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5 Steps to Prepare for Your Website Design

by bmccamish

Is your website in need of a serious overhaul? Does it feel like nothing fits together? Chances are this is because your brand needs some attention and intention. Below is how you can prepare for a website reboot before you hire a freelance web designer (like me!).  

5 Ways to Prepare for Website Design


1. Define Your Brand Personality 

It is essential that you have fleshed out your brand identity which includes a brand personality. Your brand personality is what customers are going to relate to, it will draw them in. 
 
When working with me, I have you take the brand quiz first (it’s totally free for anyone). The quiz identifies your top two archetypes. Archetypes are recognized identities that help form your personality. Once you marry your archetypes you have a unique brand personality and this can inform your visuals, mission, and messaging. This is how you back your brand with psychology and strategy.  


2. Make a Love/Hate List with Screenshots 

Once your brand is fleshed out, your next step is to start making a love/hate list. Websites are like giant page layouts and this means there is an incredible variety out there. Take your time to start looking at what you love and hate about websites. Look at: 

  • The header
  • The menu bar 
  • The about pages 
  • What happens when you mouseover buttons 
  • Where the social icons are
  • Is there a video on the website 

You get the idea. Take note of the features, layouts, and functions of websites and write down what you like and don’t like (don’t forget the screenshots!). If you are doing a website redesign, you should also do this with your current site. 

3. Review Your Competitors 

Part of any market research is reviewing your competition. Identify your competitors (if you haven’t already) and see what they are doing on their websites. Is the home page a sales page or does it highlight the team? What is their approach that seems to be converting lurkers into customers? 
 
The goal is not to copy, but to emulate what works and combine this with your own unique way of standing out. Keep a list of your notes with the competitors so you and your designer can review it together. 

4. Solidify the Purpose of Your Website 

At this point, you should be ready to solidify the purpose of your website. The purpose of your site will define the way the designer moves forward. Is your site going to: 

  • Sell a product 
  • Market a service
  • Increase your legitimacy (i.e. firms and non-profits) 
  • Educate a specific niche (i.e. blogs and publications) 
  • Act solely as a portfolio for your work (i.e. artists, writers, and musicians) 

Decide what you want your site’s main function to be and talk to your designer about how you can structure the site map around this. 

5. Create a Mood Board

 Lastly, create a mood board with images and graphics you think align with your brand. Your site will use more than your logo so it helps freelance web designers to see the kinds of stock photos and icons you would pick. You can create this as a Pinterest board or throw a bunch of images in a doc. It doesn’t need to look like a vision board (you’re not the designer and that’s why you hired one) 
 

Hire A Freelance Web Designer – Me!

Website design is one of the services I offer. It is also one of my favorite things to work on. That’s because it is the bedrock of your business. It is how you become accessible in this day and age, and making your website attract ideal clients is my jam!
 
If you need branding and a website, check out the “Make Your Brand Work” package. If you already have a brand and style guide, I also offer website design a la carte! Send me a note and I can provide you with a project proposal and quote for your specific project. Can’t wait to hear from you. 
 
-Bethany

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