Read This BEFORE Hiring A Web Designer
When you’re inspired by a new business idea, it can be tempting to jump in full-speed ahead. Many entrepreneurs automatically assume one of the first things they need for their business is a website…and ASAP! While an online presence is imperative for your business, it’s not necessarily the first thing that needs to be checked off of your to-do list. You can have an absolutely ah-mazing website but still not achieve the success you dream of for your business. Why is that? Because it takes more than just a nice looking website to build and grow your business. Here are 6 things you should consider before hiring a web designer:
It’s beneficial to plan your budget before hiring a web designer, but it’s also important to research the expected costs for the type of website you need. For example, a 50+ page website, with expedited hosting, super ninja protection, and cool eye-catching animations (like this one) is going to be a lot more expensive than a simple Squarespace design – and there’s nothing wrong with simple! Your website can be just as cool and successful as a more complex one. Just check out this one that I did for Gym Class 4 You! The goal is to get a website that best meets your business needs while still staying within your budget. Remember to also account for ongoing costs for your website. Things like hosting and domain name ownership need to be paid continuously in order to maintain your presence online. Purchasing a website can get costly at times, but keep in mind that your website is ultimately an investment for your business. What you invest in now (aka your website) will eventually pay itself off in the future.
2. Website content
Now that you know how much your website is going to cost, it’s time to think about what you want it to say. Your copy and photography are really the core of your website; your web designer just arranges them in a way so they all look good together. Although, no matter how skilled your web designer is, there’s only so much one can do without (good) content. Clear, high quality photos help attract visitors to your website and strong, purposeful copy converts them into your next loyal customer, reader, subscriber, lead….whatever it is you want them to be! It might be tempting to put off gathering content until the end, but preparing it before hiring a web designer saves time in the long run. It also helps your designer create the website that best fits your needs and vision for the project. If you need help preparing content for your website, just visit the Creative Circle. There you can connect with photographers and copywriters, along with a variety of other freelancers who specialize in all types of creative services!
3. Biz clarity
Being clear about your business before hiring a web designer makes it easier to communicate your vision. The mission statement for your business and ideal target audience both have great influence on the type of design you’ll need for your website. For example, the colors, fonts and layout for a website that targets 10-15 year old boys is going to look a lot different from a website that targets 30-45 year old women. What you do, who you serve and the goals you have for your business all play a role in the way your website is designed. It’s important to have complete biz clarity before starting the web design process. Writing out a thorough business plan is one way to make sure you’ve covered all your bases. A written plan not only helps you organize and remember your great ideas, but it also helps you narrow down all your creative passions and find focus for your business. Thinking through these details before hiring a web designer gives you the solid foundation you need to achieve success for both your business and your website.
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4. Social media
As I mentioned before, an online presence is essential to growing your business – but a website alone isn’t going to make it successful. A website needs to be advertised so people know it’s alive and where they can find it. This is why it’s major key to be active and engaged on social media before hiring a web designer. That’s right! Don’t wait until your website actually exists to start creating your social media accounts. On the other hand, don’t create your accounts and then wait until your website exists to actually start using them. Start it all before your website is designed so you can build publicity for your business while it’s being created. People that are interested in what you offer will follow you and tell their followers about you, who in turn will tell their followers about you, and so on and so forth. This virtual chain effect is great for your business and will be even better for your website in terms of traffic. Plus, launching a new website is always THAT much more exciting when you have an active group of followers to share it with!
5. Website goals
Before hiring a web designer, be clear on your expectations for your website. Chances are you expect your website to DO something, but it’s important to know what that something actually is. Do you want leads and subscribers for your business? Or is your focus on clicks and purchases? Are you expecting visitors to click through and spend hours on your website? Or is the goal to get them to go somewhere specific? The answer to these questions can often be found on your competitors’ websites. Try exploring their website as if you were a customer. Take note of the things they do that are working for them, along with the things that are not working for them. For example, if your favorite online store has a flashy “CLEARANCE” button that sucks you into buying something every time, maybe you should consider having a flashy button like it for your own website! When your web designer knows what your goals are in the beginning, they can better incorporate all the functions you need to make your website top-notch.
Don’t wait until your business is “ready” to start looking for a web designer; especially if you have a set deadline in mind. Buffer in time to research and talk with various designers so you can learn more about their process, how they work, and most importantly, how long it will them to design your website. Some designers may have an extremely quick turnaround time, (within a few days or so) while others may take longer to complete a project because they also juggle a another job during the day (Can I get an AMEN?!). It all just depends on the designer and the scope of the project. If possible, book your project in advance so you don’t have to worry about your designer being booked or unavailable when you are ready to start. If they’re anything like me, they’ll appreciate the heads up and work even harder to meet your desired deadline.