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What to bring when asking a developer for a new website

8th July 2015

If you own a business or organisation which has a website, a time will come where you will need to revamp your website to keep up to date with modern trends and capabilities. Or maybe you don’t have a website yet, and you are investing in one for the first time.

There are a handful of things you will need to prepare before going to a web development company to give them the best possible start in the design and development process.

Sitemap

The sitemap is one of the fundamental parts of a website. If you’re unsure, a sitemap is essentially the list of pages you have, most commonly tiered into parent, child and grandchild pages.

The first page will always be Home – this is a necessity on any website. Nine times out of ten, there will also be an About Us and a Contact Us page. You will need to consider what other pages you will need – do you want to display your team members? Then you may want a Team page which sits under About Us. You will need to think about a first draft of pages which you will need on your website as this will help create the general structure of the website and navigation.

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Design source material

There are a few different ingredients in the ‘source material’ pot. One of the major ones are colour and layout preferences. If you already have company branding, ensure you provide the development company with your branding guidelines – this should include RGB/hex codes for your branding colours, fonts that should be used, logo requirements and sizes. If you do not have branding, you should put together some information of colours that you like, fonts that you like, other websites that you like the style of and any other specific design requirements. It’s also helpful for a designer to know things that you don’t like – this way they can avoid using particular colours or typefaces to reduce time in the refinement stage.

Content

This isn’t a must, but having content (or at least some) for your provided sitemap can really help when creating the designs and doing the actual development. This is because you will be able to see the site with real content in it, rather than filler text like “lorem ipsum dolor sit amet”. This will give the designs a bit more structure and you will get a better sense of what your website will look like as a finished product. This also includes images – the development company will most likely put temporary filler images in for the design process if you don’t have any of your own, however it’s a good idea to gather some to provide to the designers so that the website starts to reflect your company in the design process.

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Information of domains, e-mails and hosting

If you require the development company to host the website, domain name(s) and e-mails, you will need to know where your existing website (if you have one) is currently situated, and the general info on the above. You will need access to all of the above for the new company to be able to host the website, so make sure you are prepared with this information.

Functionality

You will need to be prepared in knowing what you want your website to be able to do. This may mean the ability to sell products online, or it may be something simpler like a contact form with specific fields for the user to fill out. These technical features will have time (and cost) implications, so will need to be clarified in the initial meeting or conversation. You will also need to discuss any chance for future technical updates (such as adding an e-commerce store after twelve months) as this will most likely have an impact on the content management system used.

In conclusion

We hope this guide has been useful for you – as a website development company, Cosmic knows how helpful it is in the early stages to have this information. It will help speed up the process somewhat if all of this information is provided early on and this prevents many potential stalls during the design and development process.

If you have any questions about websites, please contact Cosmic’s friendly web team on 0845 094 6108, or drop us a tweet @Cosmic_UK!