What Do I Need to Know Before Designing Your Website?
As a web designer, I will work with you to create a website that has a visual hierarchy that helps you turn leads into conversions. In order for me to deliver a good design that promises results, there are a few things I need to know before designing your website.
I use our first conversation not only a chance for me to get to know you on a personal level, but as an opportunity to gather specifics that will drive your project in the right direction.
Providing this information at the beginning of the project development, not only helps me to include real information in your website concepts, but it will also expedite the entire design and development process so you can have your website completed faster!
I use your real information in the design concepts so that you can have a clear vision of how your info will look on the new site.
The following general business information is collected at the start of the project:
- Official business name – If your business needs to be displayed with any legal symbols or titles, like ™, LLC, Inc., ©, or anything of the sort included with your business name, let me know!
- Primary phone – The phone number you use to answer calls and inquiries for your business.
- Email – Any email address you want to use on the site. If you have multiple emails like email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or JohnSmith@youremail.com, make sure to list them. Or If I am also hosting your site and you are interested in a corporate email that corresponds with your domain/url name, let me know.
- Hours of Operation – Let me know what your specific hours of operation are. Displaying these on your website is extremely important. RetailDIVE reports more than 65% of consumers conduct online research before stepping in to a store, amplifying the need to display information accurately.
- List of services – Always provide a detailed list of services that you will need listed and/or pages for on the site. This helps me prepare a more accurate price estimate for the project and the ability to incorporate the keywords for SEO into the site’s visual appeal.
This is an important question I need to know before designing your website. Do you want to sell a product? Tell a story? Or serve as a resource for knowledge?
The most common types of websites are:
- Brochure – A brochure website is quite often an online extension of your sales collateral; outlining the who, what & where of your business
- Non-editable brochure websites are static and rarely need changes.
- Editable brochure websites incorporate a content manager and allows any authorized user access to edit the website.
- Dynamic – Dynamic websites have with more user engagement (login areas etc) than a brochure website. They also require a content management system to monitor, alter, and contribute to the interaction.
- eCommerce – eCommerce websites integrate a payment gateway. This platform requires you to be clear about your requirements. How many product lines, how many variants of a each product, do you need to integrate it with a fulfillment house? Which payment gateway do you want to use? All of these decisions will influence the approach I need to take for design and development.
When is a website not a website?
When it’s a web application. If you need to do more than just host information about your organisation or collect user contact forms, you are probably looking at a web application.
If you already have a logo for your business, you should provide it to me right away. Your logo should be high-resolution and have a transparent background. Grainy or pixellated logos make your website look unprofessional and incomplete and can reduce the overall trustworthiness of your site.
Don’t Have a Logo?
I can help! Your logo is the face of your business and is used in a wide range of places and marketing material, making its valuable immeasurable. Besides, it’s ideal to design your website around an existing logo rather than designing a logo after the site is complete.
Site Written Content
- Mission Statement – Give me a 4-5 sentence summary of what you do and how your business is beneficial to your target audience.
- Page Content – This is the text for every page of your website. Write up employee bios, service descriptions/explanations, “About” information for your company, a mission statement, FAQs, and anything else you need to sell your service/product to your clients.
- Blog Posts – If your website is going to include a blog, you should provide a few pre-written posts for me to upload to the site before it goes live.
Site Visual Content
- Gallery/Portfolio Images – Provide images at as high of quality as possible. Images should be already edited to your liking unless mentioned prior to the scope of the project.
- Any photos you want to see on informational pages of the site. If you don’t have any, at least give an idea of what kinds of photos you want to use to relate to your customers.
Style & Vision
Your personal and professional style is something I need to know before designing your website. Provide me examples of designs that you do and don’t like to give me an idea of what styles to play around with. List the colors that draw you in and images that you feel represents your business or blog. You can also visit competitor websites and give me the URL with detailed notes of the things that you love and hate about them.
Who will visit your site? What do they want to get from your site? If you’ve been in business for more than a few months you probably already know who this is. But if not, here are some of the details you will need to gather:
- User demographics (age, gender, education, income)
- User psychographics (media consumption habits, lifestyle, commonly used slang, or jargon)
- Purchasing habits
- Current website metrics (if completing a redesign) including existing bounce rates, user navigation flows, and conversion rates
Scope of project
A thoughtful, well-planned and well-executed website can take anywhere from one to six months to complete, with some larger sites taking almost a full year.
I will need you to identify any key dates or milestones leading up to the final product. Creating a project schedule and keeping on track with its terms will rely heavily on your ability to work closely and responsively with me during the set timeline.
Whether you’re a start-up or large corporation, you should have a budget set aside for your website. This will include funds not only for the initial setup and ongoing fees such as annual domain registration, hosting and site maintenance.
If you are unsure of how or where to acquire some of the information needed above, just ask! I’m certified and experienced, not only in web design, but in designing, gathering, and altering all the materials needed for the preparation and development of the website.
5 thoughts on “7 Things I Need to Know Before Designing Your Website”
I agree that knowing your audience is an important aspect to consider!
I love your comprehensive plan for designing websites for clients! I have three websites and a blog and I wish, wish, wish I had awesome information and food for thought just like this before I began. Instead I just jumped right in and figured things out along the way > not a very good approach!
What a great easy to follow guide for planning a new website. Very helpful for planning (for you and a client).
some great tips here! I wish I’d had this before I did mine!
Thanks for this guide! I’m guilty of not having all of these.