Ready to invest in a big fancy smancy website design?  AWESOME!  It’s going to be amazing, unless you haven’t figured out the following.  What to know before you hire a website designer can be the difference between a good experience and a bad one.  The difference between an investment in your business and a HUGE waste of money!  It’s that important.  So let’s get right into what you must know before you hire a website designer…What to know before you hire a website designer

Before you hire a website designer know your brand

Know your target audience.  What they like, where they hangout, how they speak…everything.  Use that and your own style to create your brand style.  For more details on exactly how to bring your personality into your brand style see this post!

Now that you have an idea where your brand is going you’ll need a brand board and a logo.  Now it really doesn’t matter which of these comes first.  You can always add your logo to the brand board after.  Having the brand board done before you get someone to create a logo can be beneficial since your brand board will help them know your aesthetic.  It will give them direction, but as long as you know more or less your style, you should be fine.  So for the purpose of this, just get  your brand board done first.  You may hire someone to do it or check out this post to learn how to do it yourself for FREE.

Now get yourself a logo!  Sure you could do it yourself using a free commercial use font, but there are cheap options out that for you.  My favorite is 99 Designs.  It’s a site you spend about the same amount of money as you would for a logo, but instead of just one logo designer you have a bunch submiting their designs.  You can communicate with them during the submission period to help them tweak their logos to what you want if they are close.  You give them feedback and better direction every step of the way.  Maybe you spot someone with the style you are looking for, you can ask them to submit a mock up for your logo!  It’s a great service and totally worth it.  I used it before and loved it!  Another option is always Etsy.  Look form a logo design that has done multiple logos in the look and feel you are going for before you choose them.  Designers tend to have a particular aesthetic so know that’s a match first.

 Have professional photos and video

It doesn’t matter if you sell a tangible product or a service.  You NEED professional photos!  No cell phone pictures and please no snap shots with bad lighting.  You are spending big bucks to get a custom website design, don’t ruin the look with bad photography!  Your about page needs a professional head shot of the owner and maybe even permanent employees.  If you work alone, that’s YOU.  A nice big head shot of yourself with a smile.  This establishes that KNOW-LIKE-TRUST factor quickly.  They know you put your face on your business and that’s not a small thing.  Don’t hide behind your business name like a huge sneaky corporation.  Even if you are a huge corporation show the higher ups in the corporation.  Make them real people and relatable.

If you have a location people can visit make sure you have at least one nice shot of the location.  If it’s just a horrible looking building you might be better off with just putting a map of the location.

People love to see professional photos of businesses working.  They can even be fake set up professional photo shoots.  A photo of you in front of a beautifully styled desk pretending to work on your computer.  That’s beautiful.  If you’re office area is nicely decorated, a photo of it or you working in it.

If you sell a service that has dramatic before and afters (landscaping, makeup artist, hairstylist, dog groomer, etc.) post before and after photos!  People go nuts for them.  It’s a huge selling point.

Product photography is what sells one product for higher than the next.  Use styled stock photography to sell your products.  It’s a great investment.  A professional shot of your product against white won’t sell it the same as putting it among beautifully styled objects.  Check out my Etsy Store for examples of styled stock photography.  Spring for custom styled stock photography to match seamlessly with your branding.

Stock photography are also great for your blog posts!  Every blog post needs at least one image with the title of the post on it.  Make that image get attention!  See the styled photo I used in this post?  Looks nice and professional.

A video is a great way to introduce yourself and your business quickly.  People can see your face, hear your voice, and decide immediately if they want to work with you.  It’s like an interview only you can reshoot it over and over until it’s perfect.

Having professional photos and a video to give to your designer really makes their job easier.  They work the photos into their design.  If you look around websites, the ones with the nicest photos really look that much better than those with good design and bad photos.  Don’t ruin good website design with bad photography!

Have your copy ready to go

Great design and photos get people to stop and notice you, but copy gets them to stay.  This is MOST important for services.  The kind of services that don’t have before and after photos need this even MORE.  Your copy are your words.  Are they persuading them to trust you? Do you come across as likable?  If you need help with copy on permanent pages I highly suggest you hire a great copywriter.  Not all are created equally.  Read their work!  Are you persuaded to like, trust, and hire them?  Great copywriters inject tons of personality into their copy.  Great copy will demand your attention and never bore you.

You need the copy for your about page, services page(s), copy to entice people to sign up for your newsletter, and most importantly your home page.  Your home page is the first page people will see.  The design has to be clean and well done, the images have to be beautiful, and the copy has to get them to do whatever it is you want them to do….immediately.

So know your goal for each page to design your copy around that. For your home page maybe you want to immediately get people to sign up to your newsletter so you can continue to build a relationship with them.  You’ll want your home page simple with not much words or links away exact the ones convincing them to sign up to the newsletter.  That copy has to be clear and persuasive.  That brings me to the last point…

Have a clear goal for each page

Every page on your website needs a goal.  If you don’t inform your website designer of this goal they are just going to do what they normally do.  They have to know your goal.  For example when designing this website the first home page mock up was beautiful, however it had large images with links to other pages in the website.  Those images distracted from the sign up form.  I had to get rid of them.  Was that the website designers fault?  Nope!  It was my fault for not telling her before she started what the goal was for that page.  If I had she would know to eliminate any distractions and focus only on the sign up form.

At the end of every page I like to include the sign up form as well as have it scattered everywhere on the site.  That’s the most important part of my website and the main goal of the entire site is to get people to sign up.  I want to make sure I can email them when I make a new post and be able to remind them of my business now and then.  A lot of times people find a great site and forget to go back to it.  That’s why the sign up form is such a priority for me and my business.  Some businesses may want the contact page and phone number huge and everywhere.  Maybe a work with me page is the priority.  Decide what the goal of your website will be and make your design work towards it!

Technical needs

If you want your website mobile friendly, if you want certain functionality, etc.  Know that and discuss it before you hire a website designer.  Some include certain things in the base price and others charge extra.  Have a clear idea what features you’ll need before you hire someone to design your website.

What do you need before your hire a website designer?

Get to the comments section and let me know if you found this helpful.  Also let me know what you plan on having ready before you make the investment into a fancy new website design or redesign.  Share this post and help others struggling to figure out what they need before their big design!  Sign up for more great FREE tips HERE.  You’ll also get my ebook on how to make your business website WOW.

If you need someone to guide you through an upcoming website design or be the go between person for you and your website designer, I offer this service.  For more information contact me now.

xo, Kat