3 Things you Need to do Before Hiring a Website Designer

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Hiring a website designer is something I highly recommend if you have an established business.

But there are a few things you need to have in place before a website designer can build out your website.

  1. Branding
  2. Copy
  3. Images

These three things need to be in place before  anyone can start designing your website. A lot of website designers or agencies will provide copywriting and branding services, so definitely look into it when you are speaking with your potential website designer. But whether you are working with a agency or a designer who can add on these services for you, you still need to have these things in place before they can start the designing your website.

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Your branding is going to determine the look and feel of your website. It’s also going to keep the appearance of your business consistent across all platforms. There is so much more to a brand than just colors, logo and fonts. You can go into depth with brand strategy if you do hire a brand strategist. However, for your website and social media platforms you do need to have consistent colors and fonts that you’re using. You want people to recognize your business no matter where they are interacting with it.

Because of this, your brand needs to be created before designing your website. You will need those elements in order to create a cohesive look across all platforms.

If you have an established business you should be investing in a professional brand. Your brand designer will create your logos for you with different variations. They will also provide you with a color palette and a font scheme that your website designer can implement onto your website.

This needs to be done prior to hiring a website designer because it will determine what your website is going to look like. If you change your branding after your website has already been designed or halfway through it will create a lot more work for your designer. They may not be able to accommodate these changes if the design process has already started.

You also want to have your branding in place because you want your website to attract your ideal clients. That happens with a brand that is in alignment with your business. Your investment in your website should help grow your business.

Your branding will evolve as your business grows. I do recommend doing a big refresh and updating your website every 2 to 3 years. Whether that’s with new branding, updates to your services or any big changes that happen within your business. Anything within that should be small updates. For example, price increases, adding on services or packages. These are things you can even update yourself on Showit.

Website copy

The other thing that needs to be in place before starting your website design process is your copy. Copy is the text that is on your website and is a huge part of your website content. Every single page needs to have copy on it to provide information, convert clients, grow your email list, etc.

The copy on your website is used to connect with your ideal clients, to really speak directly to them, and then to ideally convert them into clients or buyers.

I personally have two different processes that I offer to my clients. One process is template customization which is a semi-custom website. The other option is a fully custom website. And one of the big differences between these two is determined by the copy on your website.

Semi custom website

For a semi custom website,  we are using a template as a base for your website. So the design layout and placement of your copy is determined by the template you choose. I do customize these templates for each business so it does evolve and change for your business. This depends on what your services are and what information we need to provide to your clients. I have copywriting guides for each template which walk you through exactly what to write on each page of your website.

Fully custom website

For a fully custom website, the layout is determined by the copy that you provide. The design is basically built around your copy, images and website content. I research your industry and your specific business to determine what content needs to be on each specific page. I also look into what information we need to provide to your ideal clients. And then I create copywriting guides specific to your business.   I use the copy from these copywriting guides to determine the layout of your website.

Your other option is to invest in a copywriter. A copywriter will write all of your copy for you in a way that connects and converts your website visitors into clients or buyers. If you have an established business I would highly recommend investing in a copywriter as they are specialists in this specific area. Your copy is a huge part of using your website as a marketing tool. We want to use your brand voice in your copy but we also want to make sure that we are writing in a way that is converting your clients. Your copy is going to guide your clients to take certain actions that you want them to take.

Think about your website as a map for your ideal clients. We basically want to be guiding your visitors from one area on your web page to another area on that same page or to a whole other page all together.

Having goals for your website turns it into a powerful marketing tool. Think about your business goals and these will determine your website goals. Your website copy should guide visitors to take the actions you want them to take in order to achieve your goals.

Website images

Last but not least, before hiring a website designer you need to have images. The images on your website are going to work in a similar way as your branding. They are going to draw in your ideal clients.

Think about walking into your favorite store and the way it makes you feel. Your website should make your ideal clients feel the same way about your business. The images on your site can help you achieve this. Use images that are aligned with your brand, values, services.

Strategically choose specific images for certain pages of your website. For example, on your about page you want to have images of yourself, or of your business. Think about the content of each page and how we can bring your website visitors into your business and learn more about what you’re sharing on that page. This is going to be through the copy as well as the images. Pictures really speak to people and we want to use these very strategically.

Ideally, you should be getting a photo shoot for your business. The other option is using stock images. Or you can use a little bit of both!. When I’m designing websites for my clients and they have had a photo shoot, sometimes I will still pull images from free stock image websites. I use these as filler images. For example, images behind text or just behind another image for visual appeal. Stock images are great for background images that you don’t really want to take away from the content on your website. Images that you want to kind of just blend into the background. The reason I like using stock images for this is because you can find images with certain colors that align with your brand and provide the same feeling that you want your brand to provide.

If you have enough pictures from your photoshoot to use as background images as well then that’s great and you don’t have to use stock images but they’re always an option for you if you need them.

If you are the face of your brand then you definitely want to have images of yourself. Have images of yourself smiling and looking into the camera to welcome the people onto your website the same as you would if they were to enter your store. Have images of your space if you have a physical space or images of yourself providing the services that you sell. For example, if you’re a hairstylist you can have images of yourself behind the chair.

You can get really creative with your photographer to have images that really showcase your brand and services or the products that you sell.

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