Whether you’re revamping your existing website or starting a new one, preparation will save you time and money before you engage in the service of web development company to work on your project. This is also partly applicable to those of you who is savvy enough to develop your own website.

Having managed numerous web development projects, understanding a client’s needs can be difficult if the client seems unprepared or unsure of what they want. I have come across clients who are not sure of the whole web development process and what they need to prepare beforehand. Preparation is the key of having a successful website with as few issues as possible.

If you’re ready to get your website up, here are the things to prepare before you hire a web designer. Any first time enquiries you make to a web development company will also be returned with more questions which you need to address. By having all these things in place, it’ll be easier for you to tell if the web designer can deliver what you want, the way you want it at exactly when you want it. It will save you tons of time as you’ll be able to provide the content readily and make quicker decisions.

The Website Content

First of all, I would suggest that you get started on what you want to place on your websites. It can be just a draft of basic information to help the web designer get an idea of the website concept that suits your business or it can be a detailed page-by-page description of what you want. You’re, after all, the client. But do pay in mind that the more features you demand, the higher the cost.

The website content I would prepare before I even begin looking for a web designer are:

  1. Brief introduction of the company history, vision and mission, nature of business, products or services, etc.
  2. Description of your products or services. It can be brief or detailed depending on the objectives of your website which we’ll touch on later. If you’re developing an e-commerce website, you should prepare a list of products you would like to list online along with the following details:
    • Product names and description
    • Product images
    • Product attributes or variations such as sizes or colours
    • Prices and discounts (if any)
    • Shipping fees and other related details
  3. Projects, case studies or portfolios if there’s any.
  4. Contact details for your target customers to reach you.

The Objectives of Your Website and Your Target Audience

Imagine wanting to open a store in the neighbourhood but not really sure why you want to do so. It’s the same with websites. You need to know what you want to accomplish with your website or it’ll be like renting an empty store.

You need to communicate your website goals to the web designer. Would you like to:

  • Provide information to your customers?
  • Build awareness?
  • Obtain sales leads and enquiries?
  • Collect email addresses?
  • Interact with your customers?

After identifying the goals for your website, you need to know your target audience, preferably if you could come up with a brief demographic details about them.

The Person in Charge and the Frequency of Updates

Are you handling the project on your own or are you assigning this task to someone in your team? If you’re assigning this project to someone in your team, you need to ensure that this person is the central point of contact. Know that you’ll probably be communicating with the sales consultant of the web development company, who will then pass you over to the project manager once the project begins. The project manager will be communicating your needs to the copywriter, designer and programmer who will be working on your project. With so many people involve in the project, you’ll want to have a clear line of communication to prevent miscommunication.

Another question to ask yourself is who will be managing the website and the frequency of updates. If it’s just a corporate website with brief introduction about your business with minimal updates required, you can go for HTML. If you need to update the website regularly, it’s best to go for content management system (CMS) as you can make the changes yourself. I would personally recommend that you go for CMS even though the initial cost is higher. It’s user-friendly and flexible. Besides, most web development company will provide you with tutorials on how to use CMS. On the other hand, HTML requires coding in which you’ll always be relying on programmers to make the changes for you.

The Features and Functions You Want on Your Website

As mentioned earlier, you’ll probably need to pay for the additional features or functions of your website. The features and functions of your website depends on objectives of your website. Here are the list of common features/ functions of websites:

  • Newsletters
  • Sliders for banner images
  • Photo galleries
  • Videos
  • Social media channels
  • Blog or News page
  • Responsive site
  • Contact form
  • Membership signup
  • Shopping cart

Other Websites You Like as Reference

Even if you know nothing about web design, don’t shy away from letting the web company know your preference. You can even browse around and list two or three websites that you like. You’d be surprise at how welcoming they would be with your suggestion. This goes on to show that you know what you want and you save them ample of time from having to design a concept from scratch. Make their job easier and they might surprise you with one or two complimentary features. Who knows hey? 🙂