What to Do Before Designing & Launching Your Website

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Getting ready to launch your new website to the world is scary & exciting at the same time. So the last thing you want to do is forget something like making sure all of your links work. Cause that would be the virtual equivalent of toilet paper on your shoe right?

It’s often tempting to put off publishing your website until design is perfect—BUT the worst kind of website is the one that’s not live on the internet aka. it’s not working for you since no one can see it.

So in this blog post, I’m going to go over how to get your website launch ready so that it’s primed and ready for your ideal clients to see.

4 Things to do before designing your website

Before we even get started with your website launch we need to talk about the design, or rather what you need to do before designing your website. <<< And doing these things will help you launch faster so it’s #winwin

Write Your Website Copy

I bet you thought I was going to say find your color palette or something design-related—BUT nope. Your website copy MUST MUST MUST dictate the design of your website. Repeat after me: “Your work does not speak for itself”. <<< You need words to tell people how awesome your work is.

Designing your website first is the digital equivalent of buying your furniture before measuring the room. Think about it. Buying a house, measuring the size of the rooms, plotting out what color schemes and then making a list of the furniture size before buying any furniture makes way more sense than the other way around. And let me tell you your website works the same way.

I can talk all day about how you need a pretty AND strategic website—but if your website doesn’t have good copywriting it’s not really going to matter. Your website words will help you show and tell the story of how someone can work with or buy from you. And your copy should dictate the design of your website because the design should be working towards getting people to read your website copy. And it’s easy and better for that to come second. Otherwise, you’re likely to try and shove words into the section you designed and end up with crammed and lackluster website words.

If you using a website template (which I highly recommend), most of them (mine do) come with some sort of prompts in sections to help you write your website that you can follow along. And you should write your website copy before editing your template. Most designers (or at least I do this when I’m designing Showit templates) will keep copywriting best practices in mind when creating a website template so don’t be afraid to use the layout of your template as inspiration. Just don’t get married to the design exactly as it is because you’re probably going to have to change it a bit to make it unique for your website words.

Why I Recommend Website Templates

You don’t need to be intimidated by having to write your website copy before launching your website. You just need the right tools in your toolbox to get it done. So if you’re like most creative entrepreneurs my guess is you probably loathe writing copy for your website? If so, you should check out Copywriting for Creatives which can help you write ALL of your website copy in 30, 60 or 90 days.

Copywriting for Creatives Review

My Favorite Website Copy Templates from The Copy Bar

Choose a Color Palette & Font Selection

Unpopular opinion: you don’t need to have a full brand identity before your website launch. But that being said, you do need to find a color palette and fonts for your website before you start designing it.

For website color palettes, I usually prefer 8 colors—but aim for at least 5. You should have one shade of white, one shade of black and 3-6 other colors to go with them in light and dark varieties.

For fonts, only use 2-3 max. <<< Using more than that can make your website hard to read, which is not good. Also, avoid using script fonts for large amounts of text i.e. paragraphs.

Of course, you CAN work with a brand designer to create a completely custom brand identity for your business—BUT it’s not vital before launching your website. Another option is to find a brand designer who offers semi-custom brand kits, which usually are more affordable and you can see what you get before investing.

Why Your Website Needs to be Skimmable

How to Choose Website Fonts

How to Choose a Website Color Palette

Choose a Website Template & Walkthrough it

Okay, let me explain this one. Of course, as usual, you CAN work with a website designer and create a completely custom website. BUT I usually recommend using website templates instead.

If you decide to take that ^^^ advice—obviously you’re gonna need to choose a website template before you start designing your website. BUT not only that, before and after purchasing said template—you need to walk through ALL the pages included with the template and plot out how/when/if/in what way you’re going to use it.

For example, you might offer more than one type of service—but the template comes with only one services page so you need to plan on duplicating that page. Or maybe the website template has a bunch of sections for showcasing different freebies and you only have one—so you’ll need to plan on using these sections differently or deleting them.

How to Choose a Website Template

Gather Your Imagery (Photos & Videos)

Now it’s time to grab the imagery you’re going to use for your website. Again, yes, you can hire someone to take professional brand photos—you know that already. But if you’re on a tight budget or don’t have the time right now—you can get away with just a quality headshot and use stock images for the rest. <<< This is what I do right now.

When you’re selecting your stock photos and videos you need to make sure that they match your brand vibe—aka. your messaging + fonts & color palette.

How to Choose Photos for Your Website

6 Things to do before your website launch

Now it’s time to get ready for your website launch. I’ve got a 26-question checklist to help you with this but here are the main areas you need to worry about.

Check all of your website links & buttons

Literally, go and click through *every* *single* *place* where you’ve got a link on every page of your website. I know it’s tedious but it’s worth it. If someone lands on your website and can’t click through to the next page they need to get to—odds are they’re going to bounce off your website and go elsewhere.

How to Reduce Your Website Bounce Rate

Broken links (aka. links that don’t work on your website) can also negatively impact your SEO. Not good for obvious reasons. So make sure to check links leading away from your website (external links) and links that lead to your website pages (internal links).

Can you easily read all of the words on your website?

#hottake BUT if your website can’t be read it’s basically the equivalent of not having a website at all. This is one of the most frustrating things that can happen on a website. Not to mention the fact that it’s an accessibility issue.

So go and scan through your website and ask yourself: Can I read this without squinting? Make sure that your website colors have enough contrast and that you only use script fonts for shorter sentences, not full paragraphs. Also, make sure that your smallest font is at least 16-18 px (<<< Every font is different but this is a general rule of thumb. When in doubt make your px 2 sizes bigger.)

Is it easy to find your contact information?

The #1 reason a website will seem sketchy? Hard to find contact information. If I’m thinking about hiring someone for a service or buying products I want to know the basics of who I’m dealing with. At bare minimum, you need to link your contact page in the header (top of your website) and footer (bottom of your website). But you can also include your main forms of contact i.e. email address, phone number, etc. written out in the footer.

On your actual contact page, you should have a form for someone to fill out but you should also have:

  • Your Name
  • Email Address
  • Mailing or Physical Address (if applicable)
  • Phone Number (if applicable)
  • Social Media Links
  • Any Other Forms of Communication for Your Business

Website Contact Page Tips

Is it easy to understand how to work with/buy from you?

No one goes to a website to window shop. They go to a website with a specific problem that they need a solution for. And If someone can’t figure out what you do or how they can get it from you they will get frustrated and leave your website. That’s why you’ve gotta make it *crystal clear* what you do.

A quick way to check this? Have someone scroll through your website who has no idea what you do to see if they can figure it out.

Check your website on multiple devices

If you’re using a website platform like Showit you’ll be able to view your website on desktop and mobile as you’re designing it. BUT often times the editor will look a touch different than what it’ll look like on an actual desktop or iPhone. That’s why it’s important to check your website on at minimum 2 devices i.e a laptop and a phone. But if you can check it on more deice sizes than that great.

You can also use the inspect tool to view your website on different screen sizes. I’d personally do this even if you’ve checked your website on multiple devices.

Do you have call to actions on every page of your website??

Not having call to actions on every page of your website is BY FAR the biggest mistake I see on websites. You need to guide people who land on your website through a clear customer journey and call to actions are the bread and butter of making that happen. If you want someone to book a call with you…well…you’ve gotta ask them to.

Make sure that all of your call to actions use strong persuasive language like “get started now” and avoid using passive words like “learn more”.

Website Call to Actions 101

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