6 Steps to Take Before Working with a Web Designer

Wondering how to be fully prepared before working with a web designer? Use this list to get ahead of the game.

In the following post, I’ll walk you through the main things you should have in place before diving into a new brand and web design project. This is the exact list I share with all my new clients on what’s expected of them prior to their project start date.

1 | Secure your new website domain.

This might be the most important. If you don’t already have your name as your domain, go right now and check if it’s available. If it is, buy it right away. 

The one thing that will not change in your business is your name. Your offerings will evolve, your ideal client will shift and you might even pivot at some point but even so, your name will remain the same. YOU are the constant in your business.

Now more than ever people want to do business with people.

When you are the face of your brand you want your name to be known. Think about it for a minute, your favorite client wants to refer you to one of her colleagues… would it be easier for her to refer your catchy business name or creative website address… or your name?

But what do you do if your name isn’t available? Here are a few ideas:

  1. Try variations of your name.
  2. Add your service after your name. For instance, yournameinteriordesign.com or yournameconsulting.com.
  3. Use your business name (if you have one) or a DBA (doing business as) name.

When it comes to purchasing your domain, it really doesn’t matter where you secure it. If you already have a handful of domains, purchase it with that same company to keep things simple. Or purchase it alongside your hosting plan to keep things streamlined.

But wherever you purchase it, just don’t wait! Everyone is moving online nowadays and domains (especially when they’re your name) are priceless.

Okay, once that’s secured you can move on to the less time-sensitive tasks to help you prep working with a web designer.

2 | Get clear on your ideal client.

Before dreaming up your new website with your web designer, you’ll want to get clear on your ideal client.

If you’ve been in business for a while, this is probably pretty clear for you already. Just take a look back at your favorite clients and consider what makes them ideal.

If you’re pivoting in your business or just getting started, this might require a bit more work. I’d first recommend getting clear on your niche and then moving on to creating an ideal client avatar.

Every professional web designer should be asking their clients who their ideal client is before any creative work begins. Getting clear on yours will have you one step ahead of the game.

Read More: How to Discover Your Ideal Client Avatar to Simplify All Your Marketing Efforts

3 | Book a new headshot session. 

The photos you use on your website can truly make or break your online presence. When you’re the face of your business it’s vital your headshots are polished, professional, and present.

By getting your headshot session taken care of ahead of time, you’ll be ready to roll when it comes time to turn them into your web designer. 

Read More: 7 Tips to Get the Best Possible Headshots for Your Website

4 | Work with a skilled copywriter.

If you’re investing upwards of $5-10k on your website design, it’s highly advisable to also invest in the words that go on that website.

Most designers, like me, use your copy as a starting point for your design so wouldn’t you want it to be just as polished as the design?

Starting with your copy allows us designers to build you a custom design that’s strategic to your goals.

A great copywriter is skilled in helping you clarify your message and ensuring all of the copy on your website supports your big business goals. Every single word on your website should be moving your visitors along a journey and ultimately getting them to take action. This is just what a great copywriter does all while staying true to your voice.

Need a copywriter recommendation? Shoot me a note and I’ll send you a few of my favorites.

5 | Tidy your tech tools.

Before working with a web designer you’ll also want to evaluate the back end of your business. How are things going? Are your systems in place? Do you need to implement some new tools to make things run smoother?

This could include your scheduling system, client management system, bookkeeping software, email marketing software, and more.

I’ll admit, I usually help my clients through this step after fully understanding their needs. But if you want to know which tried and true tech tools I usually recommend, click here.

6 | You’ll want to get inspired and get a general idea of the style you’re after.

My designs tend to be described as polished, professional, clean, crisp, and timeless. So if that’s your style we’d be a great fit. But if you’re looking for something super trendy or highly animated, I wouldn’t be the designer for you.

Pinterest is my favorite tool for getting inspired and getting a feel for your style. Create a new Pinterest board and start gathering some brand and website designs to share with your designer. You might also want to start a list of websites you adore and start listing out what you like about them.

A great designer won’t replicate any piece of inspiration you share with them, but rather use it to get a feel for your style and overall vibe. In fact, I create an inspiration board for each new client I work with to ensure we’re on the right path visually. I’ll pin a couple of fonts, color palettes, logo designs, website layouts, etc., and then discuss them with my client.

Read More: How to Use Pinterest to Gather Visual Inspiration for your Business

All of the steps I listed above actually used to be a part of my design process and while I still touch on some of these steps in my process, I now require clients to have these tasks completed before their start date.

Since I book several months in advance many clients (and prospective clients) were asking me how to best prepare for our time together. And when they have these tasks completed prior to their start date it allows us to spend more of our time on their big picture strategy and custom design work.

Interested in discussing a new brand and website for your business? Click here to get in touch.

Katie O'Brien Brand Designer Website Developer

Hey there!

I'm Katie. I'm a brand designer, website developer + mama of two.

I create digital presences that help interior designers simplify business growth, regain time, and bring peace of mind to everyday life. Let me show you how fun + rewarding a great brand can be.