It seems that many clients who contact designers for work to be done for them aren’t prepared most of the time. It’s hard to tell if this is a personality flaw or just lack of education. However, all hope is not lost. Here’s a basic guide of five ways you can prepare for the design of your new website.
One thing I’ve noticed is that many clients call asking for design work without having any idea of how much it should cost; once they have been told the price they assume it’s expensive, which shows that they might have not done some research. The truth is that design prices for your website may vary depending on what type of website you are looking to build. Still it’s a good idea to have a general idea of price range so you can budget accordingly. A quick way to get an idea is to contact designers and ask for a quote, be sure to supply them with basic information of what type of site you want and its functionality so you can get the right quote. Make sure your budget takes into account extras like feature services from 3rd party sites, as well as hosting and domain name. These are not generally included in the design fees.
Research The Designer’s Style
Most designers have samples of their work on their site. So, look through their portfolio of works to find out which designer’s style appeals to you. You should do this so that you know what to expect once work has commenced. As you pick your designer it is important to keep your target audience in mind. The reason for this is to make sure that the style of the designer you’re picking meshes with those of your target audience.
It is safe to assume that prior to getting your website built, that you have some sort of vision about the image you want your organization or business to have. There are probably similar organizations to yours whose practices you admire. Yes, it is also assumed that you want your organization to stand out. There’s nothing wrong with having an initial frame of reference.
So, what should do next? Collect links of examples of websites that inspire you for your designer to use as a source of reference. In addition to links, you can take screen shots of these websites, while making notes of how you want yours to differ; or you can simply leave that up to your designer.
Gather the contents of your new site
As a designer one of the difficulties of working with clients is getting contents to work with from them. Clients won’t supply contents in a timely manner and expect the work to be completed in time. Design work isn’t magic. Below is a checklist of the kinds of content you would need to gather. Please beware that this isn’t an extensive list but a good guide for a starting point.
· List of menus: Think of them as folders and arrange them as you would like them to be viewed.
· Copy for each individual page you would like to see on the site. Don’t forget to include your terms of service.
· Contact information
· Pictures, videos and links. As far as pictures go if you’re on a limited budget you may want to consider using stock photography to find images that reflects your organization. Some sites such www.bigstockphotos.com have a Free 7 days trial that allows you to download 5 pictures each day. This is something you should definitely take advantage of or you can leave it up to your designer to select the images for you.
· Testimonials from your clients that should be on your site
· Set up your social media pages: Facebook, Twitter LinkedIn, Instagram, Google+ etc. and get the links for each of those sites. If you’re not social media savvy then find someone who is to set these up for you otherwise you might have to pay your designer a little extra to set these up for you.
· PayPal, Square Register, Google wallet accounts etc. if you plan to accept payments on your site.
· Keywords related to your organization or business’s industry for your basic SEO.
· Create a Google account that will be affiliated to your site. It is important for your analytics and SEO
Set Up SEO and Advertising Services
It’s one thing to have a great site that people can check out but most importantly it’s best if you can be found online by people in need of your services, otherwise what’s the point in having the website? Some recommended sites for these services are Yelp, Google, Yext etc.
After you’ve done all these things or at least 75% of them, by all means go ahead and contact your Web Designer. This will make his job easier and in return you are likely to get your website up and running in a timely manner and avoid the extended back and forth of the designer wanting x, y and z from you. What did you find helpful in this article and is there anything missing that should’ve been added to this list?