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Whether you’re hiring a website designer or taking the DIY website route, there are a few vital things you absolutely must nail down before getting started. By starting your website without proper preparation, you’re setting yourself (and your website) up for failure.
Trust me, your entire website design process will be infinitely smoother if you just take the time to get clear on 4 simple things first.
You’ll save yourself so much frustration, as well as time, effort, and money. Plus you’ll also be certain that the website you’re creating is actually going to get you the results you want!
So let’s talk about the 4 things that need to be accomplished before you begin building a website:
1. Solidify your branding
One of the most common things I find my website clients are missing when they come to me to build their websites… is branding.
Fortunately for them, I offer a website PLUS branding package if they want to get it all nailed down in one fell swoop!
Branding is essentially the look, feel, and vibe of your business. Think of branding as your business/brand personality.
The very basics that all businesses need in terms of branding include: logo, color palette, fonts, visual style (on-brand photography/graphics), and a voice.
Without a solidified brand, you simply cannot create a website.
Imagine creating a website absent of colors, fonts, words, or images…
Are you picturing a blank white page?
Because that’s essentially what you’d have without first establishing a carefully crafted brand to convey your brand personality to your website visitors.
That, or you’d have a website with a total mish-mash of colors, fonts, and images that make no sense together and leave your visitors confused as to what exactly it is that your business is all about.
2. Gather professional photos
I cannot emphasize this point enough:
The best website design in the world cannot make up for crappy photography.
I don’t care if you have the Pablo Picasso of website design creating your website… if you have ugly, amateur, low quality images – no level of website design skills can make up for that.
Before starting your website, be sure that the photos you intend to use are high-quality, on-brand, and professional.
If you’re not savvy with a camera and don’t have the budget to invest in a photographer to take on-brand shots for your website, consider stock photos.
Stock photos are images (paid and free options available) that you can license for use on your website, when your own images might not make the cut.
Below are a few websites I recommend checking out for stock photos:
I need you to be honest with yourself…
Are your pictures really good enough to represent your business?
Are you proud of them?
Do they convey your brand vibe clearly?
If your answer is yes, then Come on downnnn to the next item on the list!
But if your answer is no, take some time to peruse some stock photo sites. I promise, it’s worth your time!
3. Understand your ideal clients
If your website isn’t connecting with your ideal clients, well that my friend, is a problem!
Before starting your website, it’s so, so important that you truly understand who your ideal client is.
You should know who they are as a person, and also who they are as it relates to your business.
By understanding them as a person, you’ll know how to speak to them and relate to them.
By understanding them as a potential client, you’ll know what problems they have and how you are uniquely suited to help them.
If you’re not confident that you truly understand your ideal clients, start by asking the following questions:
Questions about who your ideal client is as a person
What is their age, gender, career, and marital status?
What’s their current financial situation?
What motivates them, personally and professionally?
What are their friends like?
What hobbies do they have?
Questions about who your ideal client is as it relates to your business
What is their business?
What are their current struggles?
What problems are their current struggles causing?
What type of solution do they need?
What type of solution do they think they need?
How would your business be able to positively affect the life and/or business of your client?
Once you have a thorough understanding of your ideal client, personally and professionally, be sure to keep them front-of-mind as you build your website.
After all, your website should be designed FOR THEM, so it’s essential that you truly understand who they are, what they want, and how you can help them.
4. Determine the goal of your website
You might be thinking “The goal of my website? Isn’t the goal just to have a website for people to read?” While this may be the goal for some businesses, it’s not always the case.
The easiest way to determine your website goal is by asking yourself one simple question:
After someone visits your website, what do you want them to do?
Some possible responses could include:
- Join your email list
- Book a Complimentary Consultation
- Engage with your blog posts
- Sign up for a webinar
- Download your freebie
- Buy a product
Depending on your business and your business goals, your answer will vary.
But it’s still important to make sure you pre-determine what you want your website visitors to do, so then you can create a strategic path through your website to lead them to that end goal.
Your website should have ONE main goal, and knowing what that is ahead of time is the best way to ensure that all aspects of your website are working together toward that one common goal.
One day of preparation will save you tenfold later
I know that it’s so tempting to just dive into a website design project as soon as possible, but taking the time to put a little preparation behind the design will save you SO much time in the long run.
Once you’ve confidently laid the foundation of your website, it’s time to start designing!
- Thinking of hiring someone to build your website for you? Click to read this blog post.
- Planning to DIY your website? Click to download your Website Must-Haves checklist, or drop your info in the box below!