For many young startups and hopeful entrepreneurs, the single largest hurdle that they face when establishing their business and their presence in the market is the building, ranking, and maintenance of their company website.
Websites are also known as “virtual brands” and “online store fronts”, which should already give you an inkling of just how important they are. This is the fact that you will display to every single human on the planet who has access to the internet. No pressure, yeah?
A good first impression can make or break a business deal, which you can read more about in this article. Well, to make sure you leave the absolute best impression on the entire customer cosmos, you need to hire some professional help. Here are all the essential things you need to tackle before you decide on your future go-to web designer.
Know the priorities and primary goals of your website
Before you actually hire someone to do the design work, know what it is that you aim to design. Sit down with yourself and address a few key questions first.
Will you be selling a product or a service? Or will your website simply be a hub of information about a topic or a niche? What would you like to stand out the most?
A professional web designer can certainly help you answer these questions, and many others, but they will almost certainly charge you a fee for having that conversation. If you can handle this step yourself, you really ought to go for that option first.
Make yourself a vision board
These things are useful for way more than figuring out your life’s further direction when you get confused. They can also help you give form to what impact you want to achieve and help you decide on the ideal new look for your business.
Your vision board can be a stretch of cork hanging on your office wall, or a Pinterest board, or whatever else works for you. For a convenient step by step guide on how to actually make one, check out this web page: https://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Vision-Board
Put up things like logo idea, color schemes that you want your brand to feature, your own curated fonts gallery, and quotes, slogans, or phrases that relate to your business or that you simply find inspiring.
Also, no need to shy away from other people’s ideas! Obviously, never plagiarize, but feel free to scour the web for inspiration, look up other people’s websites and see how they handle their aesthetics: the layouts, the visuals. Who knows what awesome ideas you might get!
Make a wish list for your design
This step is important because it will save both yourself and your chosen web designer heaps of work and annoyance further down the road. It always pays to have at least some framework of what exactly you want and how you might be able to get it. Consider the following:
Does your website need to be built from the ground up? Or do you already have one, but it seriously needs some updating? If that is your case, what exactly is wrong with your current site? What do you want to change and how?
If you will be needing a site from scratch, come up with a list of technical and aesthetical features. How many pages would it have? What would the headers be like? What functions will the buttons have? Will they lead to social platforms or affiliates? How do you plan to integrate the menu? Will you have drop-down lists? How will you display your contact information, your pricing plans, where will the testimonials go?
Also, here is a neat little trick for you: check out the websites of the designers themselves! They tend to have awesome templates that you can re-adapt, especially if your business is local or targets a very specific niche. Try searching for things like “creative website designer near me”, “website design [theme] templates”, or such, and see what you come up with!
Creating a wish list like this will help a designer to more accurately understand your needs. This, in turn, will enable them to give you a realistic estimate of how much time and money it will take to make your idea a functioning reality.
Make sure each of your planned pages has a purpose
This is something to take care of, as precisely as possible, before any work is started on actually building your website. We already mentioned that you should come up with a tentative number of pages to have; now figure out what purpose they will serve and how much copy (word content) each of the pages will contain.
Again, you would be better off if you figured it out for yourself. A professional web designer can also do it for you – if you are willing to pay them by the hour. Your best bet is to find inspiring websites in your industry and take a few pages from their books.
If you really have no idea where to start, just fall back on the Big Five: the standard page types that your customers will definitely expect you to have. These Big Five are the home page, the “about us” or “our story” page, the repository of frequently asked questions, the details about your product or your service (including pricing packages and such), and the contact page, which would feature either just your contact info or a direct contact form that people can use to get in touch with you.
Essentially, build a “skeleton” of a solid basic structure which will be there to support any additions and changes later on. This will allow you to keep your site fluid in the face of changing business trends. Create a “baseline website” which you would update with information, without changing its structure. Remember, the more changes you make after the initial building, the more it will cost you.