7 Essentials To Discuss Before Your Website Build

7 Essentials To Discuss Before Your Website Build

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Getting a website built can feel a bit daunting at the beginning, especially if you don’t know much about what the process with entail. Who do you hire to build your website? How much will it cost? What will you need to provide, and will it be a lot of work for you? Having a clear expectation from the beginning about exactly what is required from both web designer and client can make or break your experience during your website build.

If clients don’t really know what to expect during a website build, it can result in a lot of stalling, builds never really getting off the ground and projects taking ages to complete. Frustrating for both client and designer, to say the least!

After all this, the client is most likely left with a website that isn’t a true representation of them or their brand, and one that won’t be very effective for them. If it is really clear from the outset what is required, you’ll enjoy the process of your website build much more, and end up with a website that is going to work for you, make a difference to your brand and help convert your users into paying customers and raving fans. 

Here are the top items you would ideally have (or at least know you’ll need to look work on) before starting your website build or redesign:

1) Website domain name

Your domain name is the URL of your website (i.e. marissawaitecreative.com). You can purchase this with companies such as 123 RegGo Daddy or Namecheap. You simply enter the domain name you’d like to buy and you can see different options of prices depending on the suffix (i.e. .com, .co.uk, .org etc). All you need to do is purchase your domain name here and keep a note of your login details with whichever company you’ve bought the domain with.

2) Website hosting

This is where your website and its content lives online. Every website needs to be hosted somewhere! There are several different types of hosting, which you can learn more about here. If you decide to try and build your own site with a sitebuilder such as Wix or Squarespace, your hosting will be included in your monthly plan with them. There are many good hosting providers I’ve used, and would be happy to recommend some for you to investigate. Many web designers also have their own hosting packages where you can also host your site.

3) Logo/branding

If you’ve been around for a while, you’ll hopefully have a logo! Some businesses may be more likely not to have a logo, such as freelancers or musicians operating under their own name. However, having a good logo and branding to use no matter what industry you work in is really important; strong and consistent branding will help you stand out as well as convey familiarity and consistency to your consumers. You’ll be more recognisable and they’ll know what to expect from you. It will help you stand out! Your branding includes different aspects such as your logo, colour palette, personality, tone of voice, style and typography. When working on your branding, it’s also helpful for your website design to discuss some of your unique selling points so that you can make sure these are highlighted for your consumers. If you want to learn a bit more about branding and why it’s so important, you should check out this great article.

4) High quality images

The images you use can make or break your website. Poorly lit, blurry images taken on a mobile phone aren’t going to cut it for your website, or be anywhere near the resolution and size they need to be. Using stock photos is a good alternative, and there are plenty of different sites where you can find lots of great photos, such as Unsplash or Adobe Stock. The best thing you can do though, is to have professionally taken photos ready for your site build. Having photos taken specifically to portray your own work, product or service will make a huge difference in properly portraying your business, and this is also another strong aspect of your branding. People can usually tell if your site is built solely with stock images, or if you have your own photos that show exactly what you do.

5) Written content

Written content is a huge part of your website that will take a lot of thought and probably be the most time consuming. You can do this yourself or hire a copywriter to do it for you. There will be pros and cons to each! If you have the time and are comfortable, you are the best person for the job. No one will know your ideal consumer as well as you do, so you will know more than others exactly what to say to them and how to speak to them. When writing, it’s important to keep in mind some SEO optimisation points as well as who your ideal consumer is. This can feel like a really daunting task! A copywriter will be more of an investment, but can also be really worth it. With a copywriter, you’ll pay them a fee to take care of all of your written content for you. If you look around, you’ll be able to find someone who is well-experienced in your industry which will go a long way in making your copy perfect for your website.

6) Your goals

Knowing your goals for your website is really important. Do you want people to sign up to your mailing list? Book you to play a gig? Buy a service or product you offer? Choosing one main goal for your site is most effective, and this will help dictate what your calls to action, user experience, and website design should portray. If your email list is most important to you, you’ll want to have this on every page and also look at some different sing-up options across your site. When you know what your goals for your website are, it becomes a lot easier to create a website that will help you reach them.

7) Analytics 

There is a wide array of different analytics you can plug into the back end of your website so you can measure and track your consumers and see how effective your site is. Analytics are really important so that you can see what does and doesn’t work on your site, and use this to continuously improve your online presence. Google Analytics is usually the first tool people start with. It’s easy to set up and plug into your site, and in your dashboard you’ll be able to see tons of useful stats such as how many visitors are on your site, bounce rate, which pages are most popular, what percentage of your visitors are on mobile or desktop, etc. You can check out another great article here about some different analytical tools available that you can use for your site. 

 

In conclusion

Sometimes people don’t realise that even if you hire a web designer/developer to build your site for you, the best sites will be made when you take the time and effort to be involved in (and enjoy!) the whole process. Knowing ahead of time what you’ll need to have ready for your build will help give you a head start on the process and set you up for a more enjoyable experience.

