How ready are you to work with a website designer?
While every designer is a little different and may require different things from you, they’ll still need a few bare minimum things before they can get started.
“But why can’t you just get started now?”
Well for me, I like to have a full picture of who you are, you know? I want to get to know you!
I don’t feel comfortable starting your website without a clear idea of what you’re about, what you like and dislike and what you are trying to achieve with your new site.
Every element of the website, from the structure, to the copy and what pictures you choose tells a story. All of this should be established well before the design part even starts.
So how ready are you really? Here’s four things I need from clients before I get started!
(And if you’re freaking out right now, don’t worry, I help you through this prep stage! And I can even sort out your copy for you too.)
Words and Pictures
Everything about how a website looks will be dependent on the copy and the pictures. I’ve written about this before here, but it’s worth repeating time and again.
How many headings there are, how many words there are on which pages and where the call to actions go, all determine the flow of a website.
As for pictures… Well as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words! Not only do pictures set the tone of the website, but they can also draw your user’s attention to important information.
Did you know that humans are compelled to follow the eyeline of people in photos? We also can’t ignore flashing / moving parts (which is why banner ads look like that, by the way).
All of this is taken into account during the design process!
Unless your designer is coming up with your branding for you as well (hello!), you should have your branding documents ready to go for them.
Everyone’s branding is different, so everyone’s branding document will be different. Branding documents may include logos and alternates, icons and patterns, colour palettes and fonts, plus how all those things can and can’t be used together.
This is essential for a cohesive brand presence across print and digital!
Everything about YOU
OK maybe your designer doesn’t need to know your birth story or your star sign (unless that’s relevant to your brand, of course!), but they should ask you for your target audience at the least.
Due to my values-driven approach, I also need to know your mission and your values. I ask a lot of questions in the beginning about where you are right now and where you want to be after your website is done, and into the future.
This might also include some back story about where you’ve been, as this all adds up to a digital presence that tells your story, and puts your message front and centre.
All of this is doubly important if I’m doing your copy for you too!
Likes and Dislikes
Finally, we all have some non-negotiables about what we do and don’t like about website design. I’ve had clients who LOVE background images that move with you as you scroll (this effect is called parallax!) and clients at the exact same time who hate it with a passion.
Every case is different, after all!
Do some research for your designer to refer back to. Head to some websites of competitors or peers in your industry and write down what you do and don’t like about them.
Your designer should do this too of course, especially if they’re not an industry specialist, because this is part of market research! But it’s always good to be prepared.
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Until next time, be kind to yourself!
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