How to Prepare for Your Web Design Project
Preparing to have a new website designed and built is exciting. It can also be mind-boggling, intimidating, overwhelming, and stressful. If you haven’t had a website designed before, then it can be hard to know what you don’t know. To create a successful website it takes thinking and planning. By spending some time now, at the beginning of the project, means less heartache during, and at the end.
There are a few reasons why people don’t believe they need to plan a website. You see the sleek ads showing a website being built in seconds. You can just dive in. Simply place something here, something there and hey presto, a new website. Just like magic.
After working on numerous projects, I can tell you that the most successful sites are the ones that have a goal and a plan, plus some other essential elements.
Web Site Goal Setting
If you are deciding to create the site yourself or getting a website designer to build it for you, you need web goals.
These goals need to fit alongside your overall business plan, aims, and focus. If you don’t have business goals, hold onto your horses. Back up. And do that first. It doesn’t have to be a fancy 5-year plan with a full cost analysis. It can be a simple document you have created for yourself, saying what you want to achieve, how you plan to achieve it and by when.
Some questions to ask yourself
- How does having a website fit into those goals
- What can I achieve by having a website?
- How will it fit together with my marketing and social media plan?
Remember, just putting up a site in and of itself will have very little impact on your business. For most small businesses, your website is going to be a piece in your marketing toolkit. It only works if you promote it, drive traffic to it and use it consistently over time as you roll out your marketing plan.
Review what you have already
If you already have been active on your social media pipes, what do you have already? Look through your Insta posts or Facebook pages. See which posts have got engagement, which have gained views and reach. Sometimes you have gold lying on your computer screen, without you fully appreciating it.
- Do you have social media banner covers, a logo or watermark you use on your images?
- Have you written or produce content that you can reuse in your site – visuals, copy, blog articles and general content?
- What are people always asking you for? What are you always sharing with others?
- When you look at all those key pieces, does it all look like it’s from the same person or business?
Have a look what visual impact you are making on people’s new feeds. Look at the type of images, fonts, colours, you use. Do you have a consistent logo, secondary logo’s and water/submarks? Next look at the words you use, do you use certain phrases regularly? Do you have a certain tone or personality? What do people think and feel when they interact with you?
Have a look at all your social media pipes and see if they all look like they are from the same person. Ensure the covers and banners are consistent. Review the bio/about me sections on each platform to make sure they sound consistent.
I often tell my clients that copy, especially good copy, will take time. Much more time then you think it will. Creating copy that not only shares a story, but converts, is an art form. It can elevate how others see you and can be a real game changer. Many small businesses and creative entrepreneurs, decide to write their own website copy. And many people struggle and procrastinate about copy. So think about what approach you want to use. Do it yourself and get someone else to review. Hire a proofreader. Or hire a copywriter. And remember that it’s from the copy, from the content, that the design is done. It can influence it so much. Spend some time thinking about how you want your viewers to feel when they land on your site and how you connect to your ideal audience.
Another way to take your site to the next level or look totally profresh out of the gate, it’s to have professional headshots or a lifestyle shot. Work with your designer to talk through which images could work well within the site design. They may be able to share some images, which you can pass onto your photographer so they understand visually what would work. They say an image can speak a thousand words. But it all comes back to the idea of having a goal for the site and being consistent. Understand which images will appeal to your audience, images that they can imagine themselves in.
These are the key starting points for all the projects I work one. If you are building for yourself, just work through the list, before you even start designing or building the site. Having these elements in place before you get started on your project will make it more successful.
As your brand will look and feel cohesive and familiar.
As your site will flow better as you take your audience on a journey.
As your words and visual complement each other, rather than fight for attention.
As your site fulfils its goal and purpose.
If you struggling or feeling overwhelmed and would like an expert hand to feel free to contact me. I would be more than happy to discuss your project with you.