Design is the funner, cuter, younger sister of the website world. It gets all the attention. It’s praised by everyone who sees it. It’s given much more credit than is probably due. It can be easy to dive head first into the design of your website, and it’s absolutely top priority, but there are 5 things to ask yourself before hiring a web designer.
This post was originally titled “5 Things to Ask Before Hiring a Web Designer,” but the more I mentally sifted through that topic, the more I realized this concept is actually secondary to the one I ended up on. So, before you dive into the search for your dream web designer, ask yourself these five questions.
Do you even need this?
Caveat: If you don’t already have a website, you need one. Move onto Question #2.
Sometimes in business, you don’t see the success you want to see. That’s the nature of it. And because of the Younger Sister Mentality surrounding web design that I mentioned earlier, it might be tempting to immediately make the leap to needing a site update. Do some honest research and speak to some consultants before you go all in on addressing something that isn’t even the issue. For example, in my experience, mom and pop HVAC companies do not need an immaculately designed website AS LONG AS it’s easy to make a conversion. In contrast, restaurants generally need websites that are nice to look at. People want to know you’re willing to invest in what they’re about to put into their body and one of the best ways to indicate that pre-dining is through investing in a website. Do your due diligence, then come see us.
What do you consider a conversion?
This varies by industry and can get buried in semantics. Do you really want to minimize a restaurant guest down to the generic term “conversion”? Probably not, but for the sake of consistency in this post, we’re going to overlook this little social faux pas. A conversion for a restaurant, then, is obviously a paying customer sitting at their tables, purchasing a meal. A conversion for a dentist is likely a call from someone with a bum tooth to schedule a consultation. A conversion for a dog sweater seamstress with an online storefront is a completed purchase of one XXS sweater for someone’s maltipoo. You get the idea. What is a conversion for you? What defines a successful transaction?
What is your goal?
Your goal should be to convert, which we addressed in Question #2. But on a more intangible level, what purpose do you want your website to serve to attain that goal? You need to sit down and ponder that. Let’s say you’ve decided you want to entice people into visiting your restaurant to enjoy a delicious meal, a.k.a. a conversion. GREAT. Now we know we need to inform prospects about your offerings, showcase your product mouthwatering-ly, and have powerful call to actions such as “Get Your Grub On,” a.k.a. your goals. Think of goals as the specific details that need to be included on your website to achieve your conversion.
Who is your audience?
“Audience” is a buzzword in this industry and buzzwords tend to get ignored due to oversaturation. This is a request, a plea, to set aside some focused time and think realistically about who is going to buy your product. It’s safe to say that everyone would like for their audience to be sophisticated billionaires who aren’t going to think twice before buying ten of your products, but that’s why I emphasized the word “realistically.” Don’t be lazy, either! Almost anyone could set their audience as men and women between the ages of 17 and 65 and see some success. If you can hone in on that niche market who is going to buy what you’re selling and design a website around their personal user experience and interests, then once again you’re looking at a recipe for conversions.
What is your inspiration?
Don’t confuse this with “Which competitors do you want to steal from?” This is not what I’m asking at all. What I am asking for is specific examples of brands that create experiences that inspire you! That recent trip to Santa Fe that inspired you! That Wes Anderson movie you just watched that inspired you! That trip to the mailbox! It does not matter. If your site makes you happy and feels like it fits your brand (something ultimately only you can deem to be the case since you know your brand better than anyone) then your prospects will sense this harmony. This is what we do for a living so we’ll make you an amazing website either way, but if that brand harmony is missing then it isn’t allowing our design to function at its peak. Show us what you like. Communicate with us. We want to work together.
The inspiration for this article is personal experience. I’ve *attempted* to build out many a website for clients that haven’t asked themselves the right questions beforehand and it results in dull, lifeless, ultimately impersonal design that can’t achieve the one goal websites exist to: convert.
These are tough questions that can be hard to answer objectively. Thankfully, at Steadfast we specialize in helping you both ask and answer them. Chat with us today and let’s get you started.