Preparing To Hire A Web Design Company
Whether it is a newer updated site or your business’s very first website the process of having a website designed and developed is just that, a process. Many horror stories exist from the client’s end of it taking a long time, not being exactly what they wanted, and much more. And from the design world perspective, there are groans and moans about finicky clients that take to long to get the information to them and nit-pick against the designer’s better judgment. Just as in most instances in life there lies a middle ground and communication is the key to the whole process.
Before hiring someone to build your website it is important that you understand that there needs to be solid dialogue and expression of vision. Take a look at prospective web designers’ portfolios, their own websites, and just as importantly talk to them to make sure you can have a positive, fruitful conversation. There are so many ranges of personality types within designers as well as distinctive artistic styles and styles of communication. How can a designer capture your brand’s vision if they cannot articulate their own thoughts? Or better yet, if you cannot express your expectations? To be able to share your vision, you must have a solid idea on your own. The more put together your vision is the better it can be translated throughout any medium.
1. Set Your Web Design Goals.
Why is this number one? Because if you do not have solid goals then you are moving blindly through a maze. Goals and business equal success, and your NJ website design is no different. Many businesses will say their web design goal is to have a website. But to what end? What are you seeking the site to add to your success? What problems are you looking for them to solve? Some good examples of goals are: to expand my business nationwide with an E-commerce solution; to create a strong sense of brand community through blogging and education; to build a strong portfolio of my work to show potential clients. See how different these answers can be. These goals will really dictate what direction the site will take as well as what elements are crucial to the design process. Like anything, the clearer an idea you have for your site, the better a designer can execute the strategy.
2. Your Websites Pages.
Before you find a designer it will do you well to know how many pages you want, and what you want on these pages. There are the traditional pages; about, services/products, contact, and blog. But think outside the box. The more pages, the more opportunities to add keywords and get a better search rank. How about a Frequently Asked Questions page, a Directions page, and a Bio page. Think about all of the elements that set you apart from what you want to add to the site.
3. Your Logo
If you already are branded in this way and are happy, perfect. Just make sure you have the logo design available as a jpg, transparent png, eps, SVG or whatever style type may be needed. If your designer is going to be doing graphic design for the site be sure to have a vectored logo file on hand, this would be the eps, SVG, or .ai file.
If you do not have a logo, or you are not happy with it, or it is a poor quality raster file then you can ask your designer if they do logo design, if they know someone, or peruse online as there are many options. Again, have a solid idea in mind, yet be open to the advice of professionals.
4. Websites Content
The written content of your site speaks volumes about your brand. It is the tone, the mood, and the approachability factor of your brand. Visit other websites, see how they break up the pages. What do you think is valuable to the visitor? One of the biggest hold-ups in the web design process is a client that is looking to hire a designer and does not have their content worked out. Be sure to figure it out by page, and this will help to decide what pages you want. If you do not want to write the content yourself, ask your designer if they also write content for an additional fee. If not there are plenty of resources online to find professional content writers. Be sure to have the content all ready to go. It is not a designer’s job to proofread your content, and having grammatical errors on your website is bad form.
5. Images For The Site
Images and graphic design are so crucial for web design. Without images, the site falls flat and is not engaging to the eye. If you are a visually based business; say a restaurant or a craft maker of some kind, invest in a commercial photoshoot before you hire a web designer. Be sure to have any branding images you want to use organized and ready to send. Low-quality images taken on a point and shoot or cell phone will not stand up well on a website. There is only a certain amount of salvaging a pro graphic designer can do.
6. Domain Name
If you already have a domain name and hosting, congrats, you are well on your way. It always surprises me when someone is seeking a web designer before they have even locked down a domain name. Trying to find an available domain name that works for your business can be time-consuming, depending on your industry and business name. When you are looking for a domain name, for SEO reasons, try to pick one that has the keyword of your industry, or just go with a branded domain. If you are a construction company, but the word construction in it, maybe even the state you’re in. These little things can really help you in the long run. There are so many companies you can register domains through, we typically buy them through our host for easier setup, but we also use Namecheap. There are also many that you can purchase premium names through. While expensive, these can be great if you cannot find what you want, and if you want to buy a domain that is already established and already gets traffic to it.
7. Web Hosting
If you are going to be using Squarespace or Shopify as your web platform, there is no need to purchase web hosting. But if you are having your site built on WordPress or looking into a custom-built site, then you will need to find a good, reliable host. There are so many options out there right now. And what you choose really depends somewhat on what your needs are. If you are a start-up site or a smaller mom and pop then a managed hosting solution through Siteground or WPX will do you great. But if you are a large site, or better yet a site that is legitimately expecting massive traffic then look into a VPN or a dedicated server as your hosting solution. Some web design firms offer hosting through them. These are hosting resellers, and generally, this winds up being very overpriced. Most designers have hosts they recommend, so if you do not want to do the research then talk to them. But if you want to be educated and in control then do some research and read reviews. It is always better to own your own hosting rather than being at the mercy of a design company.
Here are a few other things to streamline the process. For example, I always ask web design clients to organize their info before they email it to me. In the subject line, put the name of the page the info is for. Attach the images to be used, and put the content in the body. Be prepared to send all the login info they may need. It’s pretty common sense here, but sometimes people don’t think of it like that. If you are paying your designer hourly, organizing your content can literally save you a few hundred dollars.
I hope this helps you to figure out the best way to organize yourself for one of the most important elements of your business.