Thinking about designing a website or looking to a hire a web designer? There are some things you'll want to think about and do before starting to help make the process easy for you.
1. Target Audience/Website Purpose:
One of the most important things to do is to determine your target audience and the main goal for when your audience reaches your site. Do you want your audience to purchase a product or signup for a service? Determining this before starting the design, will help make sure the website is geared towards your audience and achieving its purpose.
A company's branding dictates how that company is seen by the world; it is their image. Determining your branding before starting your website can be extremely helpful. Having a branding sheet with set colors and fonts that represent your brand will help make your website feel cohesive and help attract your target audience.
3. Professional photos:
The photos used on a website can make or break it. Having professional photos taken that match your brand will make your website look complete and professional. Some web designers will even work with you and your photographer to make sure the photos taken will work perfectly on your site. (Plus, you can use these photos for future content on social media pages; its a win win!)
While some designers will help you with the copy for your website, you'll want to brainstorm the type of information you want on each page. Determining this before will help make sure all the information your audience may need is in the appropriate spots on your site and that call to actions are on each page.
5. Inspiration sites:
You will want to find other sites out there that you love, sites you want to use for inspiration (you'll even want to keep a list of sites you dislike). You'll want to look at sites from all industries to gather ideas. Some things to note are certain navigation layouts, banners, homepage layouts, etc. I suggest creating a Pinterest board of websites you like and dislike to stay organized (this is what I have some of my clients do and it becomes super helpful when determine a clients vision)
If you haven't already purchased your domain this is something you'll want to do early on. Some web designers will even take care of setting this part up for you.
7. Social media pages:
Once you buy your domain, you'll also want to lock down the associated handles on social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc). This way everything is coordinated and can also be linked on your website to direct your audience to your social media pages.
8. Blog Posts:
Having a blog on your website is a great way to provide information to your audience (plus it enhances your SEO!). If you do decide to have a blog, having a few posts prepared before hand can be very helpful as your reader can have posts to read right when you launch.
Having reviews from past clients or even pictures of your work can be a great addition to your website and a way to show your audience what you are capable of. Before starting with the design you'll want to gather reviews and examples of your past work.
10. Email list:
Creating an email list is a great way to interact with your audience and convert leads into buyers. You'll want to determine if you will be having a spot on your website to gather emails or if you'll be offering a freebie for signing up. Having this figured out before can ensure your email signup is properly incorporated in the design.
11. Launch date:
This is very important if you have a specific date or a certain timeframe you want to launch your website. Having an idea of when you want to launch will help when you are looking for a web designer as you will need to make sure their availability satisfies your timeline. It will also help when coordinating other aspects of the process such as professional photos.
If you decide to hire a web designer, some companies will help you with brainstorming some of the things on this list and may even take care of some of it for you!