The other day I shared with you some tips on hiring your next web developer.
That's step three. But don't rush to hire someone before you prepare yourself.
It's true that I told you that it was important to have a budget, be ready to share it, and to have a clear sense of your objectives for the site.
Step three is critical. But there's another step that is equally critical.
The other day I also told you how to find your own voice, and to find your own story. It's a critical part of knowing what job your website will do for you.
Call that step one.
As you can see, after you find your voice and before you hire your next web developer, there is step two that I think is really important, but far too often ignored.
What it's not…
I bet you're thinking that step two is something like coming up with a great design for your site. After all, a lot of people I know show up to developers with nice PSDs (I know, I've done the same thing).
But that's not it.
Maybe you're thinking it's talking to prospective customers to get a better handle on talking points, messaging, or blog topics. But your site should be an authentic reflection of who you are, not simply what you think others want to hear from you.
So no, that's not it.
Those are practical things that could help, but they're not essential.
Maybe you're thinking is the production of all your content – because developers hate folks who show up without any content (It's true, I get a bit frustrated when I work on a site but have no idea what kind of content will come, and when delays push out launches because there's not content).
But that's not it either.
Figuring out your lower case “b” brand
Now, to be clear, I'm not talking about brand with a capital B. I'm not talking about the official work that agencies do. I'm positive that's fantastic stuff but it's often very expensive.
No, I'm simply talking about the simple work that challenges you to marry a few things together:
Your promise + Your style + Your approach = Your brand
At the core of your site is the reason you exist. You should know what that is. You should know what you're trying to deliver – whether it's smiles, connections, products, or services. If you're good, you know how to express it in terms of destinations.
You should also know a bit about your personality. Not you but your company/site. Are you sassy? Are you fun? Are you intense? Are you to the point? Are you opinionated? These things help shape how others see and interact with you.
Even if you know your promise and your style, there are a lot of ways to get where you want to go. But you've chosen one particular path. That's your approach. Knowing why you do things the way you do them (your origin story, if you will), is a critical part of your brand.
The result is your brand (step two)
When this all comes together, you end up with a clear sense of who you are, which, combined with step one and step three, can help you clarify what's inside and outside of scope for your next website project.
Another site that recently got a refresh after doing a lot of work is WP101.com – which has seen immediate results in conversion (a clear benefit of knowing who you are and what you do).
In fact, they're working with AppSumo to create a once-in-a-lifetime promotion to showcase their new site and bring on new customers.
Now, I'm going to guess that if you all hit up my friend Chris over at Creativity Included, she will run out of bandwidth. So here are a few other folks I know that can help you with some branding work, as they help you think about your new site or site refresh.
The great folks at Bourn Creative specifically do this work. And they're amazing.
My friend Ken and his team at BrandCo do this for tons of folks – and they're all happy.
Rebecca and her team at Web Savvy Marketing bring the perfect mix of branding, marketing and web development to your project too!