You have a great idea for a business or you’d like to bring your dream into reality, and you need a website. No matter if you’re hiring a website designer in Austin, or elsewhere, here’s a list I give my clients, so we can have a successful project!

Research

Research and have as many samples of website designs you love to share with a designer before you contact someone. This is your company, your idea, your baby, and you hire a designer to push your idea into reality. A relationship with a web designer is a two way street. Both you and your designer should be bouncing ideas off of each other until you finally reach your website design nirvana. You’re not a designer, so how are you supposed to come up with and present what you like? Easy! Look through websites, lots of them. Start with your competitors’ websites. What do you find appealing, what do you find off putting. Same for your favorite websites. Your design ideas don’t have to be in your field. Use search engines like Google or Bing to look up top website designs in your field. Some of the things you’ll need to pay attention to are the way the website makes you feel. Does it irritate you? We’ll want to stay away from those! Think in terms of your target audience. Are they looking for comfort and reassurance? The newest trend? Write down the dominant feeling from some of your favorite sites. It’s okay to pick and choose bits and pieces from different sites. The more information you provide, the better!

Hosting/Domain Name/Content Management System

Not sure which is which or what they are? Here’s a simple analogy I give our clients. Your domain name is like the street address. It’s how people find you. Your hosting is the lot your home is on, and your actual home is the Content Management System (CMS), such as WordPress, Wix, Shopify, and other platforms. A CMS is everything from the building material down to the throw pillows. 

Let’s start with the CMS. Deciding which platform you want your website on is a crucial step in obtaining your website. I recommend WordPress for its affordability and practically unlimited resources. Most of our websites at dragonfly digital are built using WordPress and the front end builder Divi by Elegant Themes. For hosting your basic WordPress site, FlyWheel has excellent pricing, reliability, and speed. Next is your domain name. You don’t need to have your domain at the same place as your hosting provider. I love NameCheap. They are as their name implies – cheap. Plus, they provide privacy protection at no extra cost.

Logo/ Visual Branding 

You’ll need a logo. Hang out that shingle, and say you are a professional ready for business. My one and only advice here is to please hire a logo designer. This is normally the first impression a potential client has of your business. Make it a good one. Logo design can range anywhere from $150 on up depending on the complexity of your design.  For the logo, you’ll need your company name, font choices and a color palette. As with your website, look through some logo designs you like. Decide what appeals to you. Is it the simplicity? The colors? Make sure you’ve thought through these things before you contact someone. Your graphic designer can help you choose the right fonts and colors that will create a logo that tells your clients who you really are before you even speak with them. 

Hiring a Website Designer

Content – Text and Images

Your text (copy) and the images you display on your website are your content. 

First, before anything else, you’ll need some words on the page. This is where a good branding template comes in. The most important message in your content is the solution you are providing to your client. What makes you stand out from your competition? What is your message? You’ll need to do some keyword research. I’ve written an article about page titles which has some guidance on keyword over at our sister site, The SEO Coach. 

Now that you’ve got your copy taken care of, you’ll need some great images! 

Good high resolution images are crucial to a good web design. If you don’t have any, there are plenty of free resources, such as UnSplash and Pexels. Your web designer should have access to some as well. Make sure this is part of your package. If you have a unique product, use your phone to take some pictures. Note: downloaded images from Facebook or Instagram are not high resolution images. If you have the originals, these are definitely preferable! 

Contact Information 

Most important is how will your potential customers get in touch with you! You should give your potential clients at least two ways to contact you. At the minimum, you need an email address. Preferably one with your domain name, ie [email protected] Your hosting provider should provide you with free email with your domain name. This lends to an air of professionalism. Get one. Another easy contact option is a Additionally, a chat function is a great to your site. Discuss this with your web designer. There are many free options available, such as tawk.io. 

There you have it! These are the basic requirements needed to before hiring a website designer. Your web designer will work with you to accomplish each of these. If you’re in need of great web design in Austin, or beyond because  virtual too, contact us today to get started!