What do you need for your website redesign?

What do you need for your website redesign

Designing or redesigning your website is a significant undertaking.

Click to Tweet -“Redesigning your website is a HUGE undertaking-here are 16 things you need before you get started.” 

It requires a lot of work not only from your designer but also from you. Not to mention, you may need to hire out for things like photography or copywriting before you even dive into your site redesign.

The best way I know to help you prepare for your design project is to let you know what you might need. Each of these things depends on your creative business, and also your own skills (like whether or not you’ll need a logo designed for you or if you can create it yourself. If you’re a great writer or if you can write your web copy for yourself.)

So here is a list of recommended things that are usually needed before I work with my web design or my consulting clients:

 

Hosting and domain name information

It’s always good to have these things in order before you start working with your designer. When you have these things ready, you’ll avoid delays later on in the project. You merely need to sign up for your custom domain name that you’d like to use for your URL and then you need to choose a hosting provider. Keep the login information handy, as your designer will need this information to log in or they’ll need it to provide to their developer who will log in and set up the website for you.

 

Headshots

You need several photos of yourself for your site. You might not use all of the pictures, but your designer will want to see your favorites so that they can help you decide where to put them on your website (usually you’ll want one on your About Page and one in your sidebar). Seeing various photos of you may also help your designer to come up with a few fun ideas that they may not have thought of if you only provide them with one photograph.

If you’re leaning toward not having a photo of yourself on your website because you hate getting your pictures taken, then I would strongly advise you to do your best to get one or two photos that you love and can handle. I’ve had several clients tell me that they hate seeing their face on their website, but seeing your face may be the exact thing that will cause clients or customers to buy (I had a friend recently say that the photo of her doctor on the website is what made her choose that particular doctor. She decided on the friendly, smiling face.) Seeing your face will break down the anonymity of the Internet and bring back that mom-and-pop feel that we all tend to love.

 

Brand photos

Some people consider your headshots as “Brand Photos,” and while I do agree that your headshots are, I also think you need some other custom imagery to add to your website if at all possible. Whenever I go out with my photographer to take new headshots, I also carry along a box full of props. These photos can be used for header sections or in your featured blog images. By taking items with you to your photo session, you’ll end up with more photos for your library.

Be sure to ask your photographer if you can bring props along, just in case they don’t do that type of photography or if they need to make special plans.

 

Photos of your products

One of the things that my clients have often neglected having ready before working with me is a bunch of photos of their products. If you plan on your designer setting up your online shop, you need to have several product photos ready to go. You might need to hire a photographer to take these pictures for you, as well. And it can take months, sometimes, to line up a good time to get the photos done and edited before starting your design project.

An overwhelming majority of web designers prefer you to have ALL of your content ready to go before you even start the design, so that means that you need to have enough photos of your products to make it work!

 

Product pricing

You can adjust your pricing later on if you need to, but having a general starting place of what you’d like your products listed at will help your designer to at least get a few products up for you to see and approve the design.

 

Product categories

If your designer is creating the layouts for your shop pages, having a general sense of what product types you need will help your designer a ton. Figuring out how many pages you might need or what category pages you might want can be tough. Many of my consulting clients come with questions about product categories, so I know that this is often a hard one for many new business owners to figure out. Some web designers may not be able to help you break your categories down or figure out what categories you need. So you’ll want to take some time to figure this out before you start your design project.

 

Digital versions of your artwork (textures, patterns, graphics, hand-drawn illustrations or fonts)

If you’re an artist or creator, you really should try to incorporate your creative genius into your site design. If you have textures, patterns, graphics, or hand-drawn illustrations or custom fonts, you can include those elements in your design to make it much better. Your designer would probably be delighted to see that you’re hoping to add little pieces of your artwork here and there throughout your site.

You’ll want to make sure that the graphics and elements that you provide are high quality and that the size isn’t too small. If you’re not sure how to do this, then you’ll want to learn this step or ask your designer if they can create these things for you before accepting your proposal and signing the contract.

If your designer needs to digitize your artwork for you, this may be an added expense. So be sure to make plans for this before you start.

 

A new color palette

Your designer may come up with the new color palette for you as a part of your package. If you know what direction you’d like to go with the color on your site to begin with, be sure to have it ready to share with your designer when the time comes. They may want to refine the color palette, but if you have a starting place ready to go, your designer will know what you like and what you want.

 

Your new or revised logo

Some designers don’t offer logo design, although many do. You’ll want to figure out if you’d like your web designer to do it all or if you’re going to hire a separate logo designer to take care of that part of the design job.

You may also be a very talented illustrator or artist with the ability to create your logo or revise it to make it stronger. If you have this capability, then you’ll want to make sure to have this completed before the web project is set to begin.

 

An idea of what pages you need for your website

Personally, I have my clients work on this through homework assignments before we start their design project together. I have them figure out which pages they’d need on their site. The thing is, your designer won’t know what pages you need for your business. They may have suggestions, and they can certainly point you in the right direction, but you’ll need to know for sure what pages are absolute musts and which pages you think you’d like but maybe aren’t sure if you need.

Knowing the pages that you might need before starting your project can also help your designer to give you a more accurate quote.

 

Text for each page you need for your website

The number one thing that most of my clients don’t have completed when they come to me to start their web design project is their website copy. The copy is the content/text that you need for every single page of your website. Now, a few designers out there can help you with both copy and web design, but many designers just aren’t skilled in writing website copy for you.

You should have the copy finished by you or written by a copywriter before your project is set to begin, however. I find that not having your copy ready to go is the slowest delay in getting your website up and going.

 

Your opt-in freebie

Another great thing to have ready is your free opt-in incentive. If you have plans to grow your email list (which you should!), then you’ll need at least one awesome opt-in freebie ready for your designer to get set up with your email provider and connected through an opt-in form on your website.

 

Testimonials

Honestly, I feel like testimonials are maybe the most important thing on your website besides the basics (photos and text). Social proof is what will help your products and services to sell. So if at all possible, take the time to ask for some testimonials from customers or clients that you’ve already worked with in the past.

 

Videos

Videos are an extra still when it comes to web design. I want all my clients and customers to have videos on their website because I have seen the power of what a video can do to warm up a potential buyer to purchase from you. But I do understand that this is still a struggle for many small business owners to implement on their website. If you have the skills or you love being on camera, then I think you should have videos on your site.

You’ll want to have the videos created, edited, and hosted on a site like Vimeo or YouTube that way all your designer needs is to grab the embed code and add it to your site.

 

A few blog posts ready to go

When I work with custom design clients, my developer is prepared and willing to include a few blog posts on your finished site. And as a designer, I have to make your blog well-designed. It’s much easier for me to do this with an actual post, although it can be done using dummy text (aka- lorem ipsum). I think it’s better, though, to see a real post with photos and headers because it can give you an idea of what you’ll need to do moving forward.

More importantly, it’s vital to have a few blog posts ready to be shared when your website is set to launch. These posts will attract new readers to your site and help them to see what you do/what you offer.

 

Relevant links

Finally, you’ll want to have all relevant links handy for your web designer to connect/link up when it’s time. By having these ready to go, you’ll avoid “broken” links (or links without a destination) later.

 

Whew. I know that probably feels like a lot and it is. Designing or redesigning your website isn’t easy, but it’s necessary. I love for my clients to start off on the right foot and I don’t like to leave any details out. I hope this list will help you to make the necessary preparations before you hire your designer or work with a web consultant.

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