Determine your goals for the website
- Are you merging two businesses?
- Are you launching a startup?
- Ready to update your ancient website?Adding some new functionality?
Whatever the reason, make this loud and clear to your developer.
Know some web design terms
Take at least 5 minutes to look at some web design resources. Know some of these important terms and best practices.
CMS (Content Management System)
A CMS is basically a structure to build your website off of. There are many different types of CMS.
Wordpress is an extremely popular one. Joomla, Drupal, Concrete5, ModX, etc. Each CMS has it’s own backend that you will use to edit the content on the site. Wordpress has always been a simple CMS to use, which is why it’s so popular (even though it’s not necessarily the best CMS option).
Google’s design guideline that offers templates for web developers to use. Google material design is the backbone of solid, user-friendly design elements.
A business agreement on how your site will be built, what functionality the site will come with, when your site will be built, etc. You and your web designer will agree on these aspects. Once this has been signed, any additional things you want will need to be addended to the scope.
The website wrapper is sort of a page on a page. This allows you to have content on the page without the words and pictures extending from edge to edge. You can change the size of the wrapper.
CTA = Call to action
Where you want your user’s eyes to go to click/convert.
Part of the page you can see right away without needing to scroll. Used to describe the top fold of the newspaper.
Have other sites you like in mind
Take some time to look at sites you like. Write down the names and the certain things you like about each site. This will help the developer create a design you will like. Include a list of your competitors' sites too!
Think about a new sitemap
A sitemap is basically the main menu of the site and the pages that may follow. If you are adding more services to your business or notice the main menu is clunky, this is your chance to straighten things out.
Define your audience and what they WANT
The more you know about your target customers, the better you can design the website for them. Think about how you want that first impression to be for them.
Be open to ideas
A whole website of bright blues might drive your users sky high. Hear your web designers out when discussing your fonts, colors, and other design elements.
Go easy on the branding
Your website isn’t a billboard, it’s a place for your users to come, learn, and interact with you. Your logo doesn’t need to be a huge part of the page.
only have one person to approve things (IF POSSIBLE)
A group of people that have to approve things or a chain of approval can slow the web design process to the halt. Now you know this! So try your best to have one person with sign-off authority if you can.
Take the copy on your website seriously
Think about your content. It will probably need to be refreshed. Usually, website copy is an afterthought to web design, but it shouldn’t be.
Consider your site’s future
A new site is a perfect opportunity to launch a marketing strategy as well. You’ve already invested in the site. That’s sort of like getting a new car without a driver’s license.
Be ready to be available
The better you are at responding, the smoother the project. Sometimes developers have super quick questions to ask you. Taking a day or so to answer them can severely slow things down. Give your web designer your cell phone number for any developing emergencies.
You will need a host to put the site online
If you already have a hosting company, you can simply contact them to switch domain names. If your site will have the same domain name, then the web developer will basically just replace the template. Just be aware of this more technical side.