The process of designing or redesigning your website requires a lot of preparation. It helps everyone if you know which resources you have at your disposal before you ever talk to a web designer. Does your company have access to quality images? Have you designed a logo or developed a style guide for printed materials? What about your personnel? Do you have a writer on staff? Who will handle website maintenance? Gathering this information will help you prepare for a website design consultation.
During your initial consultation, you should expect a lot of questions from your web designer. If they don’t ask questions, then you should consider that a red flag and think seriously about whether or not you are in the right place.
There are five things that you can do before your consultation to help facilitate the process.
5 Ways to Prepare for Your Website Design Consultation
During your initial meeting, a web consultant needs to get a feel for the elements of your current website you like and those you don’t. It could be that you need functional changes, or you might just want an updated look. Sometimes it’s easier to do a website redesign, and then there are times when it makes more sense to start from scratch.
It’s important that you know what goals you have for your site. What part does it play in your overall business plan? Who are your users and what are their needs? Once you have identified who is using the site and what you hope to accomplish, then it is time to gather the specific information you need for your website design consultation.
#1 – Lay out the Scope of the Project
Your website designer can help you with this during the discovery process. However, it’s important for the two of you to identify the number of landing pages needed for your site. A basic website includes a Homepage, About Us, Services, and a Contact Page. These are the basics. Most sites require much more than that. Identify your critical services and think about how you market them.
- Service Descriptions
- Product Pages
- Quote Requests
These are just a few of the custom pages you should consider for your site. If you handle sensitive information, you may need to post privacy policies or have password protected pages for your clients.
Record as many of these items as you can think of before your meeting. Then, during the interview, your web designer can help you narrow or expand the list as needed. The scope of the project directly affects both the price and the time required to complete the work.
#2 – Determine Your Overall Budget for the Project
Know how much money you can afford to put into building your website. Most web designers can scale a project to fit within a client’s budget. Custom websites cost a bit more during the build, but they often outperform website templates. Do some research before going to your website design consultation so that you know which is right for you, a custom web design or website template.
However, don’t fail to consider some of the hidden costs in pricing your website project. Many web design companies fail to inform you of things like marketing costs and the cost of a lost opportunity. Know how much time will you need to invest in your project. After all, time is money.
#3 – When Do You Expect to Launch?
One of the most common questions, outside of price, is how long does it take to design a new website. A simple website can take 4-6 weeks to build. The more complex your project becomes, the longer it takes to complete the work. Consider how much time you have before you need to launch your website. Communicate this time frame during your website design consultation. If you can’t complete the project by the deadline, then it might be necessary to break it down into stages.
#4 – Who Are the Stakeholders
Projects only run smoothly when there are clearly defined roles. Who, in your company, is the primary contact or decision maker for your project. Bring a list of the key players, along with their contact information, to your website design consultation. Specify who will handle final approval and who has the authority to make changes along the way.
#5 – What Are the Goals and Objectives for Your Website?
Setting your goals down in writing gives your web designer a clear view of what you hope to achieve.
- How does it fit into the overall plan for your business?
- What does success look like to you?
- How will you know if you’re happy with the new site?
With a clear end game in mind, it makes it easier to create the plan or strategy for getting there. Otherwise, you just wander aimlessly or program without direction, so to speak. Remember that a good web design consultant will help you answer some of these questions. Gather as much information as possible before your website design consultation. The better prepared you are for the meeting, means that you can get a clearer picture of what is possible, how much it will cost, and the time it will take.