Business success requires you to delegate. You can’t learn everything at once and expect to be the best in every area of business yourself. So, you’ve decided to work with a web designer to develop or revamp your business website. This article shares how to prepare for your first web design meeting to get the most of your time and budget.
Working with a seasoned web designer can offer your business many advantages. These include having someone on the project who understands website functionality and has an eye for making the business website visually appealing. The designer will bring the expertise to the little details someone else might overlook, such as layouts, design elements, and other features that create a website personality. Plus, they’re likely to know more about mobile responsiveness, ADA compliance, and adding interactivity to a site that remains easy to navigate and understand.
Once you’ve hired a web designer, you’ll need to plan your first meeting with the creative. This may be challenging, depending on your level of web know-how. If it’s not an area you know well, communicating your ideas for the business website can be challenging. Yet, you don’t want to waste time and budget on going around in circles, trying to get to the web design that matches your mental picture of what it will look like.
The following tips can help you prepare for your first web design meeting to get the most out of your time one-on-one with the designer:
- Outline your objectives in advance
- Have visuals ready
- Prepare content in advance
- Share brand guidelines
- Get a good idea of your budget, timeline
- Ask how the designer prefers to communicate
Outline Your Objectives in Advance
Some 48% of people cite web design as the number one factor in website credibility. Whether or not you knew this particular statistic before, it’s a safe bet you already wanted your website to look professional and make an impression on your audience. But so does every business that goes online. This can’t be the only thing you tell your website designer you want to accomplish.
Prepare for your first web design meeting by first figuring out how many web pages you need, what features you want, if you need e-commerce functions, and what extra services you might want.
The better you can communicate your expectations and priorities, the more successful your engagement with the web designer is likely to be. It can also help to go over your brand mission and vision. Clearly defining your company for the designer can help inspire their design choices.
Have Visual Aids Ready
Designers are highly visual people. It can save both of you a lot of time and effort if you provide examples of what you do and don’t want. Think about it this way. What does the word “bold” mean to you? It might mean something entirely different to the web designer. But, if you can show them an example of something you see as bold, they will have a better idea of the look you are going for (or trying to avoid).
Not sure what you love or not? Search for “Best Website round-ups” online, and you’ll get to see different takes on web design. Also, you’ll want to look at what your competitors are doing or others in your industry to get inspiration.
Share Brand Guidelines
You shouldn’t expect the web designer to have psychic abilities. You also don’t want to simply trust they will know how to fit your brand aesthetic. If you have an existing brand guideline document, share that at the outset. This can help focus their choices as far as colors, fonts, formatting, and more.
Even if you don’t have a brand style guide, you’ll still want to come to the first design meeting prepared to convey your brand’s voice and aesthetic. Do you want your business to be approachable or posh? Are you looking for something sleek and cutting-edge or more informal and homey? Doing research into your target audience and knowing your buyer personas can also shape your brand identity. Thus, even if you’re an entrepreneur just starting out, share any audience insights you have so far with the designer.
Prepare Content in Advance
It’s a good idea to have content written before getting the web designer involved in the process. You can speed up the process and save money by preparing the website text beforehand. Otherwise, you might partner with a web designer who has a creative writer working with them too. That way, you can get top-notch writing for your site, and you’ll probably get better Search Engine Optimization (SEO) rankings too.
Things will also be expedited if you show up to the meeting with any brand image files or high-resolution photos you want to be used.
Get a Good Idea of Your Budget, Timeline
Along with coming up with your priorities and wish list for your business website look and functionality, determine your budget before the first meeting. Providing an idea of your budget and your desired project timeline can help focus the web designer’s efforts.
You might take web designer Miranda Reese’s advice in Medium to put together a “Good, Better, Best” (GBB) chart. She suggests a “GBB chart is a great visual tool for showing how expectations tie into time and budget, along with the compromises that may have to be made.” It can help you identify your necessities, what you would like to have, and what would be fantastic but is probably out of your budget or timeframe.
Identify How You Prefer To Communicate
You may be someone who loves to talk face-to-face or meet by phone, but the designer might prefer email. Or maybe they have project management software they plan on using. You want to know upfront how you will be communicating with one another.
If you have a preference of how to communicate and how often, set out those expectations now. Also, identify the point of contact for your business (and the design firm if you are working with a company).
The Wonders of Web Design
With these ideas on preparing for your first web design meeting in mind, you are already off to a good start getting the website design you really want. The prep work you do now can help your project be successful. Working with a web designer to launch or upgrade your business website, you can get the best of someone else’s expertise and enthusiasm. See where the partnership takes you!