10 Things We Need Before Designing Your Website

10 Things We Need Before Designing Your Website - Graticle Design (small)

Before we start designing your website, there are a few things we need in order for you to have a successful project.

If you haven’t hired a website designer before, you may be under the impression that you pay your invoice and nothing else is needed from you. Although we will make things extremely seamless, there is still information and assets we need to gather from you.

We’ve created this article as a prep before hiring any web design company, including us.

Grab a cup of coffee, your notebook and start reading.

You ready?

Let’s get into it!

1. It All Starts With Content

The first thing we start with is content.

Content is the bedrock of your website. Everything depends on it. A common rookie mistake in this industry is to start with the design and gather content as an afterthought. In that scenario, the company is in the dark taking guesses at what will be needed. After that initial “design guess” has been submitted, the project is now off the rails!

We avoid this mistake by collecting all of the content we’ll be using on your website, first. That includes the text on each page, the headings, paragraphs, everything.

We also collect the images we’ll be using on your website. We recommend using a service like Dropbox, since you can provide access to us, and we can easily access all of your images.

Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through each of these steps so that you’re not overwhelmed!

2. Logo & Branding

Next, we need your logo files and branding material.

Your logo files will need to be in vector format. These vector files will end .eps, . ai, .svg, or .pdf. You can get these files from your designer who originally designed your logo and brand. If you don’t have these files, you can provide the contact information to the original designer and we’ll get them for you!

If your company has a branding package, we will also need this. Your branding package provides instructions on how to integrate your logo and brand on your marketing material, and in this specific case, your website.

3. Websites You Like

We ask for a list of 3-5 website that you enjoy using. These should be websites that impress you, whether visually, functionality or both. They also don’t need to be in the same industry as you.

A few bullet points on each website and what qualities you like will help us greatly. For example, do you like the layout? The overall feel to it? Feel free to mention any qualities, no matter how seemingly minor.

This helps us understand what type of qualities you like and will help inform the overall design of your website.

4. Websites You Don’t Like

On the flip side, we need a list of 3 websites that you don’t like. Again, list a few items for each website of the qualities that you don’t like.

If you have pet peeves, but can’t find any examples of them in action, described those issues the best that you can.

All of this helps us understand your needs and allows the project to operate more smoothly. If we can avoid including the qualities that you don’t like, then that’s one less thing we have to figure out down the road!

5.  Primary Contact

We will need to know who will be in charge of and leading this project.

We require there only be one point in communication from your company. That person will be in charge of all communications with our team and yours.

The reason we only allow one person to fill this role is because it’s more streamlined. If there are multiple points of contact, information is lost, and conflicting opinions arise from your team. With one primary contact, this person is able to disseminate all of the information from your team and provide that to us. No need for us to ask other people questions since this person handles it all.

Don’t worry, if you’re going to be this person, we do our best to make this easy as we walk you through each step. We’ve been involved in hundreds of web projects and we have the experience to make this project not only a success but an enjoyable experience! We know, enjoyable isn’t a word often used in our industry, but it’s true!

For the primary contact, we’ll need their contact information, email, phone number, business address, Skype username, etc. That way we have a variety of ways to contact them.

We will also need to know the best times to reach them and any upcoming dates that they will be unreachable. That way we can plan for that and tailor the project around their schedule.

6. Deadlines

It’s crucial that you communicate with us about any upcoming deadlines.

This way we understand what type of expectations you have for this project. We’re efficient in our processes, so don’t worry about a tight deadline. We will discuss this upfront and let you know if it’s a reality for your project.

7. Budget

Your budget is something that needs to be well thought out on your end before contacting us.

What is the number or range that you have decided to invest in this website project?

This is just like purchasing a home. You have a budget that you’re willing to spend in order to get a house that fits your needs. It’s no different here.

When you let us know your budget, it’s just like letting your real estate agent understand your needs. How many rooms do you want? How large of a backyard? What type of and quality of fixtures do you want? Do you want a pool? A jacuzzi?

We’ll present you with a few options in our proposal that respects your budget while also provides you with choices to better refine the scope of the project.

8. Primary & Secondary Goals

At the end of the day, why are we creating or redesigning your existing website?

Is it to increase conversions and overall sales? Increase your local presence? Make it easier for your customers to purchase products in your online store? Make your current website easier to use?

We need to know your primary goal for your website. The one goal that overrules any other wants or desires.

This helps us all understand what our focus needs to be, what all of our decisions need to come back to. How does “topic A” help us achieve your primary goal? If it doesn’t, then maybe we need to rethink that idea.

After we have your primary goal, now it’s time to list of your secondary goals. These should assist your primary goal rather than detract from it.

For example, if your primary goal is to increase conversions on your website, then listing your social media icons larger than your phone number isn’t beneficial. Unless you want to increase conversions to your social networks, this is a distraction for your users. Instead of converting to a customer, they’re going click to your Facebook page, become distracted and forget all about you and what they were doing.

9. Website Management

We have the ability to build your website on a content management system that will allow you to make content changes to your website (text/images).

We need to understand if this is something you would like included in your project. You should also know if you or your staff have the time and abilities necessary to perform these updates. We also offer monthly website maintenance packages where we allocate a certain amount of changes per month.

Our goal is to allow you to have a website that stays up to date rather than being outdated.

10. Questions & Expectations

At this point, it’s a great time to ask any questions you have had but have either forgotten to ask or have just came to mind.

Don’t worry about it being a seemingly minor detail, you never know what type of information can be brought to light with a question. The last thing we want is for you to think you know the answer to a question. If you do, it becomes an unstated expectation. When in doubt, just ask!

Wrap Up

That just about does it!

You should now be prepared and understand what is needed from you before we start designing your website.

It does take some effort to provide these resources, but we do our best to make the process as easy and as seamless as possible. Our goal for every website project is to make it a success in every way. And yes, that means successfully enjoyable!

Ready… Set?

When you’re ready to get your website project started, send us a message or give us a call at (360) 450-3711. We’re open 9-5pm PST, Monday through Friday.

Even if you only have a quick question or aren’t quite ready to get started, give us a call. We enjoy helping guide, educate and talking shop!

Last updated on August 31, 2016. Shawn is the President of Graticle, Inc. You can follow him at Google+

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Needed someone with WordPress skills to update a custom website with a ton of plug ins after originator left us high and dry. Found Graticle (Shawn) via WordPress search on Google. Shawn had it updated and running great in a short time. No problems, easy to work with and reasonable priced.

Sharon Evans

Escrow Association of Washington

www.e-a-w.org

Ellensburg, Washington

Wow, what can I say?

Working with Shawn and the team at Graticle has made launching our website not only easy and stress-free, but fun! Our website looks wonderful, it looks beautiful and clean and is easy to for clients to navigate and order products. I love that it is mobile friendly and formats great on the phone. They really took the extra steps to make sure it came out exactly how we wanted and even made videos explaining step by step and page by page how to change or add to the website including changing text and images, adding products, etc. Shawn has made this a wonderful experience and helped create a great site that accurately represents our business. Not only will I recommend Graticle to other companies but also plan on having them do more work for us in the future.

Asia Robbins

Little Island Creamery

LittleIslandCreamery.net

Cathlamet, Washington