I wrote this up for a client, who suggested I share it here with you, so I am!  These are some of the questions I often as new clients, and I think regardless if you work with me or another web producer –or even a web developer or graphics designer — than having a good answer to these kinds of questions will ensure that your relationship will start off on the right foot.

questions to answer before hiring a web producer

1. How did you end up here? Not literally, as in a left turn at the cafe, etc… but how did you come to the decision that you needed a web producer?  Obviously, a variety of decisions or circumstances, small and large, brought you to the point where you are.  It’s good information for your web producer to know – maybe you’re leaving an agency who hasn’t served you well, maybe you’ve done some work and now realize you need professional help, or maybe there was something specific that piqued your interest.  Another way to word this is “what’s the problem you’re trying to solve,” but I find asking it in the above sense gives a depth to the story leading up to said problem.

2. What kind(s) of client(s) are you trying to attract.  It’s really important to know the types of people you want to work with – otherwise, how can you get into their shoes and understand what their problems are, and what your products and services do for them, let alone how your web presence serves them?  Really important for everyone to know about this on all projects, particularly web ones, so I make it a point to put it here.

3. What’s your style?  Nope, not asking if you prefer heels or flats, or if those are wingtips, gentlemen.  This is more a question about how you like to work.  Are you very busy and prefer streamlined communication and looking for someone else to “just get on with it.”  Do you want to be heavily involved, and perhaps get some on-the-job training?  Are you scared/nervous/intimidated/roaring to go?  How knowledgeable are you on the subject?  All these things can help your producer communicate more clearly to you, and also allow for projects to be structured in a way that best suits what you need.  (Important to note:  your style might change from project to project, and you might not even know what you’re looking for until a few discussions into the project, so it’s good to just be upfront.)

4. What’s your budget?  Don’t get into the cat-and-mouse game with your service provider when it comes to pricing.  If prices weren’t listed on their site, or you’re asking for a specific quote/proposal, then be sure to give some budget guidance.  Most service businesses can offer a range of services and being upfront and unapologetic about your current budget situation means less rework and crazed emotional moments during the review process.  Here’s a simple template that will help many of you started: “I’m not sure what to expect in terms of cost, but what I’d like to spend is somewhere between ___ and __.  If that’s not going to work, please let me know so we can discuss before moving too far along.

And that’s it.  Most web producers I know are very information-orientated; in other words, it’s better to overshare, at least in the beginning, just to get everyone’s bearings in alignment.  Getting those communication channels right is very important, particularly if you and your web producer are not co-located, which given today’s market, is pretty common.

Good luck on your project!