10 Things to Prepare to Launch Your Website ASAP
You probably need your website launched ASAP, right?
This article will help make that happen.
You have the choice of either following this on your own or hiring a developer to walk through each part with you.
Why This Article Exists
Your web developer is most likely a total badass, but they are neither a mind reader nor an employee of your business. So before you hand over the task to them, you have a little bit of prep work to do. You’ll need to equip them with the info and files they need to make a website that you’ll love.
Together, you and your web developer will define what “Done” looks like in a Project Outline that both parties sign. This agreement exists so that:
You are given a fair and accurate price and timeline before the project begins.
The developer has a clear to-do list that they must follow to meet your needs.
The developer can know when a request lives outside of the pre-determined list (and therefore resulting in an additional charge), should you make any new requests during the process.
Both parties know when “Done” has been reached and can feel really good about it.
What You Need to Prepare
Before any work can begin, all content must be collected and finalized. It’s really inefficient to start and stop a project or make major changes to a strategy that’s in motion. This will prevent additional costs and deadline extensions, which I’m sure you’d like to avoid.
1. Your Pitch
When you begin working with your web developer, they most likely won’t know anything about your business or (potentially) your industry, so if you need a fast turnaround, there are things you can do to help expedite the research phase of the process.
Begin by writing down how pitch your business to customers or investors. Cover points similar to these:
What does your business do?
Why did you start it?
What’s the industry like?
What problem(s) are you trying to solve?
What sort of personality or vibe does it have?
What’s in the business’ future?
Your web developer can’t determine your business’ strategy, mission, personality, or future goals for you; but they can display everything you’ve built in a really beautiful, organized, and compelling way.
2. Business Information
Pull together everything that a customer might need to know. Such as:
Hours of operation
Before you get granular and write copy or have imagery made, focus on the bigger blocks. What are all of the topics that need to be covered on this new website? If you aren’t sure what should be on your site, you can take a look at our Sections suggestions.
To explain some vocabulary: Websites are made up of Pages, which are filled with Sections. Each Section has its own topic and layout style. Your developer can help you determine the best way to lay out your Sections across the Pages so that it tells your story in the best way.
Don’t forget to include forms (contact form, job application, etc), third-party features that you want, and legal policies that need a presence on the site.
Determine if you want to provide all of the copywriting for the website or hire a developer to do it for you. If you’re the writer, take a look at your Sections list and begin writing about each topic. If you’re passing on the task, make a note with important details (or random thoughts) about each topic so that the writer knows just what to do. The copywriting phase must come to an end before the web development begins.
5. Logo Files
If you already have a logo, the developer will need a file with a transparent background (file types like .PNG, .PSD, .AI, .PDF, .EPS, and .SVG). If you only have “.PNG” files of your logo, find the largest one (width/height) that you have. If you have a large file or multiple files, put them into a folder on a file sharing service (Dropbox, Drive, etc). If you’ll be hiring a developer to make a logo for you, make a note with ideas, things you love, and things you hate. Not giving proper direction can lead to additional rounds of revision.
If there are images that need to have a presence on the website, put those into a folder on a file sharing service (Dropbox, Drive, etc). If you’re providing a large pool of images to a developer to choose from, be sure to make a note of the ones you really want to see used. If you will be hiring a developer to find stock images or create custom graphics, jot down a description of what you’re imagining.
Sometimes it’s easier to write down things that you don’t want compared to what you do want. It’s important that you be clear about your intentions, your likes, and your dislikes. Avoid the “I’ll know it when I see it” nonsense unless you’re willing to spend some $$$.
8. Domain Name
If you’re a brand new business, you will need to pick a domain name for your website. Find an available domain that you like, purchase it, and set up your new account (Godaddy, Namecheap, etc). Avoid adding dashes or choosing too long of a name. Your developer can also help you determine a domain name.
9. Account Info
Collect the usernames and passwords for the accounts that you think are relevant to this project. For example, your hosting service (Wix, Wordpress, etc), domain service (Godaddy, Namecheap, etc), Instagram, OpenTable, and any other third-party provider that you use. Decide if you’re going to handle everything yourself (cancel hosting, connect domain name to new website, etc) or pass the login information to the developer to handle for you.
10. Squarespace Hosting
We always recommend Squarespace as the platform that businesses build their new websites on. Take a look at Squarespace’s Plans to determine which subscription best fits your needs. If you want things like custom code, special features, or the ability to run ad campaigns on Google or Facebook, you’ll want the Business Plan. If you don’t need any of that or an e-commerce section, the Personal Plan should be just fine.
All of our clients receive 20% off their first Annual Plan payment.
Setting up your website is a lot like opening a new retail store or office. There’s a lot that goes into it!
Preparing everything that’s listed above will be crucial whether you choose us or another team to build your new website.