There are three important things every business owner needs to understand before contracting a web design agency to build a website. The first one is that good custom websites cost money. It’s fine to shop around for a good deal, but there is no way to get a dirt-cheap custom-made website. A website is an investment, after all, and you can only get what you paid for.
Next, you need to be aware that good websites don’t come into being overnight. The work that goes into making a good website happens gradually, in stages. And even after the design work, the building, and the testing are done, you’ll still need to wait a bit until the website starts having a positive effect on your business.
Finally, you should understand that, through all of this, your input will be critical. As the person who is paying, you have the final word on what goes on the website and what doesn’t. But in a more practical sense, you will need to provide certain materials to your web designer. If you want the website creation process to go as quickly and smoothly as possible, here are the things you need to have prepared.
General Content and Info
You should note that your business should have some information and assets whether you want to build a website or not. These are the very basic and the most general things every business needs to have, and they include:
- Contact Information (Business name, address, phone number, email address
- Social media profile links
- Email opt-in (Mailchimp, constant contact login info)
- Areas serviced
For some of these things, like the logo, for example, you will need to work with a graphics designer. You’ll need them for a couple more things on this list.
The home page might be the most important page on your website. You should spare no expenses when creating materials and contents for it – first impressions count, and they count for a lot. The elements on the home page you need to provide include:
- Header/Hero images
- Main headline
- Site description
- Main content & images
- Call to action
As you can see, you’ll need both a graphics designer and a copywriter to come up with all the elements the home page needs. Make sure you’re happy with both the visual and the textual content.
The “about us” page is probably the unsung hero of any website. It’s not just a place where you get to say a couple of words about your business. It’s a place where you get to tell a story and a place where you can put a human face to your business. Both can influence how the website visitors perceive your business. To get the most out of this page, you’ll need:
- Main content
- Team photos
- Team bios
- Team social media
- Certifications & memberships & partners & accreditations
- Business numbers or license numbers if required
- Call to action
If done right, the “about us” page will help your business appear more trustworthy and real in the visitors’ eyes. Hopefully, you’ll also notice the change to the business’ bottom line.
You have to let people know what is it that you’re selling, right? You’ll need the graphics and the copy people for this one because they need to come up with:
- Service or product descriptions
Note that, in some cases, you can find all the images you need on stock photo websites. Or your suppliers might have product images you can use. Apart from the logo, you can use stock images for everything else. That being said, there are lots of advantages of having each picture custom made.
Because content is king, every website needs to have a blog section. Well, most do, anyway, and blogs can help bring your website closer to your customers. Here’s what your designer will need to build the blog section of your website:
- Author bio
- Author image (gravatar)
- Several initial posts with featured image
Note that you should always have a couple of weeks’ worth of content in store. The initial posts you’re sending should last you for a month, regardless of how heavy your publishing schedule is.
This part is as straightforward as it gets – your website needs a “contact us” page. It’s not just because people will actually use that information to contact you. Your business will appear more credulous even to the people who never actually need your contact information. Some of the things your designer might need are:
- Phone number(s)
- Email address(es)
- Email to send the form to
- Contact form fields
- Map address(es)
- Mail address(es)
- Premises photos
Phone numbers, email addresses, forms, and map addresses are pretty standard these days. Also, make sure the premises photos you send are of decent quality.
Blog posts and descriptions are not the only types of content a website needs. There’s so much you can do with words and images, and so many ways to leverage information to increase your business gains, that you’ll want to include as many types of content as you possibly can. Some of the more important ones are:
- Testimonials including images
- Client images/logos
- Downloads & Resources
- Video embed code (client to upload)
You should note that, in addition to words and images, you can also use video on your website. Video is a booming form of content right now, and many people are using it to market their products and services.
Short and simple – target keywords are the most important thing your designer needs you to provide for search engine optimization. Keyword optimization might not be the only optimization strategy your designer will use on the website, but it is the strategy that requires your input. Do the research and make a list of target keywords.
People are still using email marketing, and they are still seeing great results from it. If your business still relies on one of the internet’s earliest forms of communication, you should give your web designer the following:
- CRM/autoresponder credentials
- Lists to add subscribers to
- Tags to add
- Opt-in location(s), headline and/or subscribe text, button text, fields (optional/required)
A website is a great place to get visitors to leave you their email addresses. It also needs to be hooked up to your CRM.
Tracking and Scripts
People might occasionally stumble upon your website, but for the most part, you have to help them get there. That’s what a lot of marketing techniques do, and they rely on on think like tracking pixels and scripts which have to be integrated with your website. Your designer might need:
- Facebook pixel code
- Live chat script
- Reviews embed code
If there are any other scripts or code you need that’s not on the list, give it to the designer.
eCommerce websites can get very demanding. Every product has a set of information and materials that come with it, and that’s on top of things like coupons and shipping calculators. Still, you’d be hard pressed to find an eCommerce website that can work without these things. Your designer will need:
- Product info: title, SKU, category, description, image, price, dimensions & weight (if calculating shipping)
- Shipping method(s) & costs
- Payment method(s) and credentials
Entering all of these into a website is one of the more time-consuming types of work when creating a website. Still, it’s paramount to do it right because it can seriously affect your website performance.
People might not want to read the terms and conditions of the products and services they use, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t provide them. You’ll want someone who knows the ins and outs of creating legal policies and related content for websites and online entities to do it for you. The designer only needs the end products, including:
- Terms and Conditions or other legal info
- Custom copyright
And with that, your website’s designer should have everything they need to create a website for your business. Still, you should be prepared to provide additional info or assets, if need be. And you should also agree on regular reporting, to keep you in the loop with the whole website building process if it starts taking too long.