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In the spring of 2011, a twenty-something version of me (you know…the one who was tired of living on my mama’s couch making minimum wage working at a retail store) decided to try her hand at freelancing as a designer. As with any endeavor, I walked into it blissful, delighted and oh so very naive. Not even a few days into freelancing, I realized I had way more to do than just design. As any wise person would tell you, things aren’t always as simple as they seem.
Even as a working professional, a company may place a somewhat vague description of what you’re going to do, only to add more tasks to your plate later. In fact, we often take on much more responsibilities then what is actually described, because it’s what’s required to get the job done right. So today we’re going to be talking about the many roles we have to take on when we design and launch a website so that you’re not taken by surprise why the crop up.
We often take on much more responsibilities then what is actually described, because it’s what’s required to get the job done right.
Roles we take on when we design and launch a website.
Designer. This goes without saying. When you design your website, you have to learn design principles that will attract your audience’s attention. And what we often don’t see behind the scenes of a designer’s studio is all the intense research, testing, and principles that are being applied to create these beautifully produced work of arts that show up on our screens. If you hire a designer, they usually have some background in graphic design, user interface, user experience, front-end development, and so on. These are skills you’ll need to pick up when you’re doing web design solo. As a designer, you’ll be studying how you can create aesthetics, functions, and actions that will make for a delightful experience on your website. I have a program called Get Designed that teaches you these skills.
Copywriter. Copywriting is usually a word people don’t hear until they get into the nitty-gritty of marketing and design. If you’re not familiar with this term, copywriting is producing written content with the purpose of promoting your product and services. And yes, people get paid solely to do this. So when you’re building and launching your website, you’re going to need to learn this, and you’ll need to know it well because it is essentially what convinces people to buy your stuff.
Quality Assurance/Test Engineer. When you’re managing your own website, you’ll also need to learn a thing or two about maintaining the site. You’ll have to frequently test for broken links, broken images, or plugins that may have gone haywire for some reason. As a QA person, you’ll learn what happens when things break, why it happened, how it happened, who to contact, and how long it’ll take to fix it. The QA role can also study the performance of the website to monitor the influx of traffic.
Other Roles Related to Managing your Website.
Marketing and Social Media Specialist. In this role, you’ll be sending people to your website and studying its performance, similar to the QA role. In all honesty, the two can blend and seem like the same role, but as a marketing specialist, you’ll be focusing on more on directing people to the website. These are things such as SEO, conversions, content creation and the overall performance. So you’ll be learning not only how to get more people onto your site, but get the audience to take action (like buying something or providing their email). You’ll also learn how to produce more content that’ll keep the performance and engagement high. Gary V’s (social media mogul) book Jab Jab Jab, Right Hook is a great resource to read.
Sales Person. The easiest way to get passed up for the competition is not knowing how to sell yourself to your people. If this is not something that comes naturally to you, it’s something that’ll you’ll definitely get to practice a lot when you’re designing and launching your website. This role with cover everything from, building relationships, understanding your audience’s wants and needs, telling them about what you’re offering them, being persuasive, negotiating when necessary, getting the actual sale and delivering what you said you would. How to win friends and influence people has been a best selling book that talks about creating relationships and being influential. Og Mandino’s Greatest Salesman in the world also has impressive principles that take the ick out of selling.
Client Service Manager. And of course, the creme de la creme of roles is Client Service Manager. With this role, you’ll be managing client expectations, issues, and their overall happiness to ensure that their experience is the absolute best. If you’ve had to experience customer-facing roles like front desk person, salesperson in retail, or visitor services in entertainment, then you’ll luckily have a little taste of what it’s like to cater to the needs of customers and how to solve some of the issues that may crop up. But if you’ve never had this experience, then there no better time to start practicing then today. As a self-described introvert, I found the client service management to be the most challenging and rewarding. Vanessa Van Edwards book Captivate was an excellent read on understanding how to interact with others and learning hacks to make each interaction most memorable.
To sum it up…
Whether you’re deciding to take on a new business, or taking on a new position, with it will come many roles that we often don’t anticipate being a part of. Learning a few skills ahead of time such as the principles of design, writing persuasively, the art of self-promotion, the art of selling, and even managing client expectations are excellent ways to stay ahead of the game with as little unexpected surprises as possible.