5 Things to warm up to before you hire a Website Designer
Its time your business or new idea needs a website and you have already browsed through some local website designers you found on google. At this point, I am going to tell you to stop before you move even a tiny step ahead.
What if I tell you that there is some work you have to do before you hire a website designer? You may say “but I do not know anything about websites”. Agreed, you do not. But what you know, you need to put it down, gather it and compile a package that will put you in far better position to hire a website designer to get your best website made and save time & cost.
Here are my thoughts on what you need to prep your self for your new website.
Do Branding before Website
Yes, its 2019 and branding matters even more now.
Chances are that you have sketched the logo yourself or got it made from some logo-making website, whatever may be the case, make sure you have something you like and clean enough for people to understand.
And if you have not done it yet, then please let a professional do it. And nothing better if the same agency is going to design your website. I cannot stress enough on how important it is to carry your core brand elements through out your other marketing / business designs.
Don’t tell your designer these things:
- "Why don’t you go ahead with website design and I will get the logo prepared!”. Please, its like leaving us designers on a cross road with millions of roads, where we end up just trying different paths in a hope to meet you somewhere!
- "I thought logo design is part of website design. Why don’t you just make something?” No it is not. Though a good design agency will be able to manage your branding and website design needs, you need give separate focus to your brand design, no second way to that.
- "I am a small company or just an individual, I do not need branding”. No, I think you need branding even more if you are just starting or a small company. Why? Because no one knows you and its good to start with clarity.
- Today your perceived value is based on your design quality. You do not need to go through a lengthy branding process, a simple company name with right font and complimenting colours can also be an example of successful branding.
With years of experience I can say today that clients who are not clear about their logo, takes much longer or multiple iterations to finalise the design submitted by designer, for a simple reason that they don’t know what they want.
For me at the minimum, branding includes your logo and colours. If you have clarity on these two things, you are good to go ahead with any other marketing collateral like websites, brochures, ads, etc.
Why branding is important?
- A good designer will use elements from your logo and expand it to your website design. Thereby, not just adding value to your logo but also expanding the story your business wants to say.
- People coming to your website may not know all the processes you have gone through, but a website based on clean sensible branding makes it very easy for people to absorb your website information.
- You will get your work done faster. Like I said before, if you know your brand well, you will know what to communicate to designer and what to expect.
- Higher conversions. There is no doubt if you have clean branding and complimenting website design, you are bound to have more conversions.
10 years back when I used to meet my potential customers for website, my first question to them would be –
“Why do you want a website?, you seem to be doing well without it too”.
To some it seemed a bit rude, but with most of them I was able to make them question their own thoughts on why they really needed a website. For those who could not answer it at all, I would have enough reasons ready for them to make them think.
Anyways, times have changed now. Today we definitely need a website. Even to think about not having it sounds absurd. But I want to still ask you this question – “Why the hell do you want one?” Because if you are clear then it will make my life easy to give you something you really really want. We will hit a win win situation.
Few of these objectives might fit into your requirement:
- I want website to increase my business.
- I want website to introduce my idea / service.
- I want to get more calls for my service.
- I want to share my knowledge.
- I want to bring change the way customers see my business.
- I want to get more leads.
- I want to save time by providing important support information on website.
- I want to save cost by automating few tasks that would otherwise need human intervention.
- I want website to promote an event or an offering.
Of course, there can be unlimited more reason to have a website. So keep questioning your self and you will soon get more clarity. I would suggest keeping 1 primary reason and atleast 1 secondary reason to start with.
Lastly, do not expect website to do everything in one shot, go one by one. For eg: If your business is new then may be focus on introducing your services as a primary reason and getting leads as a secondary reason and avoid having too many automated tasks at this initial stage.
Know your customer
You may be doing your business for years and may have a website too. But you may still not know everything about your customer. For a simple reason that the customer changes with change in technology. And Tech is changing fast. In matters of years more than 50% of web users are viewing websites on mobile.
Website is no more a report of your business but an important space where you take your customer through a journey about your business and connect with them on deeper level. Ok that may sound bit spiritual, but I do feel when you know how your customer behaves, or knows or thinks, it is likely that you will achieve your website goals faster and would clearly know what to expect from your designer.
Few points to help you dig deeper:
- Will more people visit your website from mobile:
In most of the cases I think the answer should be yes here. Even if your business is more of serious b2b kinds where you deal with old-school managers, it is still likely that they will visit your site on mobile first. Atleast the first interaction would be mobile. Do go ahead and ask your designer to first show how your website would look on mobile.
- Talk their language:
If you are dealing with millenials, then talk in their lingo and if you are dealing with older ones then make it simpler for them to understand. Your first statement on website, will decide how much you have bonded with your customer.
- Initial Content
With understanding of your customers and your branding in place, it is time that you work on some initial content. Some people like to write their own content because they feel they know their business better and I would agree with you on this to some extent. Write your content but use it only as starting point or as inputs for a professional content writer.
Writing your initial idea or concept or business info also helps in establishing the core understanding about your work. This helps the professional content writer to be creative but still not go away from the core idea.
Another reason why writing down your initial idea down is to bring clarity in your own mind on what you are expecting from a website.
Use these points as index of things you must pen down:
- About your core business, usually in few sentences
- List of products and services with few lines about each item
- Your background or story
- List down your achievements & milestones
- Legal Info, like company names, tax numbers (if you require to show it on your website), certificates, full postal addresses, contact persons, phone numbers and email addresses.
By having a document like this prepared and sending it website designer, you have set the right pace to get your website made faster and with far more clarity.
With the above three points, you definitely have a good standing to approach any designer. And if you have found someone whom you think is creative and is keen to understand your business, then here I would suggest relaxing and being open.
Even though you have done lot of work in your prep for website, it is important to let the creative person do their job. Over imposing ideas or over interfering will only lead to sub standard work. I am not saying that you let way too loose and end up wasting time. Set your timelines and communicate it with the designer.
And when designer submits the design, before jumping on to saying “I like it or I don’t like it much”, I would say ask question on what was on his/her mind while designing it. Chances are that the designer has hit the area, you never thought of.
To get something unique and creative done, you also have an important role to play. Most of the designers tend to go only that far till where the client is comfortable venturing to. They will stop if they think you are not going to like the design and end up only pleasing you.
So yes, be open, ask right question and try something new out, keeping in mind that you are still able to achieve your website objective.
I hope these points will help you make better decisions for your website and your choice for website designer. If you feel this is too much of work, then do not get overwhelmed. Take what you want and leave the rest. Website design is an interesting and personal journey, you are trying to reach where you cannot reach physically. Your website is going to represent you and your business. Make sure the two (your story and your website) are not too different.
We at Pi Visions, really feel that every website is like a story telling. And we would like to invite you to visit our website and go through some of our client stories. And if you like what you see, do get in touch with us to help you in next website design.
Thank you for taking out time to read this article. Please share your comments below.
Posted on Apr 02, 2019