I. Am. Appalled.
Being a blog designer myself, I’ve got to say I’ve been truly disgusted by my fellow [mom] blog designers due to the “save-my-blog” cases I’ve taken over the past few months.
Before you hire a blog designer, here’s a few questions I want you to ask your designer.
If the designer is offering to move your blog from free hosting to self hosting…
1. Do you have experience moving blogs? Do you have references I can check with?
Designers aren’t necessarily technical. Many will offer the service and think following an old ebook on how to move a blog from blogger to wordpress will get them through it. The fact is, every move is different and I’ve read through the most well known guide and it’s outdated.
2. My blog has x00 posts, have you moved a blog of that size?
I’ve had clients who’s designer “couldn’t move all of their posts because their blogs are too big”.
That’s bullshit. It can be done. Luckily my clients still have access to their Blogger blog and we’ve been able to pull all the posts with comments in – with some changes made to the host’s server.
3. Where will my pictures live?
Leaving your photos on Blogger and hotlinking to it from your new blog is no longer acceptable. There are ways to import those photos that were uploaded to Blogger.
If the designer is offering hosting…
You need this.
I have a client who’s designer told her she didn’t need it. That everything she needed doing could be done from within WordPress.
First, let me explain what a cPanel is. It’s an administration area for your hosting. Different services have slightly different cPanel areas but they all offer these basic options which are very important to your blog:
File Manager: Place files on your server for download, manually install themes and plugins, etc.
Back and Restore: download copies of your home directory and database to use in the event u lose your blog and you need to restore it.
phpMyAdmin: database optimization. ( a recent client had 100k spam comments on her blog because her designer suggested akismet and while she was on hiatus akismet performed as usual – it sucked. The site was so bogged down it couldn’t run, we couldn’t get a page to laod to delete comments either, so we used phpMyAdmin and wiped out all the comments. She lost her comments but saved 2 years worth of posts and pictures. and by the way, her designer who was also her host told her that her site couldn’t load because she had too many pictures. really? really? this is one of the many reasons I’m appalled.)
Why not just use WordPress plugins? Hmmph. There ARE lots of freebie plugins that you can use. I have a problem with relying on a freebie plugin to maintain my site. Why? Developers have lives. And if they’re not getting paid for the plugin, why rush to update it? Heck, I recently had a paid plugin fail me because the developer did not update the plugin for WP 3.5. Guess what happened. I had to manually add 40 videos back into the WordPress Training Library.
Also? It will save on your load time if you didn’t have these extra plugins installed.
5. How big is my hosting package?
Now this blog is 2 years old here’s the size of it at the moment:
and 715 photos.
It takes up 2GB.
Your designer could be a hosting reseller as I am. This means she has a cap on how much space she can give you. I charge $4/month, paid monthly or every 6 months, for 3GB of space. If you designer is charging anymore than you might as well go with Bluehost or Hostgator <-affiliate links. They will charge a bit more, payable by the year, but your package will offer unlimited space.
I have a client that I moved over the summer. Her designer charged her $78 for one year of hosting and she only had 500MB of space (that’s half of a GB). When she ran out of space, the designer offered to increase her package size at a higher rate.
Being a hosting reseller is NOT big bucks in the bank. At least it shouldn’t be. It really should be a way to increase the value of your design package. To be a one stop shop for clients. But you can only be such if you know what you’re doing.
When it comes to the actual design service…
6. Will you be installing and configuring the theme?
There’s a mom blog designer out there who is building the design on her computer, having the mom blogger to approve via emailed screenshots and once the design is paid for, she emails the blogger the theme all zipped up. When these bloggers install the theme, they are left spending hours trying to match the design in the screenshots or paying her more to configure the theme so it will match. The designer is only charging $59 for the themes and then $200 to install and configure. I understand charging $259 for a blog design, I don’t understand surprising clients like that.
7. Will we be using a framework and who pays for it?
Genesis Framework by StudioPress and Headway
These are awesome frameworks. Especially Genesis. If your designer is going to build using one of these, that’s awesome. BUT, BUY THE FRAMEWORK AND CHILD THEME YOURSELF! Own your design! Why? Because if you and your designer have a falling out, you’re out of a design and unless you’re paying her an ongoing rate for support, you’re shit-out-of-luck baby. If you don’t own the framework, you have no access to the support offered by the vendor.
Do your designer a kindness and use her affiliate link, it doesn’t change the cost to you, but own your design.
I recently moved a client to Bluehost because she needed more space. The designer said she was free to go but would have to get her own theme. Really? Really? Sheesh.
8. Will you be providing me with a copy of the artwork in editable format and a copy of the theme?
It’s your design, you’ve paid hundreds to have it built, it’s only fair that you have the finished product. It may not be assemble, because most designed are only assembled after everything is uploaded to WordPress, but you’ll have all the elements you paid for and it’s less expensive to pay someone to put it back together than it is for a whole new design.
And those are all the questions I can think of based on all the save-my-blog projects I’ve done recently.
Is there any question you suggest fellow momma bloggers ask based on your experience with a designer?
Are you a mommy blog designer who objects to anything I’ve suggested and would like to share your take on it?
Please share in the comments section.