Step 1: Design your strategy and how you would like everything to come together (timing/progression of your processes)
Before you design your website, you should have a clear marketing plan in mind and know what you want the main function of your website to be. Do you want to attract new clients? Do you want to save time on customer support? Do you want to spread your brand message?
Use your mission, vision, ideal client profile, services and packages, as a brainstorming tool and consider all the options. We recommend working with someone who can help you develop your copy, messaging, branding voice, tone, and more to make sure you have quality content to match your web design.
You should focus on CONTENT FIRST and at least have drafts before thinking about being ready to build your website. Once you have your content ready, you will have a better idea on your brand message that the designer can convey and transform for you online.
As you create your content, consider your overall content strategy and funnel stages as well and relay that to the designer so they can optimize the functionality for your ease of use.
Get registered with a contact management system. If you don’t currently use one, I would recommend Aweber. It’s important to offer your visitors the opportunity to subscribe to your blog, get a free report, or anything they would find of value. In turn, you get to build your list and have their name and email so you can stay in contact with them to send out email updates, announcements, blog posts, event promotions and more. A virtual assistant can help you with this if you don’t want to dabble with it. Many web developers will do it as an add-on service.
At this point you should decide whether you want to update and maintain the site yourself or outsource this task. Many web designers and developers offer packages that are all inclusive to help you streamline the process and provide you an opportunity to focus on your passion instead of the technicalities that go with creating and maintaining a beautiful and functional website.
2. Ability to get visual
Now that you have a clear understanding of your content and messaging, it’s time to create your visual branding. Some web designers may include logos, banners, or other branding elements in their services, alternatively you can connect with a graphic designer and have your main branding elements created. It will be VERY helpful to the website designer and developer to build from that.
We recommend having at minimum a logo created to give your designer an idea of exactly what you envisage. Also, share at least 3 examples of images you like and competitors’ sites as well as sites you would like to use as inspiration for your site.
Once you have your marketing plan in place with a clear idea of how you want your site to function and feel, contact a web designer for an initial consultation. Our process is to learn from you first hand and gain a perspective on your vision and goals and then prepare a custom quote specific to your project. If you accept the website quote, you will most likely receive a contract/agreement and a questionnaire to complete that will allow you another opportunity to share in more detail about your needs and technicalities, such as links, login information, and more. Be sure to share everything the designer may need to successfully create your site.
3. Dress rehearsal and opportunity to make an impression on your ideal client
The web designer will, most likely, do a mock-up version of the site and/or present you with an inspiration board. Once the function and feel of your new website is understood and agreed, you will need to finalize your content, headlines, and images and hand it over to the designer.
Unbound Website Creation’s process is then to build the bones of the site and install key elements. Afterwards, we will provide an opportunity for the client to preview the site. Using the client’s suggestions, we will customize and integrate all of the elements necessary to have a fully functioning and beautiful site.
Here is a checklist of items your web designer will need to stay on track to completing your project on time:
- Hosting login information (e.g. Hostgator, Bluehost)
- Domain name login information (if different from hosting)
- Social media links/logins for smooth integration with your website
- Contact management system and preferred list to integrate with your site (e.g. Aweber)
- Email and contact information (address, phone number, etc..)
- If you have a shopping cart, you will need to gather information about each product: images, price, inventory, description, pictures, weight, shipping information, and possibly more depending on your ideas and goals
- Links to videos you may be using (YouTube link would be fine)
Always keep in mind that a website should focus on the user experience and what the visitor will respond to, rather than your own personal style.
Successful sites will have a good feel to them, as well as good content, a user friendly layout, good functionality, quality standards, and site maps. If you’re designing your own site, make sure everything you have on your site is legal and that your content does not infringe any copyrights.
Rely on a professional web designer to create the optimal website that meets the highest quality standards, blending functionality and beauty.