You’re staring a blank screen. You know you need your website – people need to be able to find you on the web – but you just aren’t sure where to start or how to do it. It’s time to hire a contractor. Before you sign an agreement and get started, though, you’ll need the answer to the following question: are you looking for a brainstormer or an implementer?
Brainstormer: You’re not sure what to call your site. You don’t have a URL yet, and you’re stuck trying to figure out what it should be. You want to make sure that your brand has longevity, but you’re new to the industry and aren’t sure what that means yet.
Brainstorming Tip: If you’re on the fence, brand under your name. You won’t get tired of it, and it’s not going to get outdated. 5-10 years ago, many people in the wellness industry branded with the term “skinny.” Using “skinny” as a synonym for wellness has fallen out of style, so many of these professionals are having to rebrand.
Implementer: You have your brand name and URL ready, even if you haven’t purchased your domain yet. You know what you’d like to be called and have some idea of what your colors and logo might look like.
Implementation Tip: Even if your brand name is not your own name, purchase your name as a URL. You can redirect it to your brand’s site or simply keep it as an empty URL in case you need/want it.
Brainstormer: You are still trying to figure out what age, gender, socioeconomic status, and lifestyle your target audience has. You may know the answer to some of these questions, but you haven’t distilled down the answers into one ideal client avatar.
Brainstorming Tip: If you have a solid product or service to offer, work backward from the product/service outcomes to determine your client avatar. What is the result of using the product? Who might need that result?
Implementer: You know who your target audience is, you just need help reaching them. You have a clear vision of who you’d like to engage with, but you need help reaching them in effective ways.
Implementation Tip: Find out where your target audience spends time. If you’re part of your target audience demographic, engage yourself in questioning. Show up where they hang out. Get ready to pitch yourself.
Brainstormer: You don’t yet have a clear idea of your own voice, or you’re not super comfortable writing your own content (you may need a content writing implementer for this piece…we recommend Blair Badenhop!). You are stuck on a tagline or need help finding adjectives to describe your business and your brand.
Implementer: You’re comfortable creating your own content or have begun a relationship with a content writer who can help you. You may still need someone to edit and/or proofread your work, but you have a clear path for content development. You have ideas of a direction for your tagline and have specific adjectives to describe your brand and what you want out of your website and content.
Brainstorming/Implementation Tip: When considering your content, you want to be as clear as possible about your needs before choosing your contractor. Do you need a full-service copywriter, a judicious editor, or a proofreader?
Full-Service Copywriter: A full-service copywriter will work with you to create the content for your website. Many copywriters use audio or video interviews and conversations to learn about your business and master your voice. If you feel like you don’t know what to say, you struggle to get your ideas down on paper, or you’re just too busy to sit down and write, a full-service copywriter may be right for you.
Judicious Editor: A judicious editor will work with you to edit content you’ve created to ensure that it’s comprehendable, consistent, and professional. Editors will look for spelling and grammar errors in addition to developmental issues that may need to be addressed. If you feel able to write a first draft but need another set of eyes to help you get your point across, an editor is probably what you’re looking for.
Proofreader: If your content is ready to go but you want to protect yourself from errors (let’s face it, proofreading your own work is difficult!), a proofreader will check your content for spelling, grammar, and style errors. Proofreaders will not make developmental suggestions or generate new content. If you’re happy with your content and want to ensure its accuracy, hire a proofreader.
Brainstormer: You know you want something that will embody your brand, but you don’t know where to start. Looking at other websites online both excites you and triggers some serious choice paralysis. You need someone to walk you through design choices step by step. A brainstormer for design will help you create that vision.
Brainstorming Tip: If you’re having trouble nailing down design ideas, look to your wardrobe. What kind of clothes do you wear? Are you more of a modern, tailored fit or a relaxed, bohemian style? What colors do you wear the most? How is your home decorated?
Implementer: You’ve got an idea of your design’s direction, with a color palette and adjectives to describe your design. Everything may not be specifically chosen yet, but you’ve got the vision. An implementer for design will workshop your vision with you and turn it into reality.
Implementation Tip: Create a Pinterest board! Pinterest is an excellent tool for design brainstorming and can be incredibly helpful to your contractors.
For SEO, you’ll often find a brainstormer and an implementer in the same contractor. If you’re looking for true SEO optimization, look to an expert; after all, a jack of all trades is a master of none. Many true SEO experts focus solely on SEO in their business, and some have Master’s Degrees. When it comes to working with a developer on your site, some may claim SEO expertise while others don’t. It’s important that your developer is able to speak coherently about SEO and build your site to be SEO friendly, if not fully SEO optimized.
SEO Friendly: All developers should create sites that are SEO friendly. In an SEO friendly website, the basic code is optimized – there’s one H1 on every page, and the title, metatags, and titles are in your header so that content is registering in the page tab and on Google. An SEO friendly developer will also ensure that alt tags are available (and show you how to input them) and can recommend popular SEO plugins and tools to add to your site.
SEO Optimized: True SEO optimization is a lengthy, involved process. An SEO expert will review all of your content, research similar businesses with high rankings, find keywords and longtail keywords that might help your page rank, tweak all of your copy to account for those keywords, add alt tags to every image, and do anything else they can to get you ranked #1 for those keywords.
If you’ve got your road map and you just need someone to drive the car, you’re looking for an implementer. If you’ve got a car and a general direction, but you don’t know your route or even where your exact destination is, you’re looking for a brainstormer. Many designers and developers work as part brainstormer and part implementer, including me! If you have questions about the kinds of services we can provide to meet you where you are, CONTACT US today.