This month at Visionary – October During the month of October we had a lot of media attention due to winning Web Design Agency of
Looking to hire a website designer near you? Hiring a web designer isn’t easy, but you need to do it if you’re looking to have a professional website design built.
So now your business is up and running, you have everything else you need such as businesscards, popup banners and a network to pitch too, but one thing is missing, your website.
Your website is the forefront of your business in the virtual world, whilst you’re at home sleeping, taking days out of the office or store your website will be promoting ‘what you do’ 24/7 in other words, your website will ‘present’ your brand to everyone, it’s online and it’s accessible to everyone. No pressure, right?
So, what’s a new business owner to do? You want the best site possible, so you need to ask a web designer for help; should you do a quick Google search and hope for the best?
There are ten things you should do first before taking that route:
First and foremost, instead of doing a random Google search, it’s time to use your professional network to find a web designer.
Ask your friends or close business connections who have had a site done before, take a look at their work before contacting them, you may find their work looks perfect for what you require.
There are millions of web designers worldwide that can help you create a website, but, you also MUST be careful who you choose to hire, for the likes of using Fiverr, PPH and other platforms you will be very surprised that many are not that skilled and will provide you with a very low-cost website, and it will look low-cost too, which isn’t a good thing, on the other hand you can find some good ones, so you may need to really dig deep. But if you are the kind of person that wants to sit down with someone in-person rather than on Skype, your network might help you find them, or you could simply do a website search, something like ‘website designer near me’ and by using Googles Map you can see local businesses near to you.
By searching the local listings, it’s important to check their reviews, and how frequent they are going on, this may give you a good indication to how recent their client projects have been finished and how good they are, I mean, the clients should be speaking for these web design agencies.
Know your website goals and priorities
Before engaging a web designer at all, ask yourself: will your site sell products and/or services, or will it exist to simply provide information?
Web designers will dig deep into the information required from you for your website usually by having a face-t0-face meeting and going over a website brief by asking you a series of questions, to save time faffing about, it may be an idea to really pinpoint what you want, and what you’re looking for early doors, this will help the website designer fully understand what you want and how it should be built.
Create a Vision Board
Vision boards help new business owners decide how to create the best look for their business.
Your board could be a virtual one or an actual board sitting in your office. It should include things like colors you want incorporated into your brand, preferred font choices, slogans or phrases, and graphics you intend to use when marketing your business, having these bits to hand can really give the website designer a clear sense of direction, saving time and money creating to many brand concepts.
Make a Design Wish List
Do you need a designer to build a website from scratch, or do you have a site already that needs updating? Both are entirely two different conversations: one focused on creating and executing a vision while the other focuses on improving an existing one.
If you don’t have a site already, make a list based on your research and vision board including the number of pages, headers, buttons, menus, or any other visual element you plan on including on your website.
Also include any social media buttons or brand icons you will need to promote yourself online. All these digital assets will add up, and creating this list can help a designer give you an estimate regarding the time it will take, and the money it will cost, for them to produce your vision.
Lastly, which is something many new business owners do not think about is; do you want to take over the website once it has been completed? Do you want to login to edit content and website pages? Also will you have 100% access to the website plus the hosting panel for the site too? Many don’t question this and can end up being ‘owned’ by the web designer not wanting to release or give access to the site as they would rather keep charging them for work. (WE DO NOT DO THIS BY THE WAY).
Building a website is much like building a house, sometimes you will find you need something else, an extension to the site or a new feature which will cost you money.
Don’t let this scare you; just be prepared! Do your research and find out what the going rate for web design work is in your area before you speak with potential designers, although prices really do vary, pricing is not the be all and end all, what you really should be looking for is knowledge and skill and a clear understanding that the website designer gets you and can definitely provide what you need.
Give Each Page a Purpose
How many pages do you want your website to have? What is the goal of each page? Are you trying to generate leads by form submissions or generate direct sales? How much copy (text) do you need? Do you need a copywriter to write your text for you too? Do you have web ready photography or graphics?
