Frequent questions I get:
Can I edit/update it myself?
Some hosts offer document management right from the site, allowing you to make updates yourself in a word-type environment if that option interests you. Before committing to that, be certain you will use it, since there are upfront costs involved. For quick updates/changes, it’s faster and easier for your designer to do it. Unless you have a wealth of free time, you should focus on your business so maintaining your site doesn't become a drain on your time and energy. Content Management Systems (CMS) that allows user editing are becoming more prevalent as people transition to cloud computing (where you use an online application than a local program stored on your computer) so look for costs to come down in the future.
I need plans?
Like a house, websites have architecture- plans for hierarchy and flow. Planning out the number of pages, how they relate to one another, what the user sees on each page/screen will save effort later on. One of the beauties of a website is it’s flexibility & the ease with which you can update information or add on. Think of the difference between a house with an architect-designed addition vs. what I call a “lego house”— the one with rooms attached helter-skelter.
What will it look like?
Your designer should give you a few (usually 3 or 4) designs to review and you will select one (or a combination of them) to develop further. If you need logos or supporting print work, it should all correlate and reinforce your brand recognition. As each site develops, the designer can post pages online for your approval. These should be private, not published, until the site is finalized. Most designers charge in increments- a deposit, a payment when designs are approved, maybe another scheduled payment if the site is large, and the remainder due when the site is ready to go live.