There are a few ways that you can use a web-person. It helps if you think through these options before you hire someone…even if it isn’t us. The different levels of service naturally have different levels of expense but that is also good to know up front. Probably the most helpful way to think of this is how much time do you want the person to spend on your project.
First option–The order taker
This person is going to take on an assignment. Once the assignment is complete then they are moving on to the next assignment. That doesn’t mean that they don’t want more assignments from you it’s just that they have done what the agreed to do and now they’re done. This may work create for a one-of-a-kind project or a project that you have all of the information and scope already defined. It could as simple as designing a graphic for an upcoming comminication or as complex as a fully functional brand new website. But remember, the scope will not go much outside of what you define at the beginning. If you want a graphic designed for an e-mail they probably aren’t going to ask where else might you need to use the graphic (ie, will it be printed too.)
Many times these jobs are hired/paid by the hour or on a per project basis.
Second option–The consultant
This person is going to listen to the needs of the client with a more broad perspective. There might be some project work but they want to know how that project fits into the overall business plan. What are the goals and objectives? How is it budgeted? Then they may actually give advice away from the original idea or to supplement the idea. After the scope of the project is determined they may check back in to help measure success and effectiveness.
These jobs are typically on a price per project basis.
Don’t let the title concern you. This doesn’t mean that you’re hiring a new employee. But it does mean that you want someone involved that thinks through the scope and objectives of the plan. And then that person takes on the resposibility for maintaining that plan, ensuring it is on target and implemented correctly. Many times you expect these functions to be carried out without further prompting from you. They have taken on ownership not just for the creation of the material but seeing it through to its maximum effect.
Many times this role is paid via a retainer or monthly set fee.
Why are these distinctions important?
Because it can very confusing if you hire an order taker and expect a consultant. Let’s look at the task of building a website. An order taker will meet with you, hear your desires, tell you what they are capable of doing and what it will cost. If you agree then they build the site and hand you the “keys”. A consultant will meet with you, hear your desires, ask how it will fit into the rest of your business plan, suggest additional tools if they make sense. Once you’ve worked together to determine the scope of the work effort the consultant will build what you’ve requested and hand you the deliverables. Additionally, the consultant will make sure it is working as expected with things such as making sure the e-mail accounts are working, the newsletter is getting delivered, etc. The “employee” will meet with you and find out your desires, suggest additional tools, determine the scope and then, when agreed to by both parties, take on the role of project manager for these items.
So, when the special event that you’ve promoted on the web site occurs on May 1st. The order taker won’t notice that the site is out of date. The Consultant will have given you a reminder and possibly contracted to update that page. The “employee” should catch it, change it and have a plan for what should go up in its place. Don’t expect an order taker to act like an employee.