Your web folks–Webbies–have the same goals as you do when it comes to your website: keeping the site running properly, current with the latest info and, of course, beautiful!
There are plenty of ways you can easily support them in this process, making the most of everyone’s time and energy, thereby insuring yourself the best possible service. Bonus: If you’re paying hourly fees, many of these tips will help save money for you as well! (Want additional money-saving ideas?)
- Be specific! Be clear about what you want and include specific details with every request. As charming as you undoubtedly are, don’t expect your Webbie to remember everything about you and your site. Include the web address of changes when possible so there is no confusion. If you’re replacing a small bit of text on a long page, then be clear about what’s changed and where. There’s no reason for your Webbie to reformat an entire page of content to change 3 words somewhere in the middle of the page, for example.
- Send in your updates grouped together. There are certain steps required for every site update, whether you’re making one change or twenty. If you send updates in small batches over an extended period, it takes much longer to complete the work. If you’re paying for updates hourly, this will definitely impact your costs as well.
- Proof copy before sending it off to your Webbie. Of course, things get missed sometimes. That’s to be expected. However, if you frequently update copy you’ve already sent, your Webbie is essentially being asked to do the same work repeatedly. Who wants to do that? If ongoing revisions become the norm for you, eventually your Webbie will probably delay completing your updates in anticipation of the routine corrections s/he’s come to expect.
- Be kind about mistakes. We all make them. It’s just for Webbies, the mistakes happen to be up on the internet, available for the world see. Eeek! That’s some pressure, man. So cut ‘em some slack whenever you can.
- Save rush requests for actual emergencies–and offer (or expect) to pay extra. Your Webbie may not even take you up on it, but I guarantee the offer will be appreciated. It’s a given that pretty much everyone wants their web work done “ASAP.” However, once a Webbie accumulates a certain number of clients, last-minute requests quickly become unmanagable. Planning helps avoid the need for the eleventh-hour freakouts.
- Don’t expect immediate gratification. While you may normally get very quick service, don’t assume your Webbie is always available. Webbies often have multiple clients, and sometimes even a personal life. (Who knew?) Provide adequate turn-around time for your requests.
- Call during business hours whenever possible. As we’ve already established, Webbies may want to have personal lives. :) And email is often the most efficient way to reach your Webbie anyway, since it’s probably checked very frequently, during business hours and even off-hours.
- Don’t look to your Webbie as replacement for having qualified IT folks. It’s true in the world of technology, an “expert” is the person who knows more than you do. And it’s true that your Webbie may know lots about computers and general tech issues in addition to web issues. Webbies tend to be a bit on the geekish side, after all. But many tech questions require research to make sure the info is accurate and complete, a responsibility most Webbies take seriously. If the issue is not related to the work your Webbie does for you, consider who is best suited to assist you.
- If something is bothering you, speak up! Webbies may have no idea whatsoever you’re been unhappy at all! But if you speak up, problem areas can be addressed. Most Webbies want to keep their clients happy and therefore stay in business, after all.
- Give some notice if you’re getting ready to move on. Webbies manage their workload around existing clients and commitments. Being prepared for changes allows them to make informed decisions regarding new projects. Professional Webbies won’t get mad or act out because you’re leaving. Clients come and go for a myriad of reasons. There is no reason moving on need be an unpleasant experience.
- Proof your Webbie’s work. It’s your site, so it’s ultimately your job to make sure the work is done to your specifications and satisfaction. Pointing out problems immediately helps them get fixed quickly. Plus, your Webbie will appreciate the help, most likely. They want to do good work for you, too!
- And finally, pay promptly. (Or if you can’t, let your Webbie know what’s going on.) Many Webbies are independent professionals, working without the security of a weekly paycheck or employer benefits. They depend on your business to pay their bills. So have a heart and don’t make them sweat it out waiting for your check.
A happy Webbie is an efficent Webbie! Follow these tips, and it’s dollars to donuts that all your requests will consistently get top priority from your Webbie, done with extra care and cheerful service to boot. (And you may get charged less for being a sweetheart in the bargain. What’s not to love?)
Here’s wishing you a fruitful relationship with your own Webbie!