These are just a few of the questions you need to ask before approaching a web designer who will hopefully help you with these answers and sourcing other professionals in to help.
If you don’t know how many pages you’ll need, start with these five pages that your customers expect to see:
Product or Service Details
Blog (If you intend to blog)
Your website will be a marketing channel for your business, meaning you can update it as time goes on to keep it current, if the structure exists to support it, make sure you use a CMS (Content Management System) for this if you wish to take it over yourself to update it with ease.
Keep in mind that adding pages, changing the format, or making any significant design changes to your website will take additional design work. Meaning, it will cost you more money for a designer to update your site.
Have Your Copy Ready
You might be surprised to hear this, but you should have the words for each page ready to go before your designer begins work on your website, or atleast ‘draft copy’ so your website designer can see how much text he/she is working with.
These aren’t just ideas; you need the final polished copy for your site. If you have no clue what to say or feel uncomfortable or unable to write it yourself, hire a writer to do it for you, we can help you with this.
The goal should be to hand over this final copy to the designer at your first meeting. This way they can design around it. This will save you money since the designer doesn’t have to walk you through copy creation, and it will help speed up the process overall.
Establish a Process Before the Meeting
Chances are you already are creating and managing your marketing using tools like Google Docs or Dropbox to manage files. These online storage sites can be used for collaboration with your website designer to easily view, download and share files.
Here are some of the items you will want to store in this online folder:
Images, graphics, and pictures
Any image owned by you for your website should go in this shared folder.
Each subset of this basic planning sitemap should include the page name and give you a sense of the layout of your site.
Web design agreement and contract
When designing your website, it is critical you and your designer are on the same page regarding expectations. Since you hired a designer chances are your knowledge of all things web design isn’t equal to theirs. Accept you may not grasp the time involved in designing a site.
You will want images for your website including photography, logos, illustrations, and animated gifs. This is where copyright comes into play. Any image on your site needs to either be created by you or obtained through professional help or purchased outright.
What does this mean? Well, it means you don’t copy and paste pictures from websites and then claim them as your own! There are many other ways to acquire the visual assets you need for your site:
Take your own pictures or hire a professional to get the quality shots you need, see the 5 top reasons to hire a commercial photographer
Purchase stock photos from Shutterstock, iStock or similar services that sell images for commercial use, but, remember these stock photos will never be ‘on-brand’ like real photography.
Hire a graphic designer to create custom illustrations for your website
Images will tell your story as much as the words on your website. Make sure they look professional, compelling, and brand-specific to have the most impact.
Create a Launch Plan
Once your website is ready, what’s your plan? How are you going to launch it and where?
Before you launch your website have a think about where you wish to launch it, most will use social media, but where else could you launch it? Some brands do mini events, networking, email shots and so on including paid ads to gain as much traction as possible
Once your website is ready for public consumption, remember these three things:
Make sure it is grammatically correct
Make sure there are no spelling or punctuation errors. There is no better way to lose a potential customer than by making a poor first impression over a typo. Knowing our luck there is one in this blog, oh well, too late now.
Test your links
Do you have an email associated with the site? Make sure it works by having friends and family send you emails through the site. If you can order products directly from your new website, run several test orders through to check your system is working correctly.
View your website on a mobile device
How does it look?
You want visitors to easily scroll through the phone via their mobile devices. Be sure to view your site from multiple devices to see how it looks and test the functionality of the site.
Send your website link to your friends and ask them for their opinion regarding how it appears and works.
Once you have considered these ten points, you’re ready to hire a web designer. They will have the information they need to design and you will get what you want: an outstanding website at an affordable cost.
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If you’re in the market for a new website (or even your first ever website), you’ve got two main options when it comes to getting one built: hire a professional website designer or take advantage of one of the numerous website builders that are out there.