As Wedding and Event Planners most of us won’t have business premises from which people can walk into off the street. It is one of those wonderful businesses that can be run from home without the need of huge overheads. That being the case how then does one get noticed? How do people find you and how do you show people what you have to offer? Well in the day of advanced technology we all know that the only way to survive these days in business is to have a website. And that is where many people make or break their business.
Your website essentially becomes your shop front. It is the first impression people have of you and your business and it is where they make the decision whether or not to look into the possibility of you handling the biggest and most important event of their life. That’s a fair amount of pressure for one small website so to get it wrong would be business suicide. The hard part, of course, is that you are a professional wedding and event planner/small business owner/sales consultant/marketing coordinator/accounts clerk and many other things besides. Do you really want to add website designer to your list? Your answer should be a resounding NO.
I learnt a long time ago in business that my time equals money and as such, I needed to give myself an hourly rate of what I thought I was worth. Having done that it was time to put a value on all those things that needed doing within my business. I soon found there were areas of my business which I wasn’t very good at, areas which I knew would take me twice as long to do as what it might take a professional within that field. This meant I was better off to invest the money in a professional rather than spend more of my own time (and money if you equate that to my hourly rate). It doesn’t take a genius to do the maths and I took the same approach with my website.
Planning your wedding business website
I know nothing about HTML coding and I want it to stay that way. What I do know however is what I want my website to achieve, how I want it to look, the style it should have and the message it delivers. All these things are crucial. When you speak to a potential web designer he needs to have a full understanding on all of those things and more. To help you in your quest to create a website that reflects you and your business I have come up with 5 simple steps:
- What do you want from your website? Do you want to simply attract people to your services and get them to email you for your details? Do you want it to be an online brochure with all your prices up there? Or do you want potential clients to be able to book an appointment with you online so it is more like a diary management system? Until you know what you want from your website your designer doesn’t stand a chance.
- What style do you want your website to have? Now, this can be a difficult one so I have found that the best way to get the style you have in your mind across to your web designer is to give him/her 5 websites that you love and point out what you love about them. My advice would be to try and make sure that they have a similar style otherwise you will be sending mixed messages to your web designer and they will be unsure of what it is you are asking of them.
- What is your budget? Sounds simple I know but you’d be surprised how many people have put a figure to their project. This is essential because you may have some very fixed ideas on what you want your website to do but you may not have the budget to be able to incorporate them. Neither you or your web designer wants to spend hours on a design only to find you can’t afford it.
- What is the timeline of the project? Most designers will have a lead time of at least 2 weeks so you need to factor this into things. If you require a website quickly you will need to be prepared to pay a little extra for a rush job.
- Check out your designer’s portfolio. This is an important step as it will show you the type of things they can do and may well give you some inspiration of your own. You can also tell your designer which of their styles you like and how you would like to incorporate this into your own design.
Whatever you decide to do my biggest piece of advice is to make sure you really think the design through from start to finish. Draw up a plan in the same way as you would for your marketing. I have always had a basic map drawn out of what I want and what I am trying to achieve. My web designer loves it as it gives him a very clear path to follow and there is no problem with miscommunication.