All too often, we know what we want, but find it difficult to describe. This is even more so the case when we are dealing with an area of technology we aren’t familiar with. When it comes to finding a new web designer, it really helps to know what information they need from you. The creation of a new website, or redesign of a fading one, relies on great communication between the customer and the designer.
It is easy enough to know that you need a new website, but can you break this down into the key elements to explain adequately what those needs look like?
A web designer can help by asking the right questions.
Any designer worth their salt knows that getting a very clear idea from the beginning of your vision for your business website is key. So much time and money can be saved through a decent dialogue at the beginning.
Top 10 things your designer should want to know.
1 Tell me about your business
Any self-employed person or small business owner will tell you that their business is very personal. As a small business owner myself, you are very aware that your heart and soul can be tied up in your business, never mind your money, so it really matters that your web designer grasps the vision you have in your mind.
I like to find out how the business came into being, whether it is a family-run business or a brave leap of faith into self-employment. How many staff do you have? What services do you provide, or which products do you sell? What are you specifically proud of? What makes your business different?
2. Who are your customers?
What demographic are we aiming at? Are you happy with the customers you currently have but want more of them? Are you hoping to expand your customer base and need your new website to entice these new people through the door.
How can this be done?
A redesign will certainly change the image of your site, but you can also use keywords, social media marketing and blogging to reach your new market. We will come to that later!
3. Do you already have a website and if so, what was wrong with it? What is actually right with it?
If you already have a website, but it is past its best, it really helps if you can express what you feel is wrong with it.
Does it look dated? We can certainly improve the image of your site. Take a look at some award-winning websites and let me know what you like about them.
Is it too slow to load? This can really have a negative effect on your sales. We now live in a world of almost instant gratification. Tv and films around the clock and food deliveries via apps. People aren’t prepared to wait and certainly don’t want to wait for a site to grind into action. We can certainly improve the speed of your new site.
Does your current site only look really great on a PC and lacks responsive design to look just as good on mobile phones? According to Statista Research Department, ” In 2015, 52.7 per cent of the global mobile phone population accessed the internet from their mobile phone. This figure was expected to grow to 61.2 per cent in 2018.”
If your website isn’t fully responsive, it won’t perform well on phones and tablets, you could be losing almost two-thirds of your market. Check out my blog about this here: ” Why you need responsive web design.”
If you are starting out in a new business, you will have a good idea of the image you want to portray to your customers, but how can you convey that to me?
I find it very helpful to ask my customers to find me examples of website designs they like and ones they dislike. We aren’t going to copy these, but it helps to narrow down the key elements and gives us a starting point regarding fonts, colours and images.
4. What images and copy would you like to use?
The copy is just a fancy word for text! Do you already have all the copy prepared? Do you have access to a selection of good quality images in Jpeg format to add to your website? If so, these need to be shared with your designer, who can decide how best to add them to your site, but if not, I am able to write all the copy for you and source appropriate pictures. We can even create a mixture of the two!
The “voice” you use in creating your website is also very important! Different businesses call for a different “voice”. I love to write and can take care of this for you.
5. Do you want a brochure site or an e-commerce site?
Websites serve many different purposes. Some are purely informative, as in the case of a brochure website. They offer such things as information about the business, opening times, a gallery of images maybe, some testimonials and contact details. This can be a great option for a large number of businesses and the price for this basic website can be found in my pricing packages here
Sometimes a customer would like to sell their products directly through their website. This situation calls for an e-commerce website. These sites are more detailed and often can require a longer timescale, due to the number of products that need to be categorised, listed, priced and allocated appropriate images.
All my e-commerce websites are completely secure with SSL certificates to protect the customer and allow ease of payment through such platforms at Paypal or Stripe.
6. Social Media?
Like it or loathe it, social media is a huge part of today’s world, especially within business.
Having links to your social media platforms creates a great way to market your business. According to Hootsuite, 90% of brands use social media to increase brand awareness. Your website design can be linked to all your social media accounts and can also have a sharing option to enable browsers to share your site with others.
7. Do you want to add a blog?
Blogging is a fantastic way to keep your name out there! Regular blogs keep your website current and while it maintains contact with your regular followers, it also creates new leads for new customers to find you. It is a wonderful way to share your expertise, developing a level of trust in your abilities and subject knowledge.
As I discuss in my own blog post about this ” Why Blog?”, blogging can form an important element in improving your SEO ( Search Engine Optimisation). Careful use of keywords and research into what customers have been searching for and then discussing these topics can really help increase your ranking on search engines such as Google.
In addition, blogging allows you the opportunity to reach out to your customers and share a bit of your character and interests. It’s a great way to connect more personally.
Would you like to add a blog? I can set one up for you, and if you require it, I can also write regular blogs for you as part of a contracted agreement.
8. Testimonials ?
Testimonials and reviews can be added to the home page of your website. Reviews from satisfied customers provide reassurance to future customers that you are reputable and trudtworthy.
According to Wirebuzz.com, Testimonials :
1) Build Trust & Credibility With Social Proof
2) Persuade the Mind with Emotion
3) Nothing Captures Attention Like a Good Story
Reviews can be from social media accounts , Yell, Bing, or Google reviews. It is helpful to keep these recent so regular polite requests for customer feedback are always a good idea.
9. Contact Page?
Your contact page and contact details need to be easily found and even easier to use. No-one wants to be hunting for the phone number over several pages.
We can add “call to action” to enable customers to contact you at the click of a button. A contact form is also very helpful in providing an easy way to email your business to ask for more information. This also provides you with contact details of prospective clients.
10. What I need from you!
At this point, I would have a good idea of the type of website you have in mind. I would make a start on a home page for you. This allows you to see what I have interpreted from the information, I have been given. It allows us to discuss and fine-tune the direction the website is taking.
I would need any images, copy, contact and social media details and background information about your business.
Once the home page is complete and the customer is happy, I can then complete the website to the agreed deadline.
So there you have it! 10 things I need from my customers. I hope it has helped anyone considering a new website or a renewed website. I also hope it might help my customers to narrow down their ideas and come to their web designer with a more succinct idea of their requirements.
The very best part of web design, is the variety of work. A site for a salon is so different from one for a local football club. I relish the challenge!
Take a look at some of my recent work in my portfolio.
I am ready to get to work for you so get in touch!