6 Things to do before hiring a designer/agency
Before you begin interviewing web designers/agencies for building your website, you need to make sure that you have done these 6 things. Without these, you won’t be able to evaluate the offerings of a web designer/agency.
1. Figure out why you need to build a new website or update an existing one
It is important to know why you want a new website. If you have one already, perhaps it is not working the way you’d like it to. Or it needs to be modernized. Check out our blog post that can help you evaluate your website.
If you don’t have a website, you might feel that having a web presence will help your business in getting more clients.
Knowing how a website will help you is something you should relay to your website designer.
2. Define the goal of your website
Is the goal of your website to help people get in touch with you? Or buy online from you? Or is the goal to make it easy for people to donate to your organization?
Being ready to articulate this to your web designer will get the project off to a speedy start.
3. Be ready with your domain name (URL)
a) You don’t have a domain name
If you have some ideas for a URL, but haven’t bought one yet, consult with your web designer first before purchasing one. They may have valuable suggestions with regards to the SEO effectiveness of the domain name you have in mind.
b) You own a domain name
It is surprisingly common for companies not to know where their domain name is registered. If you already have a domain name, find out where the domain name is registered and make sure you have the login name and password. Being ready with this information will prevent unnecessary delays in building your website.
4. Be able to describe your target audience
Before embarking on building a new website or updating an existing one, you should be able to articulate the type(s) of person or business you wish to target. Who is it that you want to find your website and be motivated to hire you or buy from you?
It’s important to let your web designer know your target audience so they can design a website that is appealing and compelling for that audience, both in its visual design and its messages.
Define this individual in as much detail as you can. For example, a consulting firm targeting “marketing executives” could define their target market as “marketing executives between the ages of 35 and 55 who is looking for a long-term relationship with a consulting firm”. This can be further defined as “marketing executives only on the west coast”.
Once this target market has been defined to as much detail as possible, content can now be written to speak to such a person and SEO can be targeted as well.
5. Key content you should have right out of the gate
Even if you plan to use writing/editing services from your website company, it is still important for you to write down the key messages about your business. It doesn’t have to be the final draft, and can even be just bullet points. Be prepared with rough-draft text about what you offer, what distinguishes you from competitors, who can benefit from your services, etc.
6. Images you want to use on the website
You should have ideas regarding the images that you’d like to be used on the website. These may be specific images which you already have or plan to have taken, such as a professional photo of your store interior.
Unless there are specific circumstances, make sure that all images are high-resolution and available in a digital format. If some of these images need to be edited/enhanced, let your designer know this.
The images could be pictures of yourself, your team, your business location, your product, or of your target audience.
Example 1: if you are an attorney, you should have a high-resolution quality photo of yourself.
Example 2: If you own a restaurant, you should have high-quality photos of the interior of your restaurant plus nicely plated food that you serve.
Other images that may be used on the website are icons and stock images. These images can be purchased online from companies such as iStockPhoto. Consult with your designer before you purchase images.
Remember that you shouldn’t grab pictures from the internet and use them on your website without explicit permission from the owner of the image or purchasing it from an online company. You need to have the legal rights to use them.
If you already have a logo, be prepared to share them with your designer. You might have these in JPEG or PNG formats. If you have the logos in Photoshop(.psd) or Illustrator(.ai) formats, then your designer would be able to edit these logos, if need be.
If you already have a logo, but don’t have the original files (Photoshop or Illustrator), and you’d like the logo to be edited, then let your designer know.
If you don’t have a logo, try to get an idea of the kind of logo you’d like. Go on the internet and find examples of logos that you’d like to emulate. Pick out colors that you would like to use on your logo. Give these to your designer before they begin to work on the logo.
If you are ready with the above 7 items, your web design process will be off to a good start.