Why Your Website Designer Can’t Seem to Get it RightJan 19, 2024
I see you, settled into your workspace, 50 tabs open on your browser full of website inspiration that you absolutely love and want to emulate on your own site.
But instead of realizing the inspiration, you’re stuck in a bad back-and-forth with your designer that’s starting to feel neverending. They keep sending pages that just aren’t what you want, and your initial spark of excitement for this project is starting to fade. The needle isn’t moving, and you aren’t getting any closer to the website of your dreams.
Staring at the screen, your cursor blinking, ready to type in yet another empty email, you start to feel frustration. Hours turn into days, and days into nights, as you draft detailed feedback, hoping to steer the next version closer to your vision.
But with each attempt, the goal seems to slip further away. The joy of creating something unique is overshadowed by a process that feels more draining than exhilarating.
You may want to blame it on your designer, but you researched their portfolio before hiring them and you know they produce quality work, so where’s the disconnect?
The truth is, it’s probably not their fault.
I know that might be hard to hear, but I see so many entrepreneurs in a rut with their website designers simply because they haven’t provided them with the resources they need to get it right.
Often this is accompanied by a misunderstanding of the designer’s role and an expectation for them to do the work of a brand strategist, which they are not.
For your website designer to get it right, they need a lot more than examples of other people’s website’s you love. Because while you might find inspiration in examples, you want your website to be uniquely YOU. The problem is, you haven’t clarified what “uniquely YOU” looks like, feels like or sounds like and if you’re not clear about those things, your designer will never be able to create something you love, no matter how good they are at design.
So how do you get clear?
This is where a brand strategist comes in!
A brand strategist helps you uncover your brand’s personality … the story you want to tell … the emotional impact you want to have on your audience … how you want to be remembered … all in a strategic way that’s true to you. Then, they help guide your visuals, messaging and offers to align with that essence in a way that stands out and clearly communicates your value to potential clients.
The role of a website designer is to implement what you tell them you want. In most cases, they are not strategists, guides, coaches or mentors. Their job is not to help you figure out who you are, what you stand for or what you want. You are responsible for knowing that information and providing it in a clear format so they can do their job well.
Both brand strategists and website designers play a vital role, but without a clear strategy, the process can turn into a game of pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey. So let’s help your designer hit the mark.
How to Help Your Designer Get it Right
Now that we understand why it can be so hard to align your vision with your designer’s execution, let's pivot to how you can turn this around.
The key is equipping your designer with the right resources. Let's explore these resources in detail and understand how each element plays a pivotal role in shaping your website's final look and feel.
Archetypes are a tool that allow a brand to embody a character that resonates with its audience on a profound, often subconscious level. When you infuse the power of archetypes into your website, you create instant familiarity and emotional connection with your audience. Although they may not realize it, they trust you more because they understand who you are and what you stand for.
This emotional connection and trust is what inspires them to take ACTION. By adopting a specific archetype, your brand can differentiate itself in a crowded market, foster client loyalty, and build a lasting emotional connection with your audience.
There are 12 Brand Archetypes, and if you have yet to discover yours, you can take my free quiz here. Be sure to share your result page with your designer!
Available as a template for Impact Tribe members to fill with their details, the Brand Matrix pulls together the foundational facets of your brand into one easy to access place – everything from your values and mission to your personality, position in the market and more.
Once your Brand Matrix is complete and you have an in-depth understanding of your brand’s heart and soul, the next step is to get your visual brand assets designed by a graphic designer (you will provide these assets to your website designer later). Sometimes your graphic designer will be the same person as your website designer and sometimes they will be different people.
Your graphic designer will create your brand assets based on your archetype and the information provided in your Brand Matrix. Presenting them with your Brand Matrix is crucial to their success in designing a visual brand identity you love.
When they are done, you should receive a visual identity package that includes things like your logo, color palette, font pairings, imagery style, background patterns, elements and any other relevant items needed to express your brand clearly and authentically.
