Guest post by Cheryl Martin from Martlette
Cheryl is a visual communicator and principal graphic designer at Martlette Graphic Design. Cheryl and I often collaborate on website projects, and in this post Cheryl shares some tips on how to set your web designer up for success. Over to you, Cheryl!
So you have a meeting scheduled with your website designer and you’ve got a mountain of ideas in your head ready to offload with enthusiasm! This is great news and there is nothing better for us, than getting to work with inspiring ideas and an energetic client.
Your final website will always be a direct reflection of how well you briefed your website designer from the outset.
Not sure where to start? Well, our checklist of the 5 most important questions to ask yourself will guarantee that your website designer is set up for success!
Question #1: What is the purpose of your website?
This may seem like an obvious question – but we challenge you to think about it with a deeper understanding of your expectations and business goals. You may want to increase sales or direct more phone call enquiries to your business. You may need your website to be a ‘google trap’ that captures google search queries for your industry. Or perhaps you simply need an online catalogue of your work for visitors to browse.
Whatever the reason for you needing a website, be clear from the start what your number one purpose is. When you don’t clarify your purpose, that lack of clarity comes across to your website visitors. Getting this information right, will help your designer plan for a design that ensures your website works at its full potential.
Question #2: Who are you targeting?
The style of your website design will be largely dependent on who your target audience is. Everything from the colour palette, typeface choice, layout of imagery and content – will all be determined by who is being targeted as your ideal website visitor.
Perhaps you are targeting people aged between 20-30 years who are known to enjoy online experiences that involve video interactivity. This is a great opportunity to talk with your website designer about incorporating video content to engage your target audience. In other words, knowing who your primary visitors are going to be, will help you and your designer determine the type of content you to include on your website.
Question #3: What does your site map look like?
Getting an idea of how you would like your website structured will give your website designer a great head start. As you plan, trying putting yourself in the shoes of your website visitor. Map out all of the pages you would like to include, for example a home page, about us page, services pages and a contact page. You may also like to include a latest new page, where you can post fresh content on your website on a regular basis, which will not only improve the credibility of your website in the eyes of your visitor, but will also improve the Google visibility of your website.
Question #4: Do you have your content ready to go?
Once you have mapped out your website plan, you will have a clear idea of what you would like written on each page and what images would be relevant to each page. Your website designer will be able to use your written content as an accurate guide to the best possible layout and size of each page. Be mindful to select images that represent the topic of each page and if possible, try to use images of high resolution that have ideally been taken by you or a professional photographer of your products and services. Using stock photography is tempting, but you can risk not appearing ‘authentic’ in the eyes of your audience.
Also consider what other elements you would like included in your website design, like social media icons, a map showing your business location and most importantly, your business logo.
A package of content files that include your written content, brand/logo files, images and social media channels will serve as a great source of information for your website designer.
Question #5: What are your ‘likes’ and ‘dislikes’?
Take some time to browse the internet, looking at website designs that really appeal to you and that have been designed to appeal to your target audience. Take notice of what you like and what you do not like about each website and communicate this to your website designer. Perhaps you have a menu layout that you like on one website and an image display style that you like from another. You might find a style that you like or a website that has specific elements or functionality that may benefit your website too.
The creative brief is King!
By simply asking yourself the questions listed above, you will be able to save yourself a great deal of time, money and frustration in trying communicate to your website designer and helping them to achieve a website that works hard for you and your business.
Your website is often the first impression your customers have of your business and for that reason, it is important to put your efforts into answering these questions before your first website design meeting. Every piece of information you provide will help form the creative brief for your website and will assist your website designer to see the bigger picture.