Designing a new website is an exciting—and anxious—time! It can open your business up to a whole new set of prospects and leads and modernize your marketing and sales strategy. But if you’ve never done it before, or it’s been a good long while since your site was last updated, the web design process can seem opaque and confusing.
Here’s what to know about the website design process to ensure it goes smoothly:
Share All the Information You Can at Your Initial Sessions
The web design process begins with a discovery phase or a brainstorming session, where you share information about your business. This covers the gamut, from what you do and how you do it to your products to your logo to your design preferences to your ideal customers.
Everything and anything you can share with your website design team will be valuable.
Because your site not only needs to be beautiful and functional, it needs to convey important information to website visitors, convert those visitors into leads, and do it in your brand’s voice. In order to do this, the team designing your website will need to know your audience—who is going to be visiting your website—so your site can communicate with them effectively.
Give Your Designer Somewhere to Start
Sharing all you can with your website designer or design team doesn’t only apply to information—it also applies to documents, images, and other useful resources and assets.
Any existing marketing materials like brochures, photos, logos, flyers, and customer-facing informational documents can be extremely helpful to your designer in:
(a) understanding what your company does
(b) understanding your brand voice
(c ) including those assets (like logos) on your site
Share All Logo Files
When it comes to sharing assets, particularly logos, make sure you share everything. This helps ensure a smooth web design process.
The .jpg of your logo that you use in your email signature isn’t going to be enough: your website designer will need access to the originals in any and every format you have them in order to format them correctly to display on your website and provide visitors with a consistent brand experience. We’re talking .psd, .png, .tif, .jpg, all of them.
If you don’t have these assets, and you’ve just been using a 20 KB .jpg image in all of your brand communications, talk to your website designer about your options. They may be able to create a web-ready version of your logo, or direct you to someone who can.
Hand Over the Reins
For a website design process to be successful, you have to relinquish some control to the designer. If you want total control over the design of your website, you’d have to design it yourself. And with your existing responsibilities, you just don’t have time to do it. Plus, even though you’re an expert in your field, you’re probably not also a web design or graphic design expert.
This is true of your employees as well. Even if your technical writer is amazing and you think she could write your website content and you have an IT guy who knows a bunch of coding languages, it’s still best to hire pros.
Website designers have the expertise and the time that your employees with other specialties and duties simply don’t have. Your IT guy needs to be troubleshooting computer issues, not tied up hard-coding your site.
Plus, hiring professionals to design your site ensures that your site is up-to-date with the latest web design best practices, future-proofed for upcoming changes, and that a disgruntled employee with admin access to your site doesn’t cause unprecedented damage to your brand and reputation on their way out the door.
Let the Designer Do Their Job
This goes along with the last point. You have to trust the designer to do the job you hired them to do, and you have to let them do it. This means that while you’re allowed to share your vision for the appearance and function of the site, you can’t dictate every last thing down to the placement of every button.
Web designers are skilled and credentialed professionals with years of experience designing websites, and they know the best practices for how your site navigation show work and where buttons should be placed.
The Web Design Process Doesn’t Happen Overnight
Website design is not as easy as just plugging your information into an already created shell and just changing the colors. It takes time to lay out the sitemap, write the page content, create visual assets and design elements, research keywords, gather information about your company and offerings and put all of that together to create a website.
Plus, there are many factors that will influence how long your site design takes. How quickly do you get back to the designer with information? How quickly do you approve concepts or content? How many pages will your site need to be? What special features or design elements does your site require? Adding on to any of these factors will add to the length of the design process.
Some designers will tell you that they can create a custom website for you super quickly and super cheaply—this is usually too good to be true. In these cases, you’ll likely get what you paid for: a “custom” design that looks mysteriously like a bunch of other sites you’ve seen on the web, stretched out and pixelated graphics, broken links, and typos. While a good solution today might be better than a perfect solution tomorrow, a bad solution is never the right option, even if it could have been implemented yesterday.
Interested in building your own company’s website? We’d love to help. As an inbound marketing and growth agency, we develop websites that are both beautiful and functional. Get in touch to see what we can build for you.