 

Get in touch with me if you’d like to talk about working on your website together!

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Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

5 Reasons A Professional Website Is Important For Musicians

5 Reasons A Professional Website Is Important For Musicians

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Being a self-employed musician means you can have so many plates in the air at any given moment. You need to be amazing at your craft and continue to grow and practice (which takes tons of hours, if not years!), be able to market yourself properly to get more work, be active on social media, be out networking and making new connections, book and organise gigs and teaching, keep track of your accounting…the list is endless. You get what I mean though, and I think this line of work is often much more difficult than musicians get credit for.

In recent years, having a notable online presence and being active on social media have become increasingly necessary for booking gigs, wether at festivals and venues or with your ideal clients for their wedding. Bands who don’t have a website and social media channels (or badly built ones) are simply harder to sell. If you’re not online in a big way, you’re missing out on a huge part of your potential audience; you’re missing out on being front of mind with both people who would be paying to come and see your gigs as well as the people who are going to be booking you for those gigs.

Having a social media presence is equally as important (and I’ll get to that in a different post!), but to reach your audience and market yourself properly, you need to have a well built website.  A one-page site with a list of (hopefully not outdated) gig dates, a couple of nice pictures, and a link to bandcamp doesn’t really cut it anymore if you want to command attention, show people who you really are and what your music is all about.

Any easy website builder (the likes of Wix or Squarespace) will absolutely do in the first instance if you need somewhere to start and can’t afford to spend any money on your website. But for a small investment in yourself and your brand, there are many reasons why a professionally built website can be infinitely better. Here’s my top reasons why you should make the jump and invest in yourself:

 

1. You won’t have as many technical glitches.

With this I don’t mean only having techy issues while building your site, but free website builders can come with an array of technical issues such as being extremely slow (they are often all hosted on the same servers), having unprofessional domain addresses (and then asking you to pay a more premium price for a different domain name), and irrelevant adverts popping up across your site. All of these can affect how professional your site looks, how well it works for you, and other factors like your SEO rankings.

 

2. Your websites will rank higher for SEO.

SEO is essentially how Google and other search engines rank you in their search results. SEO is a huge field in its own right, but there are a several reasons using website builders can be bad for your site’s SEO. Speed is a huge factor; having a slow website is largely penalised by Google (and also makes people a lot less likely to stay on your site). Having a good website structure is also essential for good SEO rankings, and lots of website builders create one-page scrolling sites. Search engines love when your website is well organised with good data and site hierarchy! Depending on your web designer, you should also get some good initial SEO optimisation with your website build that you wouldn’t get otherwise should you try to use a free website builder.

 

3. It will be easier for your brand to stand out.

If you’re a musician, you’d better believe your brand is important! When you hire a professional web designer, they should discuss your brand with you before they build your site. This includes important aspects such as your tone of voice, photos, and colour palette. Your website should be your online home where you’re able to get these important aspects of your brand across to potential agents and your audience. You want people to visit it and feel like they know you! Using a template on a website builder that everyone else is using won’t be as effective a way to get this across.

 

4. You’ll be able to have all the extras and extensions that you could really use to your advantage on your site.

Ideally you’d have social channel integrations, mailing list signups, social sharing and a shop on your site. Many musicians these days use Bandcamp, which is an easy way to set up and sell your products online. However, Bandcamp charge 15% for digital sales and 10% for merch. As someone who is self-employed, wouldn’t you rather avoid that if you could? If you use a web designer who can build you an e-commerce shop, you’ll be able to manage your whole shop directly in your website’s CMS and the only percentage you’ll pay is a small amount to a company such as Stripe, which allows you to take payments online.

 

5. You won’t need to spend your time figuring out how to build a website.

These days it’s possible for almost anyone to spend a few days or weeks learning how to put up a quick one-page site to get their info out there and have something to link to from social media. When you’re self-employed, you most likely always have a huge to-do list. Why not let someone qualified take care of your site building for you? As the saying goes, time is money, and you should be spending your time practicing, planning the logistics of getting to gigs, and working on new music rather than sitting at your computer for hours on end trying to piece together a passable website.

 

To sum it all up…

I understand that even at a low price, paying for a website can seem a bit much for a one man band. There are certainly reasons why piecing together a quick site is appealing, and there will be pros to doing that as well. However, if you want to be taken seriously by others you shouldn’t worry about taking yourself seriously, and making a small investment in yourself and your work. If you want to get ahead of the game and have a notable online presence, a well designed website will help you standout both to agents and audiences alike.

Get in touch with me here to have a no-obligation chat or get a free quote for your site. I’d love to hear from you!

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Hey! I’m Marissa, a freelance web designer and digital marketer. I love working with clients to take the overwhelm out of getting their business online. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look at my blog!

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