The Complete List of What you Need to Give Your Web Designer
Spoiler Alert: If you’ve decided to work with a web designer or developer, you’ll still be the one having to come up with all the graphic and text. Yes, you’ll be the one doing the hard yards (unless you outsource that too). Most of the time, your web designer will expect you to send all the content prior to starting the project, so they know what information they have to play with. And it will not be until that moment that you realise the mammoth task it represents. I’m warning you: it’s not for the weak. But I’m also 100% confident that you have all it takes to accomplish it.
Of course, there are many benefits in hiring a web designer vs. DIY your website, such as leaving space for you to focus on other areas of your business, knowing that your website will tick all the boxes (and some more) and having an expert to throw all your website questions at.
I always recommend that if you have some budget and are pondering the idea of hiring a web designer, start by monetising your time. Put a figure to it. Then think, how long would it take you to learn and build your own website? Multiply that number by your hourly rate. For example, if your hourly rate is $40, and you think it’ll take you 25 hours to learn and build your website (you optimist!), that would be $1,000. Can you now consider hiring someone for that amount?
But, as we said, even when you outsource your website project to someone else, there’s some tasks that you still need to take care of. I’ve listed out the 7 main pieces of information that you need to provide your web designer with, and how she would expect you to deliver them. I’ll help you be clear with formats, types of file and how to give feedback, which will make communication with your web designer suuuuper smooth.
Here’s the complete list of the content and information you need to give your web designer.
1. Clear visual references
I’m sure that when you imagined the website of your business, you looked around and noticed other websites that you liked. This is the time to save those urls and take note of what parts of those sites spoke to you. Was it how simple the structure was? The color scheme? The navigation? A certain feature on the homepage?
Put together a short list of websites you like, pointing out what you like about them, and describing why. The list can include websites from businesses in your same industry or other industries. I once had a client who took Apple and Pepsi as examples, clearly two companies that do not play in the same field.
2. Must-have functionalities
Most of the time, website functionalities stem from business needs. If your company works with clients from North AND South America, you may want your website to be both in English and Spanish, therefore it will need to have a multilingual option. Or maybe you run a fashion label, and you want your wholesalers to be able to access specific information to place their orders, then you may need a private login area. List out how you want your website to reflect your business operations. Other options may include appointment scheduling, an online store, or a popup with your premium service on the homepage.
Don’t think only with the functionalities that your website will need right now. Look at your business vision.What strategies do you have in place, or what are your business goals in the near future? Point them out to your website designer, so she will be able to advise you on the best building platform to accommodate the scalability of your business.
3. Main sections
What are the essential sections that your website needs to include? If you’re a spiritual coach, that might be an about page, a services page, a blog to share inspiration and motivation, and a shop to let them purchase your meditation videos. Quickly list out the essential sections of your website and then SURRENDER. Your web designer will be able to point out what the best client journey is. What does this mean? It’s important that you put yourself in the shoes of the user who lands on your website, and you intentionally drive her to the right places to convert her into a client.
4. Your branding
Remember sending your web designer your logo in all is formats and your brand style guide, with references of your fonts and colour choices. It’s not safe to just say ‘dark blue’, you need to make sure you’re giving the exact reference of the shade of blue you’re referring to. Play around with this colour palette generator, and once you come across with the right colour for your brand, copy and paste its hex reference (the 6-digit code that starts with #). In relation to fonts, do your work and jump on Google Fonts to find the perfect pairings for your business.
If you’re just starting out – do you know if branding will be provided by your web designer? Make sure you’re clear about that before you start the project. Don’t expect them to come up with your whole branding when you’ve only hired them to build your website. Also, you want to make sure you’re the one in control of the visuals of YOUR business. I’ve seen more than once business owners assuming that their web developers will understand what they’re looking for visually, only to discover that they’ve given away their visual control to someone who’s very talented, but has no eye for design.
5. The copy
Some tips about how to deliver the copy of your website:
- Open a Google Drive folder with the name of your website, and add a new Google Docs document for each of the sections, naming the file with the title of the section (and don’t forget the homepage).
- Specify what’s a heading, a subheading or a paragraph.
- Underline and indicate between brackets […] where the links go.
- Mention (ideally using another font colour) when a photo needs to be added, indicating the name of the file.
6. The photos
Whether you’re including images from a photoshoot, or opting for free stock photos, there’s some guidelines that will help you be organised and deliver your material to the best standards possible:
- Beforehand, agree with your web designer how many photos she suggests for each section and what layout (how many in portrait, and the same for landscape).
- Name your photo files after the section where they’ll go. For example: about-1.jpg.
- Send your images in .jpg or .png if the graphics include text.
- Make sure your photos are saved in RGB colour format (not CMYK).
- In terms of resolution, make sure they are at least 600px-800px wide (unless it’s a full-width banner, then make it 1920px), and file size is always below 400kb. You can use tools like Tiny JPG to compress the file size without affecting the quality of the image.
- Needless to say, ensure that images are not blurred and they have awesome quality.
It is very important, as I mentioned before, to indicate alongside your texts where every single one of these photos will go. I would also suggest sending your web designer some extra photos to choose from just in case some don’t work visually with your content.
If you need to give credit to the author of the photos, let your web designer know, and include a shout-out somewhere on your website (I usually do that in the footer section, although you can create a Disclaimer text).
7. Clear and specific feedback
The time will come when your web designer sends you a design proposal, expecting very clear and specific feedback from you. Let me say it again. CLEAR and SPECIFIC feedback.
This has the potential to be one of the most energy draining areas of your relationship with your web designer. It can lead to miscommunication and, finally, dissatisfaction (to say the least). But this feedback stage has also the potential to create the very exact replica of your dream website, and you and your web designer becoming besties for life. Which option do you choose?
Here’s some very important tips to provide feedback to your web designer, whether she’s sending the design proposal, or you’ve already moved to the development stage:
- Your web designer will NOT read your mind. If you don’t know how to express if you like or dislike something, show REAL examples from other websites instead.
- Use bullet points followed by the name of the section of page you’re referring to when giving specific feedback.
- Don’t just say that you dislike something, let your designer know what it is SPECIFICALLY that you dislike and WHY. If you don’t know why, remind her of your goal with that specific area of the website. That way, she’ll be able to understand what drives your opinion, and suggest a better alternative.
Also, remember that every web designer has a different approach to projects, so make sure you’re clear about the process and what’s expected from you before starting to work together.
Once you clearly know what material you need to deliver to your web designer, the task isn’t as overwhelming, is it?