The planning stage is the most important part of any small business website design project. When working with a website designer, you have to clearly describe your ideas and desires so they can create the website you want. The designer has to describe their ideas as well. By offering you various options and examples, they can show you what your website might look like.

Every design has three key parts. There’s the actual design, which is how the website appears and how it feels to use the website. Then there’s the content, which is the text, images, and videos which will make up the final website. Finally, there’s the functionality, which is how the website works. Stay mindful of all three of these parts when you’re working with your website designer. Remember also that your plans will likely grow and evolve as your designer learns about your business and figures out how to communicate your vision online. Strong communication is an important part of making this design relationship work and creating the perfect website.

There are some essential website design tips for small businesses which make it easier for you to work well with your designer. As a team, you can create a fantastic website with the help of a shared vision, strong communication, and good planning.

1. You don’t need the perfect idea

Your designer doesn’t need you to have an exact vision for your website. Your website designer will probably be happy to take creative control if you aren’t sure what you want, so don’t be afraid to let them do their thing.
Tip: Request some samples of the designer’s previous work and check out their own website. This will help you figure out whether you like their style or not.

2. Offer your designer examples of what you like

Clear visual examples are so helpful in the website planning process. Take a look at various websites and take note of what you like. Make a list of links, including information about what you specifically liked about that site, and give it to your designer.

Tip: Check out your competitors’ websites for design ideas, but don’t limit yourself to them.

3. Don’t branch out too much

Examples are very helpful, but too many examples can be confusing. Your designer may find it hard to pinpoint what you want, and you’ll pay for the time they spend checking out hundreds of websites.

Tip: Aim to send between three and five design examples to your designer, along with notes describing what you like about each design.

4. Get specific about what you like

Tell your website designer specifically what you want and need on your website. Unless you’re clear that you like the color scheme on website one, the layout of website two, and the use of images on website three, your designer will have to guess what’s appealing to you about each one.

Tip: Include specific comments detailing what you like about each link. Is it the layout? The content? A certain feature? The aesthetic?

5. Explain what you don’t like

You might come across a common design element that you really don’t like. If that’s the case, let your designer know. Don’t wait until it crops up on your own website!

6. Don’t Fall Prey To “Feature Creep”

Feature creep is a common issue in website design and you should avoid it. Feature creep occurs when you suddenly decide that you want to include various new ideas in the design once you see the finished product and expect the designer to work in these new ideas at no extra cost.

If you find yourself saying, “I didn’t want X but now I’m thinking it would look great. It won’t take long to do that, right?” and “I saw a website with Y. Can you quickly add it into my site?” then you might be falling prey to feature creep. The assumption that these changes will be quick and free is the real problem here. Your designer will probably be prepared for some changes and add-ins as your project evolves, but big add-ins, or many little ones, should incur an additional charge.

Your designer wants you to be happy so feel free to describe the changes you want and ask for add-ins if you need them. However, if it’s a big change or a lot of smaller changes, bear in mind that you should be paying for it.

7. Partnership

Just like any other good professional, your website designer will want you to be happy with the product they deliver. However, you play a central part in that process. You need to build a strong partnership by describing what you want your website to look and feel like. Encouraging strong communication will let the planning and website design process work well so you can get your dream website.

Here at A La Carte Web Services, we can provide you with expert website design services for your small business. Contact us to find out more.

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