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Designing a website can be a daunting (and expensive) task. While a good designer can lead you through the process, if you don’t know the goal of you website or blog you could end up with something that doesn’t work for you. And that would be a disappointing waste of money.

These are a few questions to ask yourself before meeting with a designer (or me! I design websites, remember?), in order to have a productive meeting and a profitable website.

What do you like?

What are you favorite websites and why? These don’t have to be in your industry. If you don’t like any of the websites in your industry, that’s fine. Maybe you like the way a menu bar functions on a certain website, or the bright and airy look of lifestyle blogs, or the font combination on a site. Try to figure out what exactly you like about these favorites and incorporate them in your site.

What don’t you like about other websites? It’s just as important to tell a designer what you DON’T want, so they don’t accidentally create a website that is not what you’re looking for. You want your website to represent you and your brand, so you should LOVE it.

The more information you tell them up front, the fewer revisions the designer will do. Of course, you designer will provide advice on best practices, because maybe your favorite colors just won’t work or fa font is actually illegible… so listen to the designer, but make sure you’re prepared to give direction on what you love.

What are you selling?

This might seem like an obvious question, but your website needs to direct customers exactly where they need to go. So if you want them to visit your store, you need to have the location on every page. If you run promotions or seasonal items, you’ll need a spot on your home page to display those for customers to find right away. If you want customers to view a gallery, have links to that throughout your site.

For example, a future bride looking for a florist will want to see galleries of previous weddings to determine if the style matches her wedding. Same thing for bakers and photographers and so many different industries.

Think like a customer and figure out what they’re looking for from your website.

The prettiest site is useless if it doesn’t lead customers and clients to buy something: you need to know exactly what you’re selling.

Who is your customer?

Will you be reaching people locally? Or will you be able to sell to clients all over the world? Will you need an online shop for your items? Do you want one in the future?

Your ideal client is crucial for designing a website. You can find many questionnaires online to help you determine the client: here’s one from Infusionsoft… Bring this information to your designer meeting and they’ll love you!

This will guide the direction of your website, the SEO throughout, and even your social media goals. For example, maybe Pinterest isn’t necessary for your brand because you’re only selling within your neighborhood: Pinterest attracts customers from anywhere, so they’ll probably leave your site as soon as they get there.

Will your site have a blog?

The answer is yes, or at least someday. You web designer will need to set up the location and details for the blog. If you plan on having one (which you should if you read this post), then you need to let them know.

Sometimes this page isn’t called a blog: on one website, I labeled it “Resources,” because the information was educational. However you choose to use it, you need to figure out where it is on the website and what you call it

In conclusion:

This is such a brief overview to get you thinking about your new website. However, if you even start the process to answer these questions, you’ll be ahead of most new clients.