Setting up and launching a website can be overwhelming. Even if you have a clear understanding of what you want, it can be difficult to explain. Then when you try to do it yourself, you often end up way out of your depth. Or, you end up creating a website that just doesn’t do your vision justice.
The good news is that working with a web designer doesn’t have to be painful. Once you decide on your website needs, you’ll find a designer, and provide them with the information they need to get your work out on time.
Here is a checklist and tips to make the process smoother and much more enjoyable.
The Top 15 Tips for Working with a Website Designer
Before You Even Begin… Ask Your Friends
Before you get started it’s advisable that you talk to other business owners whose websites you like. You should be able to easily get the contact information for the companies that created those sites. Make sure you ask the site owners if they were satisfied with all aspects of the work and service- and don’t shy away from asking what they paid to have the site built. If they don’t tell you what the price was, ask them if they have any idea how much you might have to budget for website design.
Additionally, you can look towards the bottom of the pages to see if the name of the design company is listed. If so, you should be able to contact the companies whose work you like.
Do Some Research
Take a little bit of time to look around the web and make a list of websites that appeal to you. Along with your list of URLS, make note of what it is about the sites you like. For instance, you may find one that has a color scheme that appeals to you, while another may be easy to navigate. This list of sites will help whoever you choose as a web designer to get an idea of your tastes and preferences.
Get Your Domain Name
Technically, your website designer can work with you on getting and setting up your domain. However, you should at least be prepared with a list of ideas and names. There are numerous sites from which you can purchase your domain, like www.Godaddy.com
Once you determine what name you’re going with, you will want to make sure that your name or business name is listed as the domain registrant, and that your credit card is on file. Domains have to be renewed once a year, so if you plan to be using your website for a long time, it’s a good idea to set the registration to auto-renew as well.
Gather Up Your Content
Or at least know what kind of website content you will need. Website content includes everything from text, photos and other graphics, products, descriptions, reviews, and other information your customers may want to know.
At a minimum on your website, you’ll want a homepage, page or pages describing your products and services, an “about” page, and a “contact” page. You may also want to consider having a page that will offer visitors a free newsletter, coupons, or some way to get them to give you their email address. Once you have their email address, you will be able to contact them again after they leave your website.
Have Strong Written Copy
If you’re a strong writer, great! You will be able to write your own website copy. If you lack copywriting skills, it’s worth it to have a professional writer create the editorial content as soon as you decide what you would like on the site. Keep in mind that website designers usually just design and program sites – they don’t write marketing copy.
The website designer can’t finish the job until you give them the copy that goes on the website, so make sure you make this portion of the website build a priority.
Pick Out The Imagery
You should gather up your imagery before working with a website designer. This includes photos and graphics. This includes photos of staff, product photography, and any other graphics the designer may need.
Clearly Communicate Your Brand
In addition to graphics and imagery, you may want to provide the website designer with any kind of branding guide you have. For instance, if you have a list of colors or fonts that you like to use, a branding guide is the perfect place to organize this. Your company’s marketing standards play a huge role in this design phase.
Make Sure You Know Your Target Audience
You should clearly communicate as much information about your users as possible to your web designer. They should have a clear understanding of exactly what makes your users tick. If the web designer does not fully understand the target audience, they could easily take the website in the wrong direction.
Before you explain to the designer about your audience, make sure that you have a clear understanding of this yourself.
If Your Website Is a Store…
If you will be selling directly on your website, you will need a merchant account that can be used on the web. Alternatively, you can get a PayPal account to accept payments. If you have a retail storefront, you shouldn’t assume that your off-line merchant account can be used on the web- it’s often that they often can’t. In this case you should call the service provider and ask. If you don’t have a merchant provider or your current provider can’t handle transactions on the web, you can ask the designer for suggestions.
In addition to this, if you plan to have a shopping cart or any other database-driven application on the site, you should work out how you want it to work. For instance, you should map out what the customer sees first, where things should be on the screen, what the customer does next – the entire customer journey.
All About that SEO
It’s worth asking your website designer if they will be able to provide you with search engine optimization, and how much experience they have doing it. Experienced web designers should be familiar with at least on-page SEO. If they are building your site in WordPress, they can add in additional SEO plugins to help with optimization
Clarify Website Maintenance Duties
Once your website is built and live, you will want to determine who will make the updates to the content on the website. Chances are, you may save money by doing content updates yourself. However, in reality, making the updates on the backend yourself will be challenging. Your website will be built for a developer to make the adjustments easily. It’s worth the additional cost to have a designer on call who can make changes and additions to the website on an as needed basis.
Ideally, you will be able to work with your web designers on a monthly basis. This will allow for a continual programme of refinements that ultimately avoid the massive cost of something like periodic redesign.
Put It in a Contract
Regardless of the scope of work your website designer does, wou should be sure you sign a contract that spells out all the details you have discussed. The contract should give you full copyright ownership of your site and the work done. If for any reason you decide to change website designers or hosting companies at any time in the future, you will be able to do so without having to have your site recreated. It’s important to note that the copyright ownership must be written into the contract. Otherwise, under copyright law, the developer may own the work that they created for you.
Review the Work as You Go Along
Remember the designer can’t move ahead with your project until you sign off on what they send for you to review. Make sure to keep in touch and in good contact with your designer so you can keep the project in motion.
A good approach is to work collaboratively with your web designer from the outset. You should want to be involved in seeing initial sketches, wireframes, and moodboards. This will ensure that the final design is something that you are both happy with.
Consolidate Your Feedback
You should try to avoid sending hundreds of emails with every little change that you think of. This will ultimately take up more time for your designer, and can potentially lead to things being missed out and forgotten altogether. Instead, try to consolidate the feedback as part of a list.
Obviously, this is not a comprehensive list. However, these are some solid suggestions here that will significantly increase the effectiveness of your website by improving the working relationship with your web designer. Bottom line is this: Make sure that you have yourself organized and a clear understanding of your vision. If you have yourself prepared, your website designer will thank you, and together you will create something wonderful.
For all of your website design needs, we here at Dalex Design would love to work with YOU. Learn more about everything that we offer at www.dalexdesigngroup.com