When you hire a designer to create a website for your small business, the most obvious benefit you get is not having to worry about figuring out all of the tech on your own.
But there’s actually a bigger, less obvious benefit to working with a web designer.
When you hire a web designer who has experience working with small business owners, you’re working with someone who understands the role that your website plays in your overall marketing strategy.
And now you’re getting way more value out of your design project.
I specialize in designing and developing websites for small business owners, especially online entrepreneurs, and there are standard elements that are essential for their websites right out of the box.
So keep reading if you’re a small business owner or online entrepreneur who is looking to launch a new website (or upgrade the one you already have). Your web designer should ask you for all of the information I’m about to discuss, and they’ll be super impressed if you come to the project prepared to give it to them.
6 Things Your Web Designer Needs Before Your Next Project
1. A Strong Understanding of Your Business
The more your web designer knows about your business, the better they will understand how to build you the best website to market it.
All websites are not created equal.
If your business is brand new, it’ll have different components than a website for a business that’s been around for years.
Your web designer will need to know the answers to questions like these:
- How long have you been in business?
- Do you have a physical location or are you online-only?
- Who is your ideal client?
- What services and products do you offer?
- Will you be selling anything on your website?
- Do you plan on adding new content regularly?
Simple questions like these will affect how your web designer creates your page layouts, and which pages will be featured on your main menu.
For example, if you do one-on-one client work, your website would need different pages and features than it would if you sell handmade jewelry.
Or, if you market your business with weekly podcast episodes, your designer might make different choices than they would if you publish blog posts once a month.
You may be taking these factors for granted, or they may not occur to you at all.
A good web designer can process all of the information you give them and help you make the most logical choices for your website.
And those choices can make a huge difference in how well your website works as a marketing tool for your business.
2. The Most Important Things You Want People to Do on Your Website
Getting people to take action on your website is a big part of converting your visitors into customers. You need to identify what actions you want people to take so your web designer can make it easy for your visitors to do them.
If you’re not sure what you want your visitors to do on your site, that’s okay. It’s not always that obvious when you’re just starting out
Here are some examples of important actions your website visitors can take:
- Find out about your business in general
- Sign up for your email list
- Book a free consultation
- Browse your services and pricing
- Pay for your services
- Buy your products
- Read your blog
- Watch your videos
- Enroll in your course
- Get answers to frequently asked questions
- Contact you directly
Pick three of the most important actions you want visitors to take. Then your web designer will be able to make better design choices for your website. You’ll want to draw attention to those items so your visitors are more likely to take action.
On the flip side, you don’t want to draw attention to something on your website that isn’t ready yet.
For example, if you want to add a Resources page with affiliate links, but you aren’t a member of any affiliate programs and you don’t have anything to recommend, I’d tell you not to include a Resources page in your main menu. Why draw attention to something if there is no pay off when your visitors get there?
3. A Signed Contract and Deposit
Most web designers won’t even start the development phase of a project until your deposit clears, so be prepared to pay something up front.
Just like you, a web designer is a small business owner who gets paid to provide services. If you’re a service provider, you can appreciate the importance of securing payment and protecting yourself from unforeseen issues like clients who ghost you halfway through the project.
4. Your Website Content
Gathering content is the first phase of any design project, and it’s the part of the project where the client has the most homework and responsibility. The more you can prepare in the beginning, the more smoothly your project will run.
Giving your website content to your web designer as soon as possible is crucial. Missing content can delay your whole project. If you don’t have anything to give your designer, they can’t fully design your website.
Here are some standard content items your web designer will need from you:
- Visual branding elements (logo, colors, fonts, etc.)
- Graphics, like a homepage banner
- Photos (preferably of you, but stock photos can also be considered)
- Your business’s contact info
- A list of your services/products
- Your social media links
- Account info for your web hosting & email service provider
Most web designers can work with you to gather a lot of this content. When I work with my clients [insert link], I offer services for branding design and email set-up. It takes the pressure off of my clients to gather all of that info on their own.
If your web designer doesn’t offer additional services, they should have a network of graphic designers and photographers that they can refer you to.
5. Your Website Copy
Submitting copy to your web designer is just as important as giving them your other content. Most web designers are not copywriters, so it’s not technically their job to fill in your headlines, product descriptions or even the snappy words you use on your “Learn More” buttons.
Of course, your web designer isn’t going to delay your project so you can give them an alternative to the “Sign up for my newsletter” prompt, but they’ll secretly love it if you did.
The copy you really need to focus on is what goes on your homepage, your about page and your email opt-in offer. That’s where you’ll be marketing your business to your website visitors so you can warm them up new leads.
Your web designer uses your website copy to create layouts that take your visitors through a journey on your website that should lead to taking action. So get that copy written and ready to deliver.
6. Your Email Opt-In
Your email opt-in offer is the main thing that transforms your website from a static info site into a marketing tool that works 24/7.
Once you’ve created your email opt-in offer, your web designer can set up the tech to connect your website to your email service provider (like Mailchimp or ConvertKit*). Then you’re ready to start building your email list from the moment your website goes live.
It’s possible to launch your website without an email opt-in offer, but why would you? That’s just going to delay any opportunity you have to generate warm leads and convert your visitors into potential customers.
Working with a web designer isn’t just about paying someone to set up your website for you. It’s an investment in your business and your ability to create a strategic marketing tool. If you’re a new entrepreneur, your web designer can also become a valuable resource for information and guidance.
*This post contains affiliate links and I may receive a commission from your purchase.