So you know you want to give your website and branding a facelift – that’s so exciting!
Tweaking your design to help you better attract your ideal clients is one of the best investments you can make (but don’t take my word for it).
The quality of your design speaks to quality of your work, experience, and overall process. The mission and “why” of your brand must be reflected in all of your visual elements.
It won’t surprise you, then, that there are several things you need before you tackle your branding and website design.
Without a foundational understanding of the core principles of your brand, you may find yourself rebranding multiple times to find the right fit. I want to help you find the perfect fit the first time around!
Before you start envisioning your design elements, let’s take a step back and talk about what you need to have prepared before you work with a designer.
Business name and tagline
Okay, this one may seem like a no-brainer, but it’s still worth mentioning! So much of your logo will be dependent on your business name so it’s important to have that first.
If you are having trouble coming up with a business name, I recommend brainstorming a list of words that describe your business vision and start combining them until you find a name that feels like a good fit.
You can start by listing:
- your core values
- words your clients or customers use to describe your experience or process
- frequently used adjectives you use in your writing or speaking
- words that are commonly associated with your business
Once you have your name, you can use the same words to create a tagline that fits your business. It should be concise, simple, clear, and memorable.
My short tagline is “creating bespoke brands and websites” and my longer tagline is “bespoke brands and websites for businesses that create fairytale days and capture magic moments” since my ideal client is wedding businesses. What will yours be?
Once you have your name and tagline, you can start to narrow down your niche. You’ve probably heard this term thrown around before but what in the world does it mean? Essentially, your niche refers to the position of your brand within your industry.
It goes deeper than just your industry so you can better stand out against competitors. You could say that my niche is custom Showit website designs while my client M Cake Design’s niche is custom, organic cakes for weddings and celebrations. Both of these examples are more descriptive than “web design” or “cake design”.
With your niche in mind, you’ll begin to envision who your target audience is. If you’ve been working with clients for a while, this may be easy to nail down. If you are just getting started, you may want to create an ideal client profile which will help you uncover the characteristics and demographics of who you are looking to serve.
If you need additional steps to understand the who, why, and what behind your marketing, I have a Ready to Launch Guide that will walk you through defining each of these elements in a step-by-step fashion. It’s so easy that you can complete it in a short weekend!
Knowing your differentiator is one of the most important things to have nailed down before we start designing. Without this, we’ll have a difficult time understanding how you want to position yourself in your already saturated market.
Your differentiator will help you communicate your value to clients, which will lead to more leads and bookings as you tweak your website and branding design. If you want to attract a more high-end bride, communicating your value will become even more crucial.
You have a great understanding of your brand foundation at this point, but now it’s time to move into what you need for your website design. The first step, naturally, is knowing how you want your website to be structured.
Are you looking to have one Work With Me page that details each of your services, or do you want separate website pages so you can take a deeper dive into each service? Do you want a separate Start Here page or would you rather use your homepage to resemble a Start Here page?
I can offer my suggestions as we solidify your website design package, but it’s good to think about this before we begin your project. That way we can quickly determine what will work best for your goals.
Once we know what website pages you want to have designed, it’s time to write your content! This can take some time, depending on what your current schedule looks like, so it’s even better if you get started on this before we talk about your project.
Like most designers, I’ll need content before I can start creating your website so having some of this initially done is the best way to go.
The finishing touch of your website design is in your brand photography. Your imagery is what makes your website pop. Just look at Alba Rose Photography and Heather Payne Photography – their imagery steals the show!
Even if you aren’t a professional photographer, you can still create stunning imagery that keeps your audience scrolling through your website.
If you have a concern with budget, you can choose from a collection of free stock photos, like Unsplash and StockSnap.io to name a few, although I always recommend investing in custom brand photography when possible. This allows you to create a custom, swoon-worthy look you won’t see on anyone else’s website.
Need more help with preparing for your design project?
This gives you a great place to start but you may want to get more in-depth with each of these areas. Instead of trying to come up with what you need all on your own, I’ve created an easy and comprehensive downloadable guide that walks you through each step.
These are all questions I ask my own clients as we prepare for our website design and branding projects. Whether you work with me, work with another designer, or decide to DIY your design, you’ll have a clearer vision entering the design phase once you complete the Ready to Launch Guide.
Click the image below to receive your copy of the Ready to Launch Guide!