CAN I DESIGN FOR YOU?
So you are considering starting you first website, or you’re looking to redesign your current website that hasn’t been generating the traffic that you want. If this sounds like you, the first question you may have for yourself is “Where do I begin?” Can I design for you?
A few of the first things to consider are your budget and timeline. With so many web design companies and built it yourself website services available, it can be an overwhelming task deciding if you want to hire someone or if you want to take a stab at it yourself. While hiring a web designer can be expensive, it doesn’t have to be. There are plenty of upstart designers out there looking for new clients who are relatively inexpensive in comparison to a larger web design company. And to your surprise, a smaller company or even an independent design can produce a professional website that you will love. Now, if you want to try out other web design services such a Wix or Squarespace who offer FREE websites, don’t be too taken in by the word “FREE”. Often times, free comes with limitations such as a domain name with their name included and potentially lots FREE advertising for them. Also, there is some knowledge required of design principles needed to get the results you want and there may be limitations on the amount of customization that you could do.
For this post I am going to assume that you are considering hiring an entrepreneur like myself to help you with your web design needs. So here are some helpful tips to help get you started working with your web designer of choice:
- HAVE A VISION
Once you choose a web designer to work with, it is very helpful to do some searching for websites that look similar to how you want your website to look. Look at competitor’s websites and other similar business websites, but have your own visions. Having a vision and examples to present to the web designer will give the designer the opportunity to inform you if their skill set can produce the results you want and also help determine if the project fits into your budget.
- DOMAIN and HOSTING
Two important things to learn about if you are planning a website are domain names and web hosting. The domain is the actual name of your website (ex. www.thevisionaryone.com) and is how people will find you on the web. Choosing a domain is important because you want it to be a close to your business name as possible. Sometimes you may have to get creative because the domain name you want may already be taken. Having a domain is just a start. In order for customers to find you on the web, you will need a host for your domain. Some of the more popular web hosting companies are GoDaddy, SiteGround, BlueHost and HostGator. There are many more hosting companies available so doing your research to find which one is most cost-effective for you and meets your needs best is high recommended. One thing that I will not is many hosting companies offer free domains (1-year) for new hosting accounts and they also offer nice discounts for acquiring multiple years of hosting.
Now that you have your vision for your website and set-up your domain and hosting, it’s time to begin collaborating with your web designer. It’s not enough to just say here is what I want, how long before it’s ready. While the web designer’s job is to meet your needs through design, there are things that he/she will need to get started:
- Input on color schemes ( branding purposes)
- Copy/Content: what information you want on the website
- High Quality images
- Logo if applicable
- Social Media Links
- SEO needs: keywords, image alt tags, site description, links
- FEEDBACK and PATIENCE
A great and effective website design does not happen overnight. Client feedback is essential during the design process to ensure that the design process goes smooth and efficiently. If during the process you have additions you would like to make or changes to the design, communicate those needs to your designs as clearly as possible. It’s good practice to have a long list of changes at one rather than small changes here and there. Giving your designer a list will help them prioritize and plan to make changes accordingly. Don’t be afraid to ask for mockup/prototype from you designer before actual production. Doing so will help get the visual concept laid out before the development of the actual website begins. One thing to note is not to be surprised if you see dummy text placed in your mockup design (www.lipsum.com) because it’s a common practice for designers. Once the development of your website begins stay in contact with your designer to get updates on the progress, but be mindful that designing a website is a process and involves a lot of testing to ensure things are functioning properly.
Now that you have a better understanding of the process of building a website you should be ready to start looking for your web designer or possibly even considering taking a run at it yourself. Whatever choice you decide to make, just be sure to do your research so that all of your needs are met.
And if you decide to hire a designer, “The Visionary One” is here to help!