here's what I know – a nice looking site, with great graphics and cool features won't fix a broken business model. That's why I'll spend so much time with you trying to flesh out your business model.

My Questions in Advance

Want a cheat sheet? Here are ten questions that will get you started and prepped before we meet.

  1. What is the objective of the site? What do you want it to DO for you? What JOB is it taking care of?
  2. How do you see it functioning? Transactional? Relational? Influence? Sign-ups for newsletters, etc?
  3. How do you define success? At 3 months? At 6 months? At 1 year? at 5 years? at 10 years?
  4. Who is your target audience? Be as specific as you can.
  5. What kind of content do you plan to host? Long articles? Tutorial articles? Observation articles? Short articles? Photos (alone)? Links (alone)?
  6. Will your articles have calls to action? If so, can you share a few?
  7. Will you sell things (products, services, etc) on the site? What's the current conversion rate (visits vs leads, leads vs purchases)
  8. What's your current promotion plan – beyond the web site? How else do you get the word out? How is it working?
  9. What is the rate of repeat buyers? Do you have a sense for how you drive new sales differently than repeat business?
  10. What's your traffic and engagement levels right now?
I can't wait to connect. I'm excited to help. And if I'm busy, I can just about guarantee you that if you know this information, you'll be prepared to talk to anyone I might recommend. Just do me a favor, hold off from picking that favorite themeforest theme until we've gone over the important stuff.