One thing I always outline to my clients even before I start working with them is how much of a collaborative process designing both branding and websites is. I mention this to every potential client I have a discovery call with as it’s an integral part of how I work and how I ensure projects are completed and deadlines are stuck to.
As a business owner you might hope that if you hire a web or branding designer they’ll go off and put something together for you and you’ll have new branding and a new website before long. The reality is that actually your designer will need a lot of input from you to help them design and build the best possible solution for you and your business.
In this blog post I want to outline the expectations your designer will expect of you so that you’ll have an amazing new brand and website at the end of the process that not only looks amazing but that speaks directly to your ideal clients and converts them into paying customers. After all, that’s what it’s all for right?
Your designer (hopefully) won’t just launch into creating something pretty to represent your brand. The idea behind design and branding is that it speaks directly to a specific person or group of people and attracts them to you and what you have to offer. Your designer should spend time researching what your competition is doing and here it’s important to mention that they’ll look at what your competition might be doing well and that inspires you and also what they could do better (this is what you’ll be doing!).
As well as a look at your competition, your designer may well ask you what brands and websites inspire you and what it is that you like. These don’t have to be related to your industry at all.
It’s also worth noting at this point that your branding is so much more than just a logo and, in fact, so much more than just the visuals. It’s the whole feeling your brand evokes and how it communicates to your audience so there is quite a lot of complex stuff going on when building a successful brand. You can read more in this blog post on why branding is so much more than just a logo.
When doing their research, a great designer will specifically look into who it is you are looking to attract. This might be the kind of people you’ve always worked with and ideally you want more of these, or if you’re looking to rebrand or branch out, perhaps you’ll be looking to shift and change up who it is you want to attract. Either way, as a business owner it’s a good idea to identify who this person or types of people are. There are many different ways of identifying who your ideal clients are and this may not just be through specific demographics, but also through things they like, what they spend their time doing and where they would look for services like yours. Your designer should help you with the process of identifying your ideal client specifically for the purpose of researching for your project.
Your brand and your website need images. A fundamental part of your brand is communicated through the images you use. Whether that’s images of you at work, your workplace, your desk or surrounding or more abstract images that compliment your brand and immediately help your audience identify your brand through them, the importance of images shouldn’t be overlooked, nor should it be left until the last minute. Yes, I’m saying this as so many times I have seen this overlooked or not considered a priority by clients and it’s something I also run through with my clients at a really early stage.
If you’re ready to work with a branding or web designer it’s worth considering that you’ll also incur the cost of getting photography done too. And your photography needs to be professional looking high quality imagery to compliment your brand too.
If you’re the face of your brand, also consider getting headshots or a personal branding shoot done by a pro. You can read more in this blog post about the specific reasons why personal branding photography is so important. Also, here’s just one of the amazing personal branding photographers I work with.
The text you use on your website is just as important as the website itself… as a business owner I’m wondering if you have given the words on your website much thought?
There are a few main reasons for this and, believe me, I have been where you have and perhaps not understood the reasons why the copy on your site is so important. It’s also not just the words you use on your website, but throughout everything you do and the way you communicate.
The first of the reasons why copy is so important for your brand and for your website is that, quite simply, words sell. If you have clever copy that really speaks to your dream clients, they’re more likely to buy and if you use your words in a way that really identifies with your audience, they’ll be more likely to learn to know, like and trust you.
Another reason why your website copy specifically is so important is that it can really help with your SEO. It’s important to identify some branded keywords that can be used on your website to strategically get Google to shoe your site when people search for your products and services.
I always recommend that my clients hire one of the copywriters I work with to create their words for them, but I also understand that this can be costly. I would personally say that working this cost into the overall price of your website project, but if you absolutely can’t stretch to it, I have also created a blog guide where you can read more about writing website copy.
Again, if you’re ready to work with a web designer make sure that the website copy is a priority for you. Your web designer shouldn’t allow this to become an afterthought as they will need the copy in order to start designing and building your site.
Your branding and web designer needs you to be available throughout the process. It’ll be tricky for your designer to get much further than a certain stage without your input, your thoughts and feedback. A designer will need to know that they are on the right track with where things are headed. While your designer will be happy to guide you and make recommendations as to what works best, you’ll ultimately need to approve each stage. I’d recommend picking a time when you can be on hand as much as possible to help the process go smoothly so perhaps you busiest time of year or when you’re on holiday isn’t the best time to choose.
There are a number of other things your website designer will need from you too. If you already have a website, domain or hosting, your designer will need to have access to those to change things up for your new site and they’ll also need to do the tech stuff behind the scenes for any additional functionality you’d like your site to have like forms, online bookings, creating your online shop etc.
I hope this blog post has helped you get to grips with what your branding and website designer will need from you both in the lead up to and during your project. It really helps to see your project as a collaborative process and if it is you’ll no doubt get the best results too.