Websites. Could there be a more complex, detail-oriented side of the design industry? We’ve been doing website design for a while now, and we’ve come up with three things that you NEED for a website. I should caveat this, too — these are the things you need to have in place before you hire a designer! You NEED these in order to have a website, but you should also have them squirreled away before you sink money into hiring someone. Why? Websites have a lot of moving parts. From the design perspective, we can’t lay out a page if we don’t know how many images you want to include, or how much text you plan to have. Additionally, we won’t know what design elements to include if you don’t have a brand, or at least a brand guide.
If you have these three things before you commission a custom website, you’re going to be in much better shape!
Your logo is the first visual representation of your brand that people will see & connect with. Your website will be one of the best & easiest ways for people to find you. How do you get them to remember you, and continue to come back? You could have a really badass product, but will that be enough to build trust & credibility? You need a brand! It’s more than a logo — it’s across the board: your logo, your colors, your additional elements, how you talk about your business, how you present your business, and so on. Your brand has a personality, so your website needs a personality, too — after all, it is partially based on your brand.
Having a brand in place will ensure that your website also looks amazeballs. It means that your brand and your website will look cohesive — someone should be able to look at your business cards, your Facebook page, and your website all side by side and see an obvious connection. What you don’t want to do is order template business cards from a random printer, use a product image for your Facebook cover, and have absolutely no logo or connection on your website. I ALWAYS recommend having a brand in place ahead of any website design — it’s much easier to design a brand, and then base a website off of it than it is for a website to be designed, and then attempt to fit the brand into the aesthetic of the website.
Verbiage, content, words, information! You need this for your website…otherwise, what’s the point?! We do provide content authoring for websites. But, let’s face it — there are certain things that you are much better suited to talk about. You’re the subject matter expert in what you do, and what you offer. That means, you’re the best one to talk about it!
Our best recommendation is to list the pages you’ll want on your website — “pages” are the links people click up in the menu — Home, About, Contact, and so on. Use a different text file for each of those and prepare 1-2 paragraphs for what you’ll want people to read when they land on your website, and click through your pages. For us, if you’re providing *all* of your own content, we’ll happily edit & suggest changes.
We work with so many creatives — photographers, authors, interior designers, stylists, hair & makeup artists…the list goes on! Stock imagery is pretty cool, and it provides a great helping hand to pull your website together. However, you’ll need to provide images for your own work! Whether it’s something you made, or a beautiful image you took, it should be your own. It should accurately display your work & your skills, and should represent your business or products.
You’ll also need images of your smiling face, because people love to connect with others when they view a website! I always check the about page, because I like to know who is behind any given company. Connecting with your audience is important. I like getting a feel for the person I’m doing business with!
I highly recommend, prior to beginning a custom website design, that you have a bunch of images to choose from! Whether it’s headshots, pictures of your work or your entire portfolio, or even images of your work areas, you’ll connect to your website so much more if you’re able to see *your* actual photos in it! It’ll also save you the trouble of scrambling to get images taken care of when your website designer requests them from you!