Truth be told, hiring a website designer is a lot of work, but it’s also the best thing that could happen to your business.
So you’ve already set up your online business and it’s up and running, Monday to Friday. You have all the marketing materials from business cards, brochures, business signage, logos, and promotional flyers to leaflets. There’s only one thing left. Your website!
Your website is your online business shop, a place where you can showcase your creations, and present yourself to customers. With a website, anyone and everyone from around the world can find your business. We’re slowly getting to the most important part.
As a new online business owner, you’re probably wondering, “what do I have to do?” All you know is that you have to get the best deal there is, right? What you need is a website designer to answer and solve most of those questions.
Still, you can choose to forget all that and just do a quick Google search because Google has all the answers? Surprisingly, No! It’s an enticing shortcut to take but at least first try out:
The 10 things listed below and then you can have Google as your second option.
Asking around seems old-fashioned but you’ll find it’s very effective compared to doing a random Google search. Try to converse with people in your professional network to see if anyone can recommend a web designer. It’s always a good idea to ask someone you know well to give a few recommendations.
The web will give you a list of web designers both available locally and internationally to help you create a website for your online business. The second option could be you sitting somewhere with a potential web designer discussing what’s at hand compared to skyping them. If you’re this kind of person then your professional network should be able to direct you to the right person.
Google is the best “person” to consult only if your network fails to recommend a suitable web designer. You just type in “web design help” and it will direct you to multiple freelancing websites that link business owners to freelancers looking to work.
Another way around this is reaching out to a well-known industry, preferably one that you like. Finding one is easy. Just check at the bottom of your favorite website for the phrase/link” designed by” and from there you can directly contact the web designer.
As you do this also take advantage of the opportunity and know about your competitors. Find out what they have to offer, what is the difference between them, is their website good enough and what are they lacking? Finding out all this will give you an edge over your competitors.
Now, you’re on your way towards engaging the website designer. Do you know how your site will sell your products and services? Or you want your site to focus just on providing information? This brings us to:
Deciding your Lead Magnet.
You need to decide on what you want your site to promote before the website is developed. This will help the designer to reserve certain spaces such as where to put highlights and promotions. Examples of lead magnets are:
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It’s okay if you don’t know which choice to make yet. That’s a job for the web designer too. However, there may be extra charges for the ideas he will offer. Scared of the extra charges? Search the web for websites you like especially those that can present your brand well. As you’re doing this also draft an outline for what you expect your website to achieve.
Planning on a new website? submit our online form to get a quote (If you’re on a mobile device, scroll down to bottom to see form).
A vision board is a collage of pictures and affirmations of what you want. Vision boards serve to motivate and inspire you to achieve your goals.
It’s up to you to either make your vision board virtual or an actual one that you can touch. It should at least include the colors you want to represent your brand, your preferred fonts, slogans, phrases, and graphics to use when marketing your business.
During this planning process consider issues such as;
Who will manage and monitor the website?
What will you do in case you can make adjustments?
How much is charged every year for the domain, hosting, and maintenance?
Do you want the web designer to create you a website from scratch or you have one already that just needs some updating? Creating one and updating the other are two different things. One is about creating something entirely new while the other is about making improvements.
If you’re looking to have a new site created then your list should be based on research i.e. number of pages, headers, buttons, menus, plus other visual elements you’d like to feature on your website.
It’s also necessary that you include social media buttons/brand icons to promote your website online. All of this when added up will help your website designer to estimate how much it will take and how much money you’ll need to pay to make your vision come to life.
A lot goes into building a website. The amount of work that goes into it usually costs a lot more than you expect. However, this should not scare you. To make things easier and less scary, just ask around and find out the different household rates for web design work and share it with your web designer. You need to know how much you can allocate for the website then set it in the range of minimum to maximum. Having this prepared will help you and the designer to estimate what will be spent instead of spending a lot or allocating less money.
