When I started doing freelance web design, it became more and more apparent that many people start businesses without clear direction. Yes, I had some clients who were exceptions and who were able to articulate exactly what they wanted in a website or logo, but I had many others who struggled with my very simple questionnaire that I required to start on a project or who left a lot of preferences unknown to me.
As a designer, that left me to take stabs in the dark, hoping that I'd design what those types of clients wanted, which often resulted in frustration on both sides and unnecessary time being wasted. So here's the tea on getting the most bang for your buck with web design...the more clear you are on what you want before you hire a web designer, the better your investment in web design will be. Having clarity on your business or blug from the beginning will also help you to choose a web designer whose design style matches with your preferences.
So be sure to do these seven things before you hire one. Your designer will be oh so happy that you did!
1. Be clear on your business or blog
Why did you start a business or why did you start your blog? What exactly does your business or blog do for others in the most simple way possible? Be super clear on your purpose and direction. Know that this is the starting point to having a website that effectively showcases you in the way you desire. If you are lacking clarity, you'll end up with a website that isn't true to who you are and that doesn't fit your needs. If you need help in this area, Maya Elious offers great resources and coaching on getting clarity.
2. Do research on websites that you like
Always do some research and identify websites that you like. Do not just go in cold without any information to start with. Start making a little list of the websites that inspire you or that have certain design elements that you want incorporated into your website.
3. Have preferences...don't go in completely indecisive, yet still be open to guidance from your designer
Don't be afraid to have preferences and let your voice be heard. It's best to say what you like and do not like upfront. This is the best way to prevent misunderstandings and wasted time. If you're always answering questions with "idk" or vague answers, expect a vague end result.
4. Know why you're in business
Knowing your "why" makes it much easier for a designer to connect with you and to make sure your website connects to your overall purpose. Your "why" is the core of your brand, which is what you'll be known form.
5. Know who your target audience is
Your target audience makes all the difference in the type of design that you will have, the types of photos that will be used on the site, etc. Knowing specifically what audience you are targeting, like their age group, profession, their needs, their hobbies...know them like you'd know your best friend.
6. Know what message you are trying to convey to your audience
Being clear on the message that you want to convey is crucial. No one else can determine what that message will be. Sure, others can pry and help you to blurt it out, but ultimately, you, the business owner, must articulate it.
7. Know your story and the story of your brand
Your story is why you were inspired to start the business in the first place , and it's ultimately how you got to where you are today. As you get started, you'll find that people will always want to know about your journey. Incorporating your story into your web design is what will help people to connect with you. Be able to tell your story to your designer so he/she can understand you and can provide suggestions for including that creatively into your website.
What are some things that have helped you to work well with a web designer? Share them in the comments below!