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Things To Think About Before Hiring a Web Designer

“Welcome to Bob’s Automobile Emporium. May I help you, sir?”
“Yes, I’m looking for a car.”
“What sort of car, sir?”
“Erm…one with wheels?”
“Most come with wheels, sir. I need to know what you’re looking for to find the best car for you.”
“Look, just do your job and get me a car!”
“But…”
“Fine! I’ll take my business elsewhere!”

It may sound silly but it’s the same as asking a web designer to ‘just make me a website’.

What I hope you’ll take away from this blog post is that the more specific you can be about your requirements, the easier it is for the web designer to produce a website you will be happy with. So what kind of things do you need to think about to tell your web designer?

What is the purpose of the website?

What is the main reason you want the website? For example, you may want to sell products/services, attract new clients, inform people about your organisation, publicise a bricks-and-mortar business, advertise an event etc.

In web design terms, this is related to a ‘call to action’, meaning the main action you wish your website’s visitors to perform. It is important for a web designer to know this so they can ensure that the design and functionality leads the visitor to perform an action. For example, you may have seen websites with a big green ‘Download Now’ button.

What is the target audience of the website?

Who are you mainly aiming the website at?  This is most likely going to be the same target audience as your business.  For example, think about their age, gender, interests  etc.  This is important so that a web designer can aim the design of the website appeals to your average customer.  You obviously don’t want a website for a heavy metal band to be in nice pastel colours.

What features does the website need?

What does your website need to be able to do?  Do you need people to be able to buy things directly from the website?  Do you need visitors to be able to register as users?  Do you need to be able to edit the content yourself?  Do you need a contact form, blog, newsletter etc.?  Basically, what functionality do you need from the website?  This question is important, as it is what will make the most impact to the time a web designer will have to spend on it and thus the cost.

Do you have any existing marketing material you want the website to match?

This one is fairly self-explanatory – do you have any leaflets, posters, business cards, letterheads etc. that you want your website to tie-in with?  If so, a copy of these things would be a very useful  resource for a web designer to have.

The next few questions are about the design of the website and it’s probably these wishy-washy questions that are more difficult to answer.

If you have an existing website, what do/don’t you like about it?

Presumably, if you have an existing website but you want a new one, there’s something wrong with the old one.  So what is it?  Does it look outdated, ugly or just plain dull?   Does it need added functionality?  Maybe there are some things you like about it though.  You may like the colours or the layout or whatever.

What do you like or not like about your competitors’ websites?

We all know that they’re rubbish but is their website?  There may be some things that they do well that you may want to take cues from.  I’m sure there are also things that you feel that you could improve upon to make you look better than them.  Obviously you don’t want to blatantly copy them, but it can give you more of an idea.

What do you like?

This sounds like a very open-ended question but it’s an important one.  What colours or pictures do you like?  Try taking a few websites that you think are good and attempt to work out what you like about them.  Then do the same with websites you don’t like and work out what you dislike about them.  Saying what you don’t like how to narrow it down so your web designer doesn’t make the website green if you’re afraid of trees.  If you can’t work out why you do or don’t like them, just giving a list to your web designer will give them something good to work with.

Conclusion

Saying ‘oh, I’ll know it when I see it’ is not very helpful and will waste everyone a lot of time and the client a lot of money.  We’re not psychic and need to be told all this stuff.  If you answer all the questions listed above, or even just a few, you will give a web designer plenty of information to make a website that you will love.

Until next week, be amazing.  It shouldn’t be too difficult for a devilishly good-looking person such as yourself.  Pip pip!

20th January 2015

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