Top Tips For Working With A Professional Web Designer

When you want to commission a new website or a refresh of your existing design, it’s important to make sure that you choose the right company to work with. When it all goes right, it can open the door to a brilliant new shop front for your business that drives more traffic and boosts growth and sales.

However, mistakes can be costly and time consuming to put right, so it’s best to make sure that you think carefully about what you want to get the best possible results. Here are some tips to help the whole process go smoothly.


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Put together a clear brief

The most important step to getting what you want out of the project is to plan out the core essentials of what you want. There may be some elements that you are willing to leave open to the designer’s suggestions or interpretation, but make sure that the basic requirements are clearly stated with no room for ambiguity.

If you are starting from scratch, this stage will need some careful thought. It is helpful to start by defining the purpose of the website. What will your visitors primarily be trying to achieve? For an ecommerce site, it will be purchasing products. However, they may also be researching different products, and looking for information on how to use them.

Useful and relevant information for your customers helps to raise your visibility in search engines, because it affords a wider reach in terms of keywords and other factors used by algorithms to rank websites.  

To achieve the best structure for your website, think about which are your most popular or best selling products or services, so that the design and development team can make sure that these pages are prominent and easy to navigate to. If you have a lot of content, it might be better to create subcategories or even split it into separate pages.


Give brand identity guidelines

The brand identity refers to the design elements that are used consistently throughout the business, such as the logo, the colour scheme, the fonts, the tagline, and the tone of voice. If you want the site to align with an existing brand identity, make sure that the designer has clear guidelines to follow.

If you are a new business and have not yet established a brand identity, start by thinking about the core values of the company, and what message you want to convey. Who is your target audience in terms of age, socioeconomic status, gender, interests, occupation, and so on? Think about what will appeal to them.

You can take a look at the websites of competitor companies to see if your ideas will fit in well within your sector. If there are any particular examples of websites that you like, you can include these in the brief, stating what you think works well about them.


Keep the lines of communication open

Once you have commissioned your designer or developer, it’s important that you keep the communication going. While a competent team should be able to get on with the job, the more detail they have about what you want, the better the result will be. 

Along the way, the team will ask you to provide content, such as copy and product descriptions, and photographs, graphics, or videos. Make sure that these are ready on time to avoid any hold ups in the project.

When writing the copy, research your keywords to include for SEO purposes. At this stage, you should also commission legal pages setting out your cookie and privacy policy, terms of use, and other legal issues pertinent to your customers. 


State your budget and timescale

Once you have nailed down the essence of the website, it’s time to make sure that what you want can be realistically achieved within your budget and timeframe. The cheapest option is not always the best as this will probably result in a site with limited functionality and features, that will not hold up competitively in the online marketplace. 

Also consider if you want an ongoing maintenance service to make sure that all the content is kept up to date. This might be a consideration for a large ecommerce site, where the products are added or removed frequently. It is also important to ensure that the site is regularly updated with all the latest security features. 

It can be more economical in the long run to invest in the routine maintenance of your website than to allow it to become outdated, which in today’s fast paced technological world can happen within 12 months. 


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