7 Things To Do Before Hiring a Web Designer

So, you’re sick of your DIY website. You want to hire a web designer to help you create something beautiful and professional that actually gets you booking more clients. Wise choice. Your web designer should be able to assist and guide you in building your new site. But to get the most out of your investment, it’s up to you to show up prepared.

Before you hire a web designer, make sure you do the following:

Brand your business.

Branding is so important for your business. At a minimum, it encompasses the vision for your business, clarity on who your ideal client is and the essential visual elements that support your vision. You’ll need a primary logo, a color palette and fonts ready before you start designing your website. And if you have a moodboard too, even better.If you can work with a designer to create your branding – awesome! Many brand designers these days even offer alternatives to their full branding package where you can get the essentials at a lower price point. If you’re creatively inclined, you can try picking a color palette that suits your vibe and try DIYing your logo – just make sure it looks professional (no script font logos, please!)

Get professional photos.

Photos can seriously make or break your website. I have a whole blog post here all about why. If it’s in the budget, I highly recommend hiring a photographer and having a brand photo shoot. You’ll end up with a ton of high-quality images that are all on-brand and look consistent. You can also take photos yourself! You do not need fancy equipment and software to be a decent photographer – your iPhone camera will work just fine. Find a well lit location that fits your brand style and have a friend snap some photos of you (or set up a tripod with the timer feature). Stock photography can also be a great option if you’re looking to capture the essence of an industry or a style or a mood . Some of my favorite sources are:

Know your goals.

Having clear goals for your website is so beneficial when developing a strategy. If your web designer knows what you’re trying to accomplish, they can create a user experience that helps you do just that. So, what do you want the user to do on your site? Send an inquiry? Book a call? Purchase your course? Think of a primary goal – the most important thing they could do- and a secondary goal. What would you like them to do if they aren’t quite ready to purchase or book? Maybe read some helpful blog articles? Or sign up for your email list?We want it to be very clear to the viewer what action they should take next.

Gather inspiration.

The web design process will be much smoother if you have an idea of what you want your site to look like. Sharing examples of sites you like is the best way to communicate to your designer what your preferences are and what you’re looking for. Look at other sites in your industry, favorite brands of yours and even Pinterest to gather inspiration. Make sure you’re clear why you like each site you’ve chosen. Is it the overall layout, the amount of white space, the way it uses color? Don’t be afraid to point out the things you don’t like either.

Write your copy.

In most cases, your web designer is not a copywriter. Working with a professional copywriter is your best bet for getting engaging content that will resonate with your ideal audience. But you can certainly write copy yourself too. Donald Miller’s book, Building a Storybrand, is an excellent guide on how to write content that actually connects to your audience. There are also tons of free resources online that can help you. Just type “How to Write an About Page” in Pinterest and see what I mean. PS. If you work with Scout on your new website, you’ll have access to our entire Resource Library full of detailed guides and workbooks to help your write your website content. This can often times be the most overwhelming part of the process for my clients and it’s my goal to make it easier for you while still having copy that “works”.

Create a freebie.

This depends on if you use email marketing in your business (which you should!). Building an email list is one of the best things you can do for your business – even if you don’t really plan on sending a newsletter regularly. A freebie, or lead magnet, is an incentive for your visitors to hand over their email address. Think of a piece of digital content you can share that will add value to your ideal client’s life. This can be a guide, a checklist, a free training, a discount, etc. Designing your freebie to look professional and match your branding is definitely a good idea. If you’ve worked with a brand designer, they’ll probably be able to do this for you. You can also give it a shot yourself in Illustrator or Canva. Many of my clients don’t have a freebie yet and may not have the time or ability to hire their brand designer to create one. So, I offer Freebie/PDF Design as an add-on service to my web design package.

Take care of the technical details.

This is the not-so-fun part about getting a new website up and running. Your web designer may offer to assist you with these tasks (I do!) but it’s good to know what’s coming. You’ll need to set up and pay for the following:

  • Domain name – check out Namecheap
  • Hosting account (if using WordPress)- my favorite is Siteground*.
  • Google Workspace (domain based email) – sign up here*.
  • Email marketing platform -Get 50% off my favorite FloDesk*. MailChimp is also a good free option to start with
  • CRM – this isn’t necessary , but a CRM allows you to track leads and manage projects as well as set up workflows to reply to inquirires and send confirmations on auto-pilot. I use and love Dubsado*. You can get 20% off using my link. Honeybook is another one I’ve heard great things about.
  • Calendar/booking – Book sales calls without sending a single email. Most CRMs include this type of feature, but if you aren’t using one Calendly is an awesome option.

And that’s it! I have a handy little checklist you can download below to help you organize and track this process. And if you’re ready to finally check “new website” off your to-do list, reach out!

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hi, I'm Caitlin
After 10+ years in the industry, I know the importance of your online presence. I know what it takes to build a website that sets you apart, scales with your growth and gets you results. I build websites for evolving brands – so you can continue growing your business doing what you love.
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