So you’re planning on launching a new website. Great! Before you hire a designer and get started, there are a few things to take care of before hand. These are things that will allow you to build a solid foundation, which will make working with your designer that much easier. And when you’re designer has all the pieces they need, they can do a better job effectively designing a website for you that will get results. Here’s a look at a few things you’ll want to have done before investing in a new website.
Watch our Instagram Live on the topic, or scroll down to read our tips.
Determine Your Why
Before you can even think about building a website, you need to know why you need one in the first place. Now’s the time to dive deep into your business and gain a better understanding of how your website will fit into the big picture.
First things first, get crystal clear on who your audience is and what you offer them. Once you have that nailed down you can move onto understanding what your website needs to do for you.
Think about why you need a website. Is it to sell products? Establish authority? Get business via Google? These are the things you need to think about. Then go a step further – what does your site need to do in order to help you achieve these goals? How are you going to ensure that these goals are met?
Decide on a Platform
There are a ton of website platforms out there. From WordPress to Squarespace to Shopify and everything in between. Not every platform is going to be the perfect match for you. And it’s okay if you don’t know what platform you want to be on. Your designer/developer can help you make the right choice.
However, what is important is thinking about what features you’ll need. Do you need just a simple blog? How about an ecommerce solution?
And don’t just think about now. Think about the future as well. Maybe your site won’t have a shop now, but if you’re planning on adding one in the next year, then that’s something to keep in mind.
Also think about your comfort level. Are you capable of maintaining a more complex site? Or do you want something that is super simple to maintain? Will you be updating your site yourself or will you hire someone to take care of that for you?
Think about your answers to those questions and then take a look at the various platforms out there. Which ones best fit your needs? If you’re confused, don’t worry too much about making a decision. You can always consult with a developer who can tell you which platform will be the best fit!
Secure Your Name
If you don’t already have a business name, now’s the time to get one. A name is a key part of your business and your designer cannot do much if you haven’t decided on one!
But beyond your business’ name, go ahead and secure your URL as well as any social media handles. Having these in your possession as early as possible will prevent any headaches in the long run.
And while you need to have your domain secured before investing in a website, you don’t necessarily have to have purchased hosting. It’ll help make things speedy if you do, but if you don’t, it’s not an issue. Your designer or developer can guide you along the way to a host that works best for your website goals, as well as one that you’ll be happy with.
Gather Your Content
A website is only as good as the content that is loaded on it, which is why it’s incredibly important for you to start getting your content together before you invest in a website. All the content doesn’t necessarily need to be complete before your hire a designer, but you should be making progress and have some major decisions made.
For example, if you’re planning on hiring a photographer for new headshots or a copywriter to write your sales page, you need to plan ahead for this. Working with these professionals takes time and your web designer will need this content sooner rather than later. So it’s important to think ahead and get the ball rolling on those tasks before you get started on your website.
When it comes to your site’s content, it’s also important to give what pages you’ll need some thought. How many services do you have? Do they all need a separate page? What about landing pages? Think about each and every page you may need and make note of it.
If you’re not hiring a copywriter, now is the time to start writing your site’s copy. Some designers (like Kelly) require content before they can design a site. Not having your content ready can delay a project (potentially costing you money) so make sure to start working on that ahead of time.
Other Things to Think About
When investing in a website, the more you have planned out, the better. Here are a few things that are helpful to have in place before hiring a designer, but they’re not necessary.
- Plan for ongoing maintenance – will you maintain the site or will you hire out?
- How will you market your site?
- What social platforms will you use and how will they tie into your site?
- What opt-in freebie(s) will you offer and how will it be delivered?
- What email marketing provider will you use?
- How often will you blog? Will you even blog?
Before investing in a website, ultimately it comes down to really thinking things through and having a solid understanding of what your goals are and how your website will help you achieve those goals. While you may be so excited to hire a designer, it’s important to get these things squared away before hand. Otherwise you’ll be wasting your time as well as your designer’s. Plus, having everything figured out before will allow your designer and developer to best assist you with creating a website that will really work for you.
If you need more help preparing to launch your website, we’ve created a website launch guide. It walks you through all the steps, from planning to finally launching!