So, you’re looking into hiring a website designer to create a custom website for you. Congratulations! It’s a big step and a rewarding experience. When we get an inquiry from a potential client, you can feel their excitement through the screen. We love when we jump on consultations with them to learn more about their business.
But we’ve seen some huge mistakes people make when hiring another business to create their website. A new custom site is a large investment, both of time and money. And you want to make sure you’re as prepared as possible and ready to dive in.
On our consultations, we can give you the overview of our entire process, the investment information, and more but it’s tough to fit in all the essential things you need to know to make the most of your project and get the most value from hiring us. Let’s go over the most important steps and misconceptions people have when working with a website designer/developer so you can feel ready and excited to begin your project!
When you are ready to have a custom website created for you, you need to ask yourself, “Am I being realistic about the time this will take?” For instance, if you reach out to a designer, they are probably booking 2-6 months out and then the timeline can take anywhere from 4-12 weeks or more depending on your needs. We’ve had many people reach out ready for a custom site but wanting it done and launched within 6 weeks of their initial email.
That will not work for many reasons. First, most designers do not have immediate availability. The earliest we schedule new clients is at least 4 weeks out. This is to give them time to gather their essential building blocks for their new site (more on that next) and for us to prepare for the project as well and wrap up current projects so we have the bandwidth for a new client. Second, in addition to gathering the elements of your site, you’ll most likely have an extensive questionnaire to fill out to give that designer a really good understanding of your brand and business. This is essential to building out a strategy that will make you money and set you up for success so you don’t want to feel rushed during this step.
Gathering Building Blocks
As I mentioned above, you need time before diving into your timeline to gather your building blocks for the site. Without these elements, you can’t build a site. Every part is needed for the design. With our specific approach, the photos in certain places are intentional, copy shapes all of the layouts and structure of the site, and the brand tells us what design guidelines we need to use. Each piece is super important.
A strategic brand not only shapes the overall visuals of the site but the message we need to communicate throughout. We want people to feel immersed in your business and that’s the easiest way to do so, with a brand built on strategy.
Whether your photos are your own (like for photographers or brand photography you had taken) or stock images, the quality of your images has a huge impact on your site. You could have an amazing website design, brand, and copy but the photos looking low quality and inconsistent can completely ruin the site. It’s essential to curate high quality images.
Your copy is what tells the story of your business, sells your services and products, and communicates your value. Rushing through the process of writing your words can be detrimental to your success once you launch. You want to be clear and infuse your personality and brand voice into your words. Feeling rushed we’ve seen with past clients creates a sense of urgency and you begin thinking, let me just get this done. You don’t want to approach anything important this way.
Some other items you may want to consider if you have them as a part of your business are:
- Shop: You’ll need additional images and copy for your products and your shop software setup to integrate into your site if the designer isn’t taking care of it for you
- Podcast: You need to have a plan, like would you like to feature the episodes on their own page or are you sharing them as blog posts?
- Course: Do you have all the elements you need to make a sales page for your course?
- Testimonials: Social proof is so important, you’ll want to gather as many options as you can before the website process begins
- Blog: When you launch, do you want to have blog posts ready if it’s a new blog? Do you need to share anything new?
- Freebies & Newsletter: Are you signed up for an email list software? Do you need to create a new freebie, like a PDF, quiz, etc.?
- Passwords: Do you have all your passwords ready so your designer can set everything up and help you launch?
You may be asking what you should do if you don’t have one of those elements ready to go when you reach out to someone. We have that situation come up often with potential clients. They need a brand, a copywriter, or photos and we have partners we connect them with to build the ideal team for their needs. But those timelines can only overlap so much so you have to accommodate for multiple processes. We love bringing in experts to elevate our client sites but be prepared for the timing needed.
You may want to take on a project like this during a slow season. It’s not absolutely required but it also gives you ample energy to provide feedback on time. But we’ve definitely worked with clients who were super busy and it was totally fine. It’s all about priorities. We take over as much of the process as we can so that helps our clients as well.
Marketing & Launch
It seems crazy to think of how you’ll market and announce your launch before even hiring someone, but you need a plan. When the site is done and, for our clients, we’ve decided on a launch date and we’re all gonna share about the website on that day, how are we gonna drive eyes to all the hard work we’ve all been doing over the last few weeks?
It’s a good idea to minimally know where you’ll be sharing your launch, what graphics and copy you’ll need for your launch, and how you’ll role out previews to amp up interest!
Whoo! That seems like a lot, am I right? But slowly thinking through these items as you’re saving up for the investment for a custom site allows you to not feel overwhelmed when you’re looking to hire someone and it helps the project be smooth sailing. Did you know that our clients not only get assistance from us to prep all these things but we have partners to build the ideal team for your business? Check out our services to learn more!