5 Things I Need From You Before I Can Design Your Squarespace Website
When it comes to designing a website, there are many moving parts. It’s not a one-way street where either the designer does everything how he/she wants or the client gives strict instructions for every tiny detail of how the website will look.
From my experience, it’s a partnership.
There are various items that a designer needs from a client before the actual design process begins. Along with many other designers, I call these things “client homework.”
In my process, these items are due the day before design begins (at the latest). Some things are better to have completed before then so that my client and I can discuss them over video call.
It’s common for clients to book their projects a few weeks out so that they have enough time to gather all this information.
1. Branding style guide from former designer
If clients have worked with a graphic designer in the past to put together their logo, I’ll ask if they received a brand style guide that includes things like their color scheme and font selection so that these elements on the website stay consistent with their branding.
If a client only received a logo, then I will offer suggestions on a color palette and font options within the website design process.
2. Design questionnaire
I send this form to my clients after they’ve signed a contract and completed their deposit. It asks things like the style they’re looking for, what emotions they want the website to convey, competitors, website inspirations, certain design elements they may want on their blog page, and the colors that represent their brand (if they don’t already have this).
3. Pinterest board
I recommend this for both my brand design and Squarespace website design clients. I ask that they set up a secret Pinterest board and fill it with 15-20 pins of colors, fonts, and photos that correlate to their brand and the emotions they want it to evoke. It’s also useful to search for Squarespace website design inspiration.
I used to do this for clients and given the right circumstance (they’re older and don’t know how to use Pinterest), it makes sense. But now I have my clients do it themselves so that I’m receiving photos that inspire them, not photos I think they’re inspired by. For clients that have never used Pinterest, I provide them with a video walkthrough of how to set up a secret Pinterest board, find pins, add descriptions, and share it with me so that I can access it.
This is extremely helpful when it comes to designing the website, especially if they add on a service for finding stock photos for the website.
Looking to put together a new Pinterest board for your brand or website? Check out my free email course below!
4. Website copy
Contrary to what some newbie business owners might think, website designers do not write the copy for you. Typically, that is an additional service.
Or you can hire a copywriter who specializes in your field.
Another option I give my clients is access to content planners that I provide via Google Drive. They includes prompts and formulas for the most common pages on a solopreneur website - homepage, about, services, testimonials, contact, etc.
If clients are going to upload copy separately from the content planners, I still have them upload it to a Google Drive folder.
5. Website photos
Do I need to hire a professional photographer for my website?
This is a very common question among new business owners.
The answer is no. Let me explain…
When you’re first starting out, you should have at least 2-3 professional-looking photos of you. Personally, I had my mom take a couple headshots of me using my dad’s Canon. With today’s technology, you could probably get away with using an iPhone photo.
But it shouldn’t be a selfie with part of your face cut off. Sounds silly to point out, but I see this with so many new female solopreneurs on their about page.
For the rest of the photos on your site, you have three options:
Carefully select stock photos from various websites that have a similar aesthetic and feel
Purchase a selection of stock photos from a site like Creative Market
Pay an additional fee to have your website designer find stock photos for you
Finding photos with a similar aesthetic is harder than you might think. Every photographer has his/her own style, so even though two photographers are taking photos of laptops and coffees, they could still look very different.
Once you become an advanced business owner, build your client base and bring in some $$, then it’s time to hire a photographer. But it is in no way a necessity when you are just starting out.
So, to wrap this all up, here’s a quick list of what you’ll need before working with me:
Branding style guide (optional)
Looking to have your Squarespace website built out?