5 things to do before you look for a web designer

After designing websites for over 12 years you start to see a pattern from most clients. The are several things that keep coming up as either road blocks or a serious issue in the development of a website. It does not matter if its a redesign or a site from the ground up, there are things that you need to do as a client that will help you not only get the website you want, but to protect yourself so that you don’t get burned. Here are some tips that will help you have a smooth process no matter who you work with on your web project.

Own your name!

Your www.whatever.com is your “domain name”. If you don’t have one, then good luck finding one! If you do have a name, make sure you hunt down the login information to see who “owns” it. To own it, you need to have bought it through your own business. If you had another web person buy it for you, it my be owned by them and not you. You can go to a site like www.whois.sc to see who owns your domain name. If you don’t know or need help, email me and I can help you track it down. It can be a long process, but its an intricate step. This will also protect you from getting burned in the long run by not being held hostage by a programmer. You can just login to your domain provider and change the server settings and move on to a better web designer like this awesome company called J 12 Designs located in…, ok you get it 🙂

Do your homework

Many people don’t realize the amount the work that has to be done before you even open your web browser to look for a web designer. You need to know what you want to do. Who are you? What do you want to accomplish? Who do you want to be? What is your goal? If you don’t know these questions, figure it out. Don’t let the web person tell you how to run your business. You will know more about bacon wrapped fried kool-aid pops more than anyone else (if you are in the selling those things), so don’t rely on your web team to know your story or your process. Let us tell your story, not make it up.

Write your content!

Ok…don’t write your content, type it! Use Word, Notepad, anything that is in a copy-and-paste format. If you have a pretty good designer like myself, that person will be more than likely horrible at spelling. Don’t hand over printed documents and scribbled notes on a 50 page document that has every page of the website. Save some trees people! Just sit down and write out what we call a sitemap. A sitemap is just an outline of each page of the site. That’s it, its nothing complicated (homepage, about us, services, gallery, contact, etc.). This will let us know how big your site is and we can give an accurate estimate on how much it will cost. You can have a Word document for each page of the site.

Get some awesome pics

Do you know why you like the Lexus website, or the Gucci, Nike websites? You like them because they have beautiful photography. That beautiful imagery is complimented with a simple navigation, but you probably did not even notice that because you love what you are looking at. You too can a have beautiful website but its not gonna come from your kid taking pics on their iPhone. Hire a photographer to get some great shots of your office, your product, your mug shot, anything! If you hand your designer a turd, you will get a well polished turd. Sometimes I can turn turds into ice cream, but it does not happen often. The better pics you have, the better your site will be.

Deadlines kill projects

This last point is something to consider before you kill the site before it even starts. Sometimes I’m by myself on this one so let me explain. You may not know this, but your website is never done. If your website is done, then you are done and you should move on to something else in life. Your website is never done. Stop making up deadlines that do not mean anything to anyone but yourself. Instead, lets focus on reaching goals on a timeline. There are too many factors that can kill a deadline. Deadlines are seldom met anyway. If I give you a design and met your “deadline”, does that mean I’m done? You might not like the design and I will have to make some changes. My point is to not let your project get rushed just to meet a meaningless date. Your site will forever be work in progress. Set up your site in phases. Phase 1, 2 and 3. If you try to launch you site when you are 100% happy with it, a year would go by and you still would not have launched. By that time the iPhone 12 will be out.