I will need certain elements from the client in order to build out their website. These are the raw materials that I will convert into a functional, professional design to solve the client’s needs. I present them here in rough order of importance.
Feel free to click on each one to get further information.
These are the absolute minimum items to get started on building out the website. If you can collect this and send it to me, we can make a good start on the project.
- Domain Name: This is the name people will type in to go directly to your site, for example: jimswidgets.com. Best is if it is also your name or the name of your business.
- Hosting: This is the service that will keep all your website information and display it to the world. This is where your website “lives.” Cheaper hosting = slow websites and higher chance of being hacked, so don’t skimp here. It should be costing you $13+/month after introductory pricing runs out.
- Images: I will need any images you want on your website up front. Design builds around images, not vice-versa. I have access to high quality stock images if that is desired. If you can afford professional shots or headshots, you will never regret it.
- Text: AKA content, these are the words that spell out who you are, what you do, what problem you solve for your clients, etc. I can also edit content and write content, but no one knows your business better than you, so the more you can give me, the better.
- Email/Contact: When the client tries to contact you as the result of your awesome new website, where should it go? Which email, which phone number, which address should be on the site?
Here are some more items to round out your website. Some of these are more applicable than others.
- Logo: This is the image that represents your brand. Often this will be in the header (top part) of your site, and a tinier version will show up in the internet browser.
- SEO/Keywords: Do you have certain keywords that you use to target your ideal clients? I can help design the site to emphasize these for better SEO.
- Similar Websites: Can you find three websites that you like the look of, that I can take inspiration from, copy (great artists steal, as they say!), or at least use to better understand what you like?
- Other Branding: Do you have colors, fonts, or other artistic concepts that are already established for your business?
- Extra Features: Do you need any of the following: Social Media Links, Portfolio, Pricing Tables, Mailing List, Maps, E-Commerce, other Forms?
Saving the Best for Last
Finally, there are some core things that would be helpful to determine the direction of the site. In a way, these things should go first, as everything follows from them. I put them last, because they can feel vague and ambiguous and require some hard thinking and even research.
- What You Do: What value you do provide your customers? What problem do you solve for them?
- Your Goals: A website is a tool–what do you want this website to do for you?
- Your Ideal Customer: Who is your ideal customer? What is your target audience? Who do you envision visiting and using this website?
- Your Content Strategy: Most website owners will ideally publish new content on a regular basis. This is usually a blog post, but it could be portfolio items, pics of you at work, or technical articles. Do you have an idea of how you’re going to create or otherwise generate this content?