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Intentional Design for small businesses

design by layne

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Checklist: What You Need to Have Before Building Your Website

May 7, 2021

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You sit down at your desk, ready to get to work. You pull up your web builder, excited to bring your vision to life. And… boom. You hit a wall. You have no idea what you need to have to get started.

On top of not being sure how to organize the content, you aren’t even sure what content you should have in the first place.

Here is a checklist

that I have created to make sure that you can compile everything you need BEFORE the design process.

Why is this important?

Creating our content while we design is a recipe for disaster. There is nothing that can interrupt your creative flow for design than not knowing what to put where or how to say it. And there is not that can interrupt your content creation more than thinking about how you want to design something.

These two things should be done separately and in the correct order.

Here is the order of operations I like to practice with clients and why it is the most efficient way I have found so far.

ONE: Determine your brand

Starting off with the brand creates a really helpful foundation in creating everything else. And while I love colors, fonts, and design elements, determining your brand is SO MUCH MORE than that.

It’s about who you serve, the problems they face and the solution you can offer.

It’s about your core values and how you want to show up in the world as an entrepreneur.

It’s about the pillars of content you will follow so you always know how you can address the things your dream clients are struggling with.

Ultimately, it is less about how you and your work looks, and more about the value it brings.

See the blog Niching Down with Your Ideal Client Profile for more on this.

Ask Yourself:

What am I best at where can I deliver results successfully and with repetition?

Who are people that you not only would love to work with, but would see a lot of value in what you are sharing? Get specific (more on this later)

THEN…

Reach out to people in this demographic. Make sure that they have the problem that you think they do. Don’t make an assumption and create a whole business, brand, website, and service that revolved around solving a problem you only thought they had.

TWO: Create the branding

Okay NOW you can think about pretty colors and fonts 🙂

The Pinterest Exercise: Remember to keep your dream client in mind during this process

  1. Create a fresh board with the name of your business as the title

  2. Chose 2-3 pins of color palettes in the same family that you love

  3. Choose 2-3 pins of fonts/font pairings

  4. Choose 8-10 images that represent the vibe. How do you want people to feel when they look at your work? Will this feeling apply to your dream client (a.k.a who you are serving?)

All of my clients go through this process before we design anything. This gives me a clear idea of what they are wanting.

THREE: Schedule a photoshoot or take some pictures

If you are choosing to work with a photographer, it can take some time to schedule, get the shoot done, and then for the photographer to go through their editing process. This is why I recommend getting the shoot on the books as early on in the process as possible.

After you know the look and feel you are going for, then it’s a lot easier to choose your photographer and also explain to them what your needs are.

If you are taking the photos yourself, I recommend a tripod, and some GREAT lighting. Weather that be natural or through using a ring light. I plan on doing some research on taking your own website photos so that I can provide more resources on the topic soon.

FOUR: Write your copy

This is where messy action is king. Or queen depending on what your preference is.

It’s so easy to get swept up in the overwhelm or perfectionism of it all. By just focusing on who you are serving, diving in, and getting it done, you are in a much better place than if you spend weeks or months trying to find the absolute perfect words. People get stuck here a lot and for that reason I have created my free copywriting guide that walks you through the whole process.

You can also find helpful resources in other blog posts here:

Building Your Bank

Ultimately the goal of all of this is to build your bank of content so that when you are designing, everything is already sorted and in one place.

There’s nothing quite like the buzz kill of being so excited to design but then running into roadblocks the whole way because the content gathering process wasn’t intentional.

Get clear on all of these things and the process becomes immensely easier after the fact.

 

Have questions? Schedule your free consultation.

  

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