What exactly does your web designer need from you?
When you hire a designer to create a website for your creative business, the most obvious benefit you get is not having to worry about figuring out all of the tech on your own.
This gives you the time you need to actually work on growing your business, focusing on your zone of genius instead of being frustrated and overwhelmed with your website.
The first thing I need from my clients is a commitment and dedication to the project and for us both to come to the table ready to make our work together a wonderful experience.
With that being said, there’s a bigger, less obvious benefit to working with a web designer.
When you hire a web designer who has experience with not only the technical aspects of designing a website, but also the strategy and marketing behind it, you’re working with someone who understands the importance of your business.
And now you’re getting way more value out of your design project.
Your web designer should ask you for all of the information I’m about to share, and they’ll be super impressed if you come to the project prepared to give it to them.
1. A strong understanding of your business.
The more your web designer knows about your business and has what they need, the better they will understand how to build you the best website that is going to serve your needs. All websites are not created equal. Trust me on this one… I’ve seen some hot messes! You want your website to SHINE online!
If your business is brand new, it’ll have different components than a website for a business that’s been around for years.
Your web designer will need to know the answers to questions like these:
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have a physical location or are you online-only?
- Who is your ideal client?
- What services and products do you offer?
- Will you be selling anything on your website?
- Do you plan on adding new content regularly?
Simple questions like these will affect how your web designer creates your page layouts, and which pages will be featured on your main menu.
For example, if you do one-on-one client work, your website would need different pages and features than it would if you sell handmade jewelry.
Or, if you are heavy into weekly podcast episodes, your designer might make different choices than they would if you publish blog posts once a month.
You may be taking these factors for granted, or they may not occur to you at all. I take time to educate my clients on what exactly goes into designing and building a custom website. Most business owners are not aware,.
A good web designer can process all of the information you give them and help you make the most logical choices for your website. I have my clients complete a detailed questionnaire and then we dissect their answers during a Design Kick-Off Call. This helps me to connect all the dots.
And those choices can make a huge difference in how well your website works as a marketing tool for your business and ultimately bringing clients to you and increasing your revenue.
2. The most important things you want people to do on your website.
Getting people to take action on your website is a big part of converting your visitors into customers. You need to identify what actions you want people to take so your web designer can make it easy for your visitors to do them.
If you’re not sure what you want your visitors to do on your site, that’s okay. It’s not always that obvious when you’re just starting out. I will often brainstorm with my clients if they aren’t quite sure and it is ultimately my responsibility to guide my clients in the right direction.
Here are some examples of important actions your website visitors can take:
- Find out about your business in general
- Sign up for your email list
- Book a free consultation
- Browse your services and pricing
- Pay for your services
- Buy your products
- Read your blog
- Watch your videos
- Enroll in your course
- Get answers to frequently asked questions
- Contact you directly
Pick three of the most important actions you want visitors to take. Then your web designer will be able to make better design choices for your website. You’ll want to draw attention to those items so your visitors are more likely to take action.
On the flip side, you don’t want to draw attention to something on your website that isn’t ready yet.
For example, if you want to add a a free library resources but you don’t have anything free to give that’s ready, I’d tell you to wait to make that page visible. Why draw attention to something if there is no pay off when your visitors get there?
3. A signed contract and deposit
Most web designers won’t even start the development phase of a project until your deposit clears, so be prepared to pay something up front.
Just like you, a web designer is a small business owner who gets paid to provide services. If you’re a service provider, you can appreciate the importance of securing payment and protecting yourself from unforeseen issues like clients who ghost you halfway through the project.
4. Your website content
Gathering content is the first phase of any design project, and it’s the part of the project where the client has the most homework and responsibility. The more you can prepare in the beginning, the more smoothly your project will run.
Giving your website content to your web designer as soon as possible is crucial. Missing content can delay your entire project. If you don’t have anything to give your designer, they can’t fully design your website.
Here are some standard content items your web designer will need from you:
- Visual branding elements (logo, colors, fonts, etc.)
- Graphics, like a homepage banner
- Photos (preferably of you, but stock photos can also be considered)
- Your business’s contact info
- A list of your services/products
- Your social media links
- Account info for your web hosting & email service provider
Most web designers can work with you to gather a lot of this content. My Premium Design Package includes services for color palettes, fonts, and other helpful services. It takes the pressure off of my clients and I LOVE to make their lives easier. ❤️
5. Your website copy
Submitting copy to your web designer is just as important as giving them your other content. Most web designers are not copywriters, so it’s not technically their job to fill in your headlines, product descriptions or even the snappy words you use on your “Learn More” buttons.
Of course, your web designer isn’t going to delay your project so you can give them an alternative to the “Sign up for my newsletter” prompt, but they’ll secretly love it if you did.
I do my best to intuitively design clients’ websites and use copy that I know works well for the soul-centered entrepreneur.
The copy you really need to focus on is what goes on your homepage, your about page and your email opt-in offer. That’s where you’ll be marketing your business to your website visitors so you can warm them up new leads.
Your web designer uses your website copy to create layouts that take your visitors through a journey on your website that should lead to taking action. So get that copy written and ready to deliver.
And lastly… one which I stress with my clients (and I make sure I am staying on top of!)…
6. Your email opt in & list
Your email opt in offer is the main thing that transforms your website from a static info site into a marketing tool that works 24/7. It’s imperative that you have a free opt in with a focus on building your email list.
Once you’ve created your email opt-in offer, your web designer can set up the tech to connect your website to your email service provider (there are many, and I recommend Mailerlite). Then you’re ready to start building your email list from the moment your website goes live.
It’s possible to launch your website without an email opt-in offer, but why would you? That’s just going to delay any opportunity you have to generate warm leads and convert your visitors into potential customers.
Seriously, Mailerlite is the BOMB!! Especially if you are just starting out with email marketing! It’s FREE until you are at 1000 subscribers. I am an affiliate so if you use my link to get yourself an account, I will receive a kick-back should you subscribe to a paid subscription. Give it a shot! I wouldn’t rave about it if I didn’t 100% believe in it. I’ve used many email providers and this is hands down a winner in my book.
Working with a web designer isn’t just about paying someone to set up your website for you. It’s an investment in your business and your ability to create a strategic marketing tool.
For me, it’s a partnership, an experience. I know I am creating not only a website, but developing a relationship with my clients so I can provide the best results for their business.
If you’re a new entrepreneur, your web designer can also become a valuable resource for information and guidance.