Also, ask local business owners that already have websites how much they invested in getting their websites created. They may even share their designer’s contact information.
This can include the number of pages you want your website to have, the goal of each page, how many words each page should have, and more. Keep in mind that the web designer may charge you by the hour as they help you answer some of these questions.
An example can be to start with these 5 pages for your website:
In case something changes in your services or products or maybe you get new ideas or new page information, it can always be added. This will also cost you more money to update your website.
Before you go to any web designer, you should have the words for every page with you. If you can’t find the words to write, hire a writer to create content for you. The right content delivers the right message straight to your audience making them understand your products and services. The content has to be crafted in a way that engages your audiences and prompts them to perform certain actions. Just make sure to go with a polished and final copy in your first meeting with the web designer. It will quicken the process.
You may already be using marketing tools such as Google Docs and Dropbox to manage files. All you have to do now is create a new folder and start collecting ideas, pieces, and any other important information needed for your website. The examples below are some of the items to be included in the new online folder.
High-Quality Pictures and Graphics
These include images you intend to upload to your website. You need to showcase the best pictures because visual content appeals to more than texts. Having customized photos specifically crafted for your company is a better choice.
Think about hiring a professional photographer to take high-quality product photos for you. These same photos can even be used to create other marketing materials such as brochures, magazines, and any other product you need to be branded.
Logo and Brand
Your business needs to have a unique logo for branding. Prepare your business logo and if you don’t have one, then contact a graphic designer or use a tool to design one that fits your website.
A shared file can help create other copies for multiple people to review. They can help track changes to the document and even view them in real-time. It’s also a lot faster.
Do you know the technique of outlining what to include in your story before writing? The same approach works when planning for your website. You outline everything and how you expect it to appear. This is like your brand’s digital storytelling the world who you are and why they should purchase your services and products.
Every subset of the planning sitemap should have a page name so that you can see the layout of your site.
Your business must reach your target audience who will be coming to seek services and purchase products. These are your potential customers, that’s why your business needs to match what they are looking for.
A contract and agreement will protect you and the website designer’s expectations. You may think your project will take only a few weeks and it instead drags on for months. Having a contract in place will help you and the website designer benefit from the project based on what the contract states. It should not only include a timeline and budget but also how you’ll both be communicating. For example, do you expect progress reports every day, every week after a month? Then, are texts or emails your preferred means of communication? Or you prefer direct phone calls?
Gather images that you’d like to showcase on your websites as samples for what you offer. These can include logos, animated gifs, and illustrations. Make sure that these images are either taken by you or purchased from trusted sources because it’s very important for copyright issues. You just can’t copy and paste images downloaded from other sites and upload them onto your site! If you don’t have your images or photos you can purchase high-quality images from Shutter stock or similar websites that sell images for commercial use.
For illustrations, the designer to create some for your website. Remember pictures tell a story better than words would. As long as they appear professional and are well branded, you’re good to go.
By this stage, you should be having a proper sketch of your website. So, what’s next? You need to think about how you intend to use your website to your advantage which is promoting your business. Most people prefer launching their business through events, others create a buzz about their brand on various social media sites. Some people post customer testimonials on their new site to build trust and also share the link of the website on social media pages. How will you launch yours?
Before your website is launched, double-check and even recheck just to make sure there aren’t any grammatical errors. Also, test your links before sharing them to make sure they are working correctly. When your website goes launches you will want to look into how to increase web traffic through methods such as
Google-Cost Per Click (CPC)
Facebook-Cost Per Click (CPC)
Lastly, make sure that visitors can scroll through the website easily.
And those are the 10 things you need to do when hiring a website designer. The process requires time, money, and effort if you want to get the best. It’s your business, so consider it worth the investment for future gains.
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Are you getting the best return out of your current website? Need an extra pair of eyes to review your online business? Let our experts take a look at your current state and do a comprehensive digital marketing analysis at no cost to you. Please call us at (800) 379-2829 or contact us today and we will get to work right away.