As an online entrepreneur, you know that your website's look, feel and usability are keys to success. You know you have a great product and a wonderful service to give the world. You have fought hard to carve out your niche. The thing is, you really have no idea how HTML works or what looks great or how the nitty-gritty of a website works.
You just want a website that works. So how do you tell your web developer what you want?
- Tell them about the soul of your business. Many web designers can create nothing but generic websites if your business has no personality. What is your brand? How do you want to market your brand? These are questions you should ask yourself before you start developing your website. This can also help you avoid static, boring websites that will not do anything for your company.
- The next thing you should do is present your web design company with your goals. Why do you have a website? What will it be for? Do not be afraid to set up a meeting, virtually or in person, to communicate this aspect of your company. A great web design company can help you achieve your goals -- and this will also help them streamline the development process, even if you are not sure about other design elements as well.
- Before consulting with your developer, make a list of what you love and hate about your current website, if you have one. Think of the design elements you would like to keep or get rid of.
- Set communication expectations. This does not mean that you and your developer will be on Skype 24/7, but ask your developer to update you when major milestones or areas of the site are finished. Any web design company usually has a process in place when and how to get in touch with clients.
- Sketch it out. Take out a large piece of paper and draw your dream website. This will often have elements from your favourite websites. Make notes in the margins and indicate what this link or button will do. At the very least, this will give you a great idea of what you want.
- Put a folder together with all the necessary content you already have. This includes company logos, pictures, photographs, vectors, gifs, your stationary and colour scheme. This will give the design company a broader and better idea
- Take pictures, snapshots and other interesting design elements for your website and put them into a file, Evernote notebook or compile them into a document to send to your developer.
- Avoid being vague. Web designers are hardwired to avoid clients who say things like "I want something simple." Why? Because that simple design element you want is worth about 500 hours of coding and testing. Know what you want and give them an idea of how you want the site to function.
- Create a concrete timeframe with them and stick to it. Software like Google Docs, Dropbox, Google Drive or a meeting application can help you get things done and keep an eye on things as they develop.
- Show your web designer the sites that you love, like and visit on a regular basis. Make a list of what it is you like about them or the features you really want to have. For example, you may want to discuss automating some options on your site, especially if you lack time to maintain the website yourself. You might also like the great way the photo gallery on another site is set up, so you can add that to your list.
- Listen to them, too. There are a dozen reasons why they are professional web designers and you are not. You may have your heart set on moving text dancing across a header for your website, but if your web developer cringes and tries to steer you towards something a little more modern, do keep an open mind.
- Expect conflict, but learn how to deal with it. In times of great annoyance, walk away from the computer.
Great websites are the result of collaboration between the client and the developer. Hopefully, these tips can help you develop a great website that will help you meet your business goals and help you get through website development relatively unscathed.