You’re thinking of hiring a web designer because you want to showcase the growth in your business and make your whole client experience easier. But all you can see are the big dollars, the time investment to get it right and the fact that you haven’t a clue what you’ll need to be doing.

You’re not alone. When I first started building websites I was completely overwhelmed with how much I had to do. I didn’t know where to start and, if I’m being honest, it cost me a tonne of time. Like, loads.

I wasn’t organized, I kind of made it up as I went along. It would have been a disaster if I’d just hired any designer (unless it was a good one that would keep me organized – and I wouldn’t have been able to afford one of those!).

Here are the key things you need to keep in mind before you even reach out to the web designer of your choice:

Have your website content and copy ready to go

Having your copy ready is really important. Especially when you’re looking at a larger website. Your site is going to be designed to look fab WITH copy. If you don’t have your writing, proposals, services, and about pages ready then it might all go really wrong if you add it after you’ve got your sparkly new design ready to go.

It makes your website look great

Your site is designed with copy in mind, so if you don’t have the text to hand there’s a good chance that things will look out of alignment or move around the page in ways you don’t like.

It saves you + the web designer time

Been able to give your web designer fonts, texts, headers before they start work will help you and them stick to the timeline laid out because the web designer isn’t waiting for text, you’re not waiting for copywriters to write, and the web designer isn’t having to redesign sections of your website because the initial word count didn’t pan out.

Check out Daniel Kedinger’s guide to planning website copy.

It saves you money and makes your web designer happy!

Yeah, at the end of the day we want the best value and return on our investiments. Having your web copy ready means that you’re not prolonging your timeline (and if your website isn’t live then you’re not getting yourself out there, which also means less income for you!) plus you won’t be subject to delay fees. Some designers include delay fees to ensure that the timeline stays on track.

Have your web site graphics ready before you hire a designer

If you hire a web designer who tells you that you don’t need all your graphics ready then question that! It’s not a bad thing if they’ll use royalty free images as placeholders but it does mean you’re not going to have the cohesion, branding, and even look that you want.

It keeps you on brand

Having all your graphics ready to go before a designer even sets foot onto your site will help keep your branding on track. You want consistent and cohesive images across the pages of your website.

It keeps all your offers + promotions consistent

You’re not reinventing the wheel when you’ve already created your freebie graphics + promotional material. It means that your freebie checklist offer looks the same on every page. And that your special 50% sale is the same across headers + blog posts.

You might love this article on how to design graphics for your website.

Start your creative process + file storage systems ready so you can easily share with your web designer

Make sure that you have things set up in an easy way so that you can access (and share) them quickly. I recommend using Google Drive or Dropbox.

You’ll want folders for:

Images, Graphics + Photos:

Add all your professional pictures, graphics and owned photographs into this folder. Your designer should give you a list of measurements to consider using for your website. You may want to create a few different sizes of some images – if so be sure to label them with their sizes too.

Copy:

Get your copy onto a shared drive. Make sure it’s complete and polished. And ready to go. It’s a good idea to create individual files with page names e.g. “Home Page Copy” document may include: Header + Subtitle Text, First Paragraph, CTA, Services, and Conclusion text.

Images That Aren’t Yours:

There are loads of places that will offer you free photos with no royalty fees attached. Create a separate folder for these. When you add images to the folder be sure to include a copy of the licence. You may also wish to keep a spreadsheet with a list of your images. This way you can keep track of how many times you’ve used a stock photo. This is particularly important when you consider that some Creative Commons licences have limits as to the amount of times you can ‘sell’ or use an image. Keeping track helps!

Website Map:

A sitemap is important. It’s basically the plan before the design. Think about what you want on each page and create a document for it. For instance, a map for the home page may include: “full width header with header text + slogan + CTA”, “Learn More with List of Services” etc. It’ll help your designer work better and it’ll save them (and you time).

what to ask your web designer swipe file.

Consider your deadlines + timelines (+ account for the time needed to interview web designers)

Before you hire anyone, you need to consider what your deadline is. It’s something you need to bring to the table and discuss. Some designers may be able to easily accommodate a short deadline, for others there may be an added surcharge. Be sure that your deadline is realistic that it works with your launch plan and sales goals, and that it makes time for interviews and the admin that needs to take place before the designer even starts doing anything to your site.

Start making a list of websites you like

You should always know what you want your site to look like. Pinterest is a great place to start but it’s also a good idea to spend a moment on each website you visit and make notes of what you love. You can share your Pinterest board or notes with your designer.

If you use notes, be sure to include links to the site in question.

Whatever method you use be sure to add a detailed description of what you’re loving (because you’re going to forget what it was!). This especially applies to Pinterest where it can be easy to forget to add a changed pin description.

Other things you may want to consider before hiring a designer:

  • Finding hosting
  • Buying hosting
  • Deciding on where you’d like your website e.g. WordPress, Squarespace etc.
  • Keep an ongoing list of questions to ask your designer when you meet them
  • Get your branding and hex codes in order

Send me a comment below and tell me the tips that made your website build experience the best!

Don’t Forget Your Must-Have Free Swipe File To Get You Through Your Next Web Designer Hiring Process

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