Give your customers an experience they’ll want to come back for
For lots of people, especially those who’ve never had a website for their business before, building one can seem like magic.
Maybe not Hogwarts and Hagrid kind of magic, but a mysterious world with words that sound like spells, and plenty of wizardry going on behind the scenes.
Let them sit back and enjoy
Any web designer knows that a build is anything but ‘abacadabra’. There are so many elements that go into producing a beautiful, functional website, and there’s a lot to coordinate.
But your client is coming to you for the experience as much as the end result, so it’s important for this experience to be smooth, simple and rewarding. Like magic.
After all, they don’t need to know about the intricacies – they just want an epic website for their business.
We decided to talk to someone who knows what they’re talking about. We caught up with web designer, Tonia, from Crisp Graphics, who has been perfecting the juggling act for years now. She offers well thought out, creative design for brand identity, web, print and packaging.
3 ways to make website building a smooth ride
For Tonia, providing her clients with an exceptional web building experience is all about making things simple and streamlined for them.
“A full website package can involve everything from coding and developing to content, imagery and SEO,” says Tonia, and explains that for a really great website, there are about 10 experts in their field needed to bring it all together.
“One thing I’ve learnt over the years is that for most clients, if you ask them to bring you something themselves, they won’t! They’ve approached you because they want someone to do it for them.”
1. Put on your director’s hat
Tonia says she normally steps into the role of project manager, coordinating the different partners and their elements as well as doing the design.
Of course, many of her clients have no idea just how much is involved behind the scenes.
2. Educate your clients
“Non-web-designers naturally won’t understand everything that goes into designing a site, especially a site that gets results for their business, so it’s about educating your clients and then working to get those results,” says Tonia.
This involves walking them through all the elements (and experts) needed to pull a website together, and then working out together what are the most crucial parts for them.
3. The personal touch
As in any walk of life, and particularly when building a creative project, communication is key. Tonia always prefers to sit down initially with her clients for a face-to-face workshop.
“If someone is serious about their website, they’ll generally be keen for a face-to-face with their web designer. And from a sales point of view, if you have a sit down, 9 times out of 10, you’ll get the job,” she says.
With so many hands involved, communication with contributing partners is also crucial. Tonia prefers to act as a single point of contact to keep things under control for her clients.
“I make sure I’m always dealing directly with them, and make sure they’re not having to deal with lots of different people. It’s all about making it really easy for them.”
Bringing both sides of your brain together
Offering design for brand identity, web and print, Tonia says she gets a balance of both creative and ‘process-based’ work.
Because she has strengths in both areas, she enjoys the balance. “Working with people to really get to the essence of their brand identity is obviously very creative, and then when it comes to the web design, it can get very technical,” she says.
Whether you naturally lean to one side or the other, it’s important as a web designer to build up strength in both, to be able to offer your clients a full package.
The most important service you can offer your clients, though, according to Tonia, is helping them to discover their brand identity.
Branding is everything
For Tonia, this is one of the most rewarding parts of her job as a web designer. She loves seeing the joy that her clients get from both uncovering the true essence of their brand, and seeing it brought to life.
“I see a website as the most essential expression of a business’ brand,” she says. After all, it’s 2019. While the need for business cards and packaging exists for some businesses, having a website has become non-negotiable.
Become a branding wizard and get to the essence
An example of a powerful brand identity process that springs to mind for Tonia is a client she’s working with at the moment. “Their initial idea was based on their main competitor, whose design was bold, bright and very creative in an abstract way,” she says.
But, Tonia explains, when they actually sat down at the brand identity workshop, they figured out together that their customer was very different to that of their competitor.
“The customer was eco-minded, and wanted to make virtuous and wise purchasing decisions, and their branding had to change completely to accommodate that.”
Following your own path as a web designer
Having won the RocketSpark Website of the Year in 2018 (for the Tasty Pot Co website), Tonia is a great source of advice for new designers.
“Don’t compare your journey with others,” she says. “Business, design, life, it’s all your own journey and everyone is at different stages. Just accept where you are and keeping moving forward.”
It’s important not to be in a rush, which means taking your time to find each client’s unique brand identity.
A word to the wise
When asked what web design might look like in the future, Tonia again emphasises the importance of branding.
“There are so many tools coming out allowing people to build their own websites, which is awesome, but that doesn’t get to the essence and values of the brand and the business.”
Something which business owners will always need help with (and where you have a chance to wave your magic design wand) is in finding and giving voice to their brand identity.
Start by helping your clients to discover what truly drives their business. Then, you can bring this to life with both design that shines and the killer talent of your network of partners.
This way, like magic, you’ll have dazzling websites and delighted customers.