7 Things You Must Do Before You Hire a Website Designer
Are you thinking about having your first website designed?
Or maybe you're sick of feeling embarrassed every time you share your current website with potential clients?
If you're ready for a new or revamped website and you feel overwhelmed or confused about how to go about the process in a smart way, let me break it down for you.
First of all, there is so much more to creating a truly excellent and effective website than finding a web designer and pressing "go".
Through years of helping my clients build websites that they feel proud to share with the world, I've learned what needs to happen, and in what order, to get the best results.
I'm not here to talk to you about things like SEO, choosing a domain, what goes above the fold or anything else that you are not an expert at (and shouldn't be).
What I am here to share with you are the 7 things that you must do before even starting your website design process or hiring a designer, so you can end up with a website that aligns with your authentic brand and speaks to the hearts of your ideal clients.
Here we go....
1. Dig deep to discover your personal brand
Before you even think about hiring someone to build your website, you need to do some personal branding discovery work.
This means getting clear about your essence: what makes you, YOU. We're not even talking about your business or what you "do" yet. But rather:
How do you share and express your personality, values, energy, opinions, beliefs, quirks and passions with the world?
2. Identify your personal style
This isn't just about the clothes you wear, although that's part of it. Your personal style will be expressed through your website in graphics, logos, fonts, imagery, patterns, photographs, and the general site layout and design.
Tip: Choose three words to represent your personal style. Mine are "edgy", "elegant" and "nature-inspired". Then head over to Pinterest and put together a "Brand Inspiration" board with pictures that reflect the essence of your three words. Once it comes time to start creating the visuals for your website, you can share this board with your designer and they will LOVE you for making their job of bringing your brand to life so much easier.
3. Get clear about what you're selling
This may seem obvious, but I see so many mistakes happen on this step that I can't bear to skip over it. You may say to yourself, I know what I'm selling - I'm selling relationship coaching, marketing consulting, acupuncture, etc..
But here's the deal - those are all methodologies (the WAY you help people) and no one wants to buy a methodology.
Here's a mindset shift worth millions: What your potential clients want to buy is a solution to their problem.
So if you're an acupuncturist who helps women overcome infertility issues and get pregnant, you are NOT selling acupuncture. What you're selling is the hope and possibility of being able to get pregnant.
Instead of going into the intricacies of how your acupuncture skills work, keep your website focused on your ideal client, their pain and heartache of not being able to have a baby and the hope and possibility that you can offer them when they work with you (your solution to their problem).
4. Decide who you are selling to
This is important because your website needs to speak directly to the heart of who you are selling to: your ideal client.
The more focused your ideal client is, the more you will be able to understand their unique motivations for seeking out support and speak to these motivations throughout your website.
How to focus in on your ideal client?
There are two things to consider when choosing your ideal client: 1) what tribe they belong to and, 2) what characteristics those tribe members have.
The "tribe" refers to the group of people your ideal client associates or identifies with, e.g. single women, health coaches, athletes, CEOs, musicians, parents of teens, etc.
"Characteristics" are specific qualities that your tribe members have, such as their values, fears, beliefs, goals and personality.
Once you get as specific as possible with your tribe and their characteristics, your website will be a powerful tool that inspires potential clients to work with you!
5. Uncover your magnetic messaging
Your website's messaging is just as important, and I dare say, even MORE important than how your website looks.
If potential clients don't resonate with your messaging, they won't choose to work with you. Simple as that.
Messaging includes things like your tone of voice, common words and phrases, themes and metaphors that shine through your written copy and come to life through web pages and blog posts.
6. Package your services
What's the point of having a website if your services aren't clearly outlined so potential clients can easily take the next step to work with you?
After all, you don't just want your website to be a pretty place where potential clients come for inspiration - you want them to take action, right?
So before you even start to develop your website, you need to outline your services into a clear program that inspires potential clients to work with you.
This means considering the steps in the process you take your clients through, the specific outcomes they receive when they work with you, and what's included in the program (e.g. how many coaching sessions, email access, VIP Day, etc).
7. Write your website copy
People tell me all the time that they struggle with what to write on their websites, and yes, writing can be difficult if you don't know your brand, what you're selling or who you're selling it to.
But once you're clear on steps #1 - #6 above, your website copy will flow so much easier!
To start, you just need your basic pages: home page, about page and work with me page. Your blog and any additional pages can come in phase 2.
It's important that you write your website copy before you start to have your website designed because your site's layout will be designed around your website copy.
Now it's time to hire your designer!
First, let's make sure we're on the same page when it comes to design. There are two types of designers: graphic designers and website designers.
Graphic designers create the visual branding for your business: color palette, logo, fonts, imagery, patterns, backgrounds, etc.
Web designers put your visual brand together into a beautiful and strategically laid out website.
If you can find one person who is an expert at both of these roles, that's ideal and what I recommend. That way, you don't have to go back and forth communicating (and possibly miscommunicating) with multiple people involved.
Whoever you choose will LOVE you for doing the prep work, in steps #1-#7 above, because it will make their job of bringing your website to life so much easier and more successful.
To find your graphic and web designer, you could...
- ask colleagues whose websites you admire for recommendations
- post a job listing on CloudPeeps, and then interview promising applicants
- Or make it super easy... work with me and my team!
Remember, there is so much more to creating a website that you feel proud to share, and most importantly, attracts new clients into your business, than finding a designer and pressing "go". If you want a website that is not only beautiful, but gets results, take action on these 7 steps first!
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