Alternatively, a more affordable option at this step is to use our customizable archetypes-based Brand Bundles available in the Impact Tribe.
Make sure your website designer has access to all visual assets before they start working on your project. You’d be amazing at how many entrepreneurs I meet who attempt to get a website designed without having any brand assets at all! This is a surefire way to be disappointed with your website.
Once your brand assets are complete, the next step is to pull it all together into a Brand Book (I have templates for these inside my Impact Tribe membership too!) that you can share with your website designer.
Your Brand Book is a comprehensive guide that pulls together your Brand Matrix and brand assets into a beautiful digital book for you and your team to follow.
You can think of your Brand Book like your business’s North Star - when you get lost, it will guide you home. It keeps your entire business, including your website, from straying down paths that won’t serve you in the long run.
If there were just one resource to give your website designer to help them be successful, this is it!
If you need guidance on creating your Brand Book, we have customizable templates inside my Impact Tribe membership to make creating yours easy and fun!
Creating a Pinterest board can be fun for you and helpful for your website designer.
While Pinterest examples alone won’t likely get you the website of your dreams, providing a Pinterest board alongside the other resources I suggest can help make sure your website designer really gets what you’re going for.
If you have the ability to invest in brand photos, I highly recommend it.
Not only will your brand photos be completely unique to you and your brand, but your photographer can also capture your spirit, vibe, personality, and essence in these photos – and that works wonders when communicating who you are and what you stand for on your website.
Not only that, but photography is a massive part of your website. Having photography before designing your website is important because more often than not, your website designer will use the images you have as a main feature in their design.
If you don’t have the ability to capture your own brand photos before working with a website designer, you can also share high-quality stock photos that align with your brand and brand archetype, like those that are available within the Impact Tribe Brand Bundles.
Whether you decide to write your own website copy (you can use my templates for guidance) or bring in a professional, this is something you absolutely need to have finished before hiring a designer to create your website for you.
Without copy, there will be nothing to design the website around, it simply doesn't work to design first and write copy second. You’ll need complete written copy for every page of your website that you are having designed, before handing the project over to your designer.
Choose Your Website Hosting Platform Before Working With a Website Designer
Before diving into the creative process with a website designer, one of the most crucial decisions you’ll need to make is which website hosting platform to use.
This choice is more than just a technicality; it's about ensuring that your online presence aligns seamlessly with your business needs and goals. Each platform has its unique strengths and functionalities, and it's essential to understand which one aligns best with your business operations. A mismatch between your business needs and the platform's capabilities can lead to ongoing struggles and frustrations.
For instance, WordPress is known for its versatility and a vast array of plugins, making it a popular choice. However, it can also be overwhelming for those not technically inclined, often requiring additional help for updates or changes. This was a challenge I personally faced – feeling like I was constantly duct-taping everything together when my site was hosted through WordPress.
The constant need to rely on my designer for changes was neither efficient nor empowering. So, after many years with Wordpress, this experience led me to switch to Kajabi, a decision that transformed my approach to managing my online presence, and that really transformed the way I run my business.
Kajabi, designed with coaching businesses in mind, offers an intuitive and integrated platform that allows me to have endless control over my site. Its user-friendly interface means I can make updates and changes independently, without constantly reaching out to a designer. Finding and switching to Kajabi was a game-changer that provided a sense of empowerment and ease in managing my website.
Your choice of platform should not only resonate with your business's needs, but also provide you with the autonomy to make quick changes when needed. This autonomy is crucial for the dynamic world of online business, where being able to adapt and update your site can make a significant difference in your engagement and sales.
This decision, often overlooked in the excitement of designing a website, is a critical step in ensuring that your online presence is not just visually appealing, but also functionally robust and aligned with your business needs. Be sure to research the various options available to you before moving forward with a designer.
If you want to learn more about the functionality of Kajabi and why I love it so much, you can check out this blog post. Not only is this powerful platform by far my favorite business tool, but they are also running an incredible sale right now that I don’t want you to miss out on if you’re considering Kajabi for hosting your website!
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