Whether you’re starting from scratch or redesigning an old site, there are a handful of things you’ll need to have prepared before you start the process of getting a new website for your small business. To make your life easier, I’ve compiled a list of a few things you should get together ahead of time for when you’re ready to consult with a web designer/developer.
A High Resolution Version of Your Logo Design
Having this ready to go will save you and your designer boat loads of frustration. You’ll also have these files ready for when you need other marketing materials such as business cards, signs, banners, flyers, etc.
If you have any alternative logos, this would be a good time to make sure those are in a good format as well, such as icons and watermarks.
Most web designers prefer PNG, JPG, or GIF formats
Compile Your Vital Information
This includes copy you’d like to see on your website and other pertinent information such as:
An idea of the navigation you’d like to see on your new website such as pages, a blog, and contact form.
What services or goods you provide, and a concise run through of what is included with each
Do you have any information your customers might need to know about before working with you, or giving you a call? This could include anything from new patient forms to return policies and cancellation notices.
ALL of your contact information. Make sure you include every way that a customer is able to contact you by. This can include email, phone, fax, Facebook messages, carrier pigeons, and snail mail.
You should also include your high resolution photos in here as well. As with your logo, most web deisngers prefer images in PNG, JPG, or GIF formats. The larger the better, as it’s rather hard to make a 200px square photo into a background for your website. If you don’t have any high quality photos for your new website, you can find reasonably priced stock images all over the interwebs. My favorite is 123rf.com, along with shutterstock.com and depositphotos.com.
If you have products, you will need high definition photos of those for your site. If you have a smart phone and some open space, you can set up a makeshift photo studio with white poster board, and a desk lamp. Alternatively, you could hire a photographer to come out with their equipment, and take high end photos for your website. I highly recommend the latter, however that’s not always within everyone’s budget.
Another factor is to consider how you’re going to host your website. Does your designer/ developer offer that as a service, or do you need to budget in hosting with your new upgrade? If you already have an existing website, you will need to have your log in credentials ready for them so that they can move your new website to your host when the development phase is complete. I use Dreamhost and Siteground for hosting with my clients, if you’re in search of a quality hosting company. And no, those are not affiliate links, we just love working with these companies!
Have An Idea of What You Like
Knowing what styles of websites you love and
loathe, will give your designer a better idea of what direction to head in with your new website
Things to take note of:
A lot of this will be already taken care of with your visual branding, should you already have that in order. If not, you can work with your web designer on this to come up with what would best suit your small business’s new website. If you really have no idea what you like, go to Pinterest and search “web design ideas” or “branding examples” – this should help you put together ideas that you find really mesh well with your brand.
Decide what you NEED in your new website
This can include a blog area where you can upload new content pertinent to your small business.
You could have your services page where you’ll list what services you offer, whats included, and pricing.
Or if you’re planning on setting up a new e-commerce website, you can decide what products you want to feature, what categories you’ll need, and how you want to focus on them.
It’s literally impossible to over explain what you’re expecting in your new website for your small business. It’s better to have too many details than not enough, and leave your designer to guess what you’ll need. While they should already have a solid idea of what you need on your new website, you should come prepared to the conversation with a basic summary of what you think you’ll need.
Figure out your objective
Email Newsletter? List building is imperative.
What about pushing that new webinar you’ve been planning for a while?
Are you aiming to increase purchases of your products by offering a discount or coupon?
Do you want to pump up sales to your new online course or e-book?
Are you wanting to funnel in new leads for your service based business?
Of these, you need to pick one, or come up with your own, and use it to focus your marketing efforts in your website design. This will yield the best results for you and your business, rather than “I just need a new website”
What is your plan for the future?
Of course you want a pretty new website that’s fully functional, and helps you thrive, but how is that going to happen? Do you have the resources to devote to updating and maintaining a new website, or do you need to hire someone? Does your web designer/ developer have a retainer option, or maintenance package that will keep you in the clear should you need updates or changes made? Will they train you on using your new website, or do you have the time to learn it on your own? These are super important factors to figure in to your decision making process.