February 20, 2022

I hear it all the time from clients—working with a web designer is one of the most exciting parts about starting a business. I mean, maybe I’m biased, but who doesn’t love bringing a business to life on the internet?

It’s a glamorous life we lead. 🙃

However, all that excitement can lead to working with a web designer too soon. Before all the kinks have been worked out. Before you really know your business.

While it would behoove my bottom line to tell you that you’re ready at any stage, that’s just not always the truth. And web design is expensive, so we certainly don’t need to be throwing that money around before we’re ready.

Here are the 4 things you should have rock solid in your business before working with a web designer.

A Product or Service—and Proof of Concept, too!

First things first, you need something to sell! You need a product or service.

And not only do you need to know the product or service, but you really need proof of concept too. Do people like this thing? Have you sold it yet? Do you have testimonials or reviews to share?

And finally—you need to know the ins and outs of this product or service. For example, if you’re selling social media management: Do you know your process? Have you mapped out your packages and what they include? Do you know exactly how much it costs, and how many people you are able to take on per month?

If your answer to any of the above is no or not yet, you will want to turn around and start again.

This may all sound obvious, but you’d be shocked how many people think they can start without the fleshed out details.

In fact, this happens so often that I’ve actually built packages & processes for client’s services myself, when it was clear that they had no idea. (And it’s really, really, really not your web designer’s job to do that—please don’t put us in this position!)

Branding & Strategy

AKA, your ideal client. Do you know who they are?

You can’t have an ideal client without having a product or service. You can’t do branding without an ideal client. And you can’t do web design without branding.

It all goes together!

So, first things first, it’s important to have a detailed idea of your ideal client. Because as much as your business benefits you, it’s not for you. (With that said, it’s okay if you and your ideal client are similar! Especially in service-based business models, it is incredibly common to want to serve like-minded humans.)

Once you’re clear on your ideal client, you need branding that sells directly to them. A lot of website designers do branding as well (me me me!) so you may be able to do this all at once with your web designer. But many don’t, so do your research beforehand and make the best choice for you.

Photography and/or Videography

The holy grail—or, as many like to call it, brand photography.

As a web designer, there is no greater excitement than when someone has great photography. I actually think it’s the first and most important thing you can invest in for your business (and you can read more about why I think that here).

But really—without photography, your services are going to live on a blank website. Your audience will have zero reason to keep scrolling down the page. And your web designer will have been a huge waste of money.

If you’re between photography and web design and your budget only allowed for one, I’ll tell you to pick photography every time.

Website Copy and Brand Messaging

Copywriters are oftentimes as big of an investment as website designers are, which definitely gives people pause.

I can just write it,” people think. And oftentimes, they’re right.

Buuuuuuut, I’ve launched enough websites to know that clients who don’t work with a copywriter almost never launch on time. Some as many as 6 months to a year later. And when they do launch, oftentimes people are so riddled with insecurities about their own writing that they don’t feel confident in sharing it.

Writing your own website copy is a huge undertaking. Many web designers won’t even work with you without full website copy because it’s such a thing. I do work with people who want to write their own copy, however, I have a cutoff date of when it’s due.

So, while it’s not always required, it’s something to consider. If you’re not confident in your writing skills, then definitely budget to work with a copywriter. (And if you need a recommendation for one, I have a few on my resources page!)

Before Working with a Web Designer: Have Your Sh*t Together!

Too harsh? 😅 I say it with love, bestie.

But for real—when you’re just starting out (experimenting with your services, processes, learning about business ownership, etc), it might be best to start small. That can look like: growing your instagram or TikTok first, buying a template (shameless plug!!!), or creating a small & simple landing page yourself. You might also read this blog post I wrote about whether you should start with a template or go for custom design right off the bat.

But if you’ve got all the stuff I mentioned above, I would love to work with you on a custom web design project. Inquire here. 🙂

Hi, I'm Sarah Kleist.

Brand & web designer, personal brand strategist, and marketing educator obsessed with the power of connecting with audiences.



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