When you are getting ready to create or redesign your website, it’s pretty exciting.
Thinking about your renewed brand image or imagining you new business’s name in pixels is enough to get you fired up and sometimes, just a little too eager.
Unfortunately, the excitement of building your new site and the anticipation of seeing the final product can make you jump in, take shortcuts, and rush through the process.
But when building a new site, it is often better to slow down, make a plan, and set yourself up to receive the best possible final product. And that means preparing before you even talk to a web developer/designer by going through the following steps.
1. Gather All of Your Business’s Vital Information
Your web developer/designer will be much more effective and efficient if you can provide them with all of the vital information about your business at the beginning of the project.
The upfront work will save both you and your and your designer/developer time (which could save you money) as you won’t need to go back and add things or spend time corresponding about missing info.
So collect and organize your website information and assets before you get started. Then send the information as one package to your designer/developer when you get going.
If you are redesigning an old site, let the designer/developer know what pages and information you want to keep, and if you are creating a new site, give them:
- a list of the pages you need
- a list of your services with explanations and benefits of each service
- product information such as product photos, descriptions, and prices
- your business’s mission statement
- all of your consumer education information (any existing brochures or sales materials)
- general business contact information (physical address, admin email address, phone number, fax number, etc.)
It’s also a good idea to let the designer/developer which information is the most important so they can be sure to highlight the info on the new site.
2. Create a High Resolution Logo in a Variety of Formats
If your designer/developer is not designing your branding and strictly building the website, hire a designer or create a logo on your own before you build your site.
Having a logo that you already feel represents your brand will help the designer/developer with styling ideas and theme.
Create a logo in a few different sizes and shading so that the developer has a few options to work with. The more variations of the logo you can give the better.
Deliver the logo in a high-resolution PNG file and if possible, a vector file. Vector files are easily editable so your designer/developer can make small changes if they need to make it fit with the site.
3. Generate Professional Photography Assets
Visual content is processed 60,000 times faster than text. So you want your website to be filled with high-quality, engaging images that set the tone for your brand.
Your designer/developer can use stock photos to fill in your website, but it is much better to use custom photos that show off your brand or business in a more personable way.
Before you make the investment in a new website, consider hiring a professional photographer to come into your business and take high quality photos.
These photos can be used as the base of your website which will build a stronger, more real connection between your business and your customers.
Plus, you can use the images later when creating other marketing and promotional material.
4. Compile Ideas on What You Like
If you expect to get a product you like from your designer/developer, be sure to give them an idea of what you like before they begin.
Look at other sites and take notes on what you like. Use screenshots to capture specifics on elements like:
- font style
- color scheme
- graphic design
Tools like Awesome Screenshot allow you to take a screenshot and add notes right to the image.
5. Create a List of Your Unique Website’s Needs
Let your designer/developer know upfront if you are going to need special elements on your site, such as a:
- Blog Page — if you are planning to have an active blog
- Storefront — for an ecommerce store
- Interactive Menu — for ordering food online
- Membership Access — for exclusive communities
- Scheduler — for scheduling appointments online
- Calendar — for listing events
- Team Page — for featuring members of your staff
- Email Opts In — for collecting leads (more on this in the next section)
- Lead Page — for promoting a select product or service
Let them know about anything that isn’t standard on a site.
It’s better to over-explain than to have your designer/developer under-deliver.
6. Decide on a Main Offer or Lead Magnet
Each website should have at least one primary offer or lead magnet.
Decide on yours before development starts so your designer/developer know what to highlight on the homepage and in sidebars.
If you already have a lead magnet or offer, this will be easy. Otherwise, create (or at least make your plans) for one before development. Some options include:
- Discount on a product.
- Free products or coupons.
- Registering for an online training.
- Signing up for a webinar.
- Signing up for a newsletter.
- Downloading a free ebook.
- Receiving a free consultation.
Not sure what lead magnet or offer will work for you? Check out this list of 19 ideas from GetResponse.
7. Set a Plan for Managing Your Leads
You’re going to collect leads, so make sure you know what you are going to do with them.
Have everything ready to go so that when the site goes live, you will be prepare to manage and nurture your leads as they come in.
- Choose and set up a CRM (customer relationship management system) or email marketing provider (MailChimp and Aweber are always good) that can send automated messages to your new leads.
- Create content that will be automatically delivered to your new leads when they sign up.
- Create a sales funnel that will nurture your leads by providing useful content before converting the leads to customers.
It’s important to stay fresh in the mind of your leads. So having this plan ahead of time will ensure that you don’t lose any momentum early on.
8. Create a Plan for Your Blog
If you requested a blog on your website, start planning before it is live so you have content ready to go.
Create a plan by asking yourself the following questions and creating an editorial calendar based on your answers.
- What will your schedule be like?
- How many blog posts will you post a week or a month?
- Who is going to create those posts?
- When will the posts be due?
- What topics do you want to write about?
- What will the call to action at the end of each post be?
You can hire someone to manage your blog from start to finish or hire them to complete each of the individual tasks. So go through the list and decide what you will do and what you will outsource.
Ask your designer/developer if they can help you with your content creation or if they can refer you to someone else who can.
9. Think About The Future
At the beginning of the process, make sure that you have an idea of what will happen at the end of the process.
Go over the following questions with your designer/developer so you are prepared for finalizing the site.
- Who will own the content on the site?
- Will you own and manage the hosting?
- Who will manage the site moving forward?
- Who will make small changes as they are needed?
- Can you keep the designer/developer on a retainer to make changes for you?
- Do you need training to manage the site on your own?
Launching or redesigning a website is exciting. It is your chance to reinvent your brand, upgrade your appearance, and start attracting more leads and customers.
So it’s easy to see how you can want to rush and get the project done as soon as possible. But don’t let that urgency push you too hard.
Remember, this is an upgrade that requires time and money. So make sure you get the most out of your project by taking your time and following these steps to get the website you and your business deserve.
Ready to start building your site? Check out our list of essential elements every website needs.