Hi, I'm Ashlie. Owner and lead designer at Wolf & Willow Design! I'm a 12 year corporate accountant turned full-time designer helping other small-business entrepreneurs chase their dreams. I'm also a wife, #girlmom, and Air Force veteran.
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Friends, we’ve come to the final topic in our Business Start-Up Series, and you guessed it… We’re talking about website design! Website design is where we take all of your captivating brand strategy, stunning brand assets, and scroll-worthy copywriting to create a gorgeous, high-converting website for your business.
We do this last over at Wolf & Willow because we believe that a solid brand strategy and design coupled with effective, personalized copywriting lays the foundation that a website design alone could never accomplish.
So without further ado, let’s talk about all things web design!
A: While this question may seem obvious, I find it surprising how many people have misconceptions about what professional website designers do.
In short, a website designer is responsible for creating the structure and designing the content of your website. A well-designed website not only looks great but also should help drive online traffic to your business.
One of the most common myths about website design is that it’s all about aesthetics. While the aesthetic is crucial, our job isn’t as simple as throwing together a pretty design. There’s so much more that’s happening behind the scenes in creating a high-converting website. (That’s where the strategy component comes in.)
A professional website designer should have a wealth of knowledge about web development, online marketing, and search engine optimization (SEO). They should also know current trends and marketing strategies. Plus, a good website designer will know how to take the strategy provided by a branding expert and copy written by the copywriter, and effectively bring your brand to life on a webpage.
Things to look for in a good website designer should include…
We come up with ideas about how we want visitors to interact with your website, what journey we want them to take, how we can best capture them, and how to nurture them so they stay on your website and book you.
As you can see, the beautiful design is just the cherry on top.
A: Web design is what your website looks and feels like to visitors. AKA what you can see.
Web development involves the functionality of your website and the elements that live on it.
In other words, web development is the code that builds the bones of the backend of your website. Before the days of front-end developers (we’ll touch on this in a moment), most websites were built by web developers proficient in CSS and HTML.
To see what that looks like, pick any open tab on your browser right now and right-click anywhere on the page. There should be an option in that pop-up box to “Inspect”. This should bring up a window with what looks like an alien language. In case you’re unable to see it, here’s a sample:
Everything you see online is created with some sort of coding, you just never have to see it. This is also why web development/design used to be such a niche profession.
Now, we have what we call front-end developers, which allows even those who don’t know one string of code to create beautiful websites. The code is still there, but someone has written more code that magically converts what we design on the page into the required code on the backend.
Are you confused yet? I understand that this can be super complex!
The only thing you need to know for now is that when I use the Showit developer to create your website, the system is already generating the elements I want to create on your website with a simple click of a button rather than injecting code.
For example, if I want to drop a rectangle onto a canvas, the system generates the rectangle for me with a code that I never have to see.
Before this technology, I would have to write the code and then view the design to see how the code turned out. Nothing was in real-time.
Ok, so I know this is kind of nerdy. And you might be wondering, “Why do I care about the difference between web design and web development?”
The answer to that is really so that when you need support with your website you understand what type of professional you’re looking for. Many times, a web developer can easily double as a web designer.
Some of us, however, are solely web designers — NOT developers. If you need a functionality that has complicated coding, you need a developer, not a designer.
A: We get this question a lot! The answer is simple: we know how to ask intelligent and meaningful questions about you and your business throughout the branding, copywriting, and website design phases of your project.
So while we will never claim to be experts in your industry, as professionals in our own industry, we make it our business to understand as much as we can about your business.
To do this effectively, we must combine our knowledge of web design with small business marketing strategy with your unique vision, goals, and needs to deliver a results-driven website.
A: You can! We love Showit because of how user-friendly it is and how it has made DIY web design so attainable for small business owners.
But here’s the truth: Just because you can DIY your website, doesn’t mean you should.
Any entrepreneur whose been at this for more than five minutes can easily tell you that being a business owner also means you’re an accountant, content creator, marketing specialist, copywriter… The list goes on.
If you’ve been around Wolf & Willow long enough, you know that we’re advocates for knowing when and what to outsource for your business. (We wrote a whole blog post about it that you can read here!) So the questions you must ask yourself are:
Maybe you have a bit of an eye for design and don’t mind rolling up your sleeves for now. That’s totally fine!
Or maybe you dabble in writing and love marketing but get the heebie-jeebies just thinking about trying to put something together that looks pretty — much less makes someone want to buy from you.
At the end of the day, Showit makes it possible for you to DIY your website, or start from a template and customize it yourself. And that’s ok! What we find with most of our Signature Experience clients is that they’ve grown to the point where they recognize that a DIY brand and/or website can only get them so far, and they’re ready to invest so they can see more growth.
To sum it up, knowing the difference between what you can do and what you should do is key to knowing when it’s time to invest in a professional to help take your business to the next level.
A: While I can’t speak for all web designers, our process at Wolf & Willow is collaborative and fun but still hard work!
Clear and frequent communication is key when working with a website designer. At W&W, we want you to feel like we can buckle down with an espresso, get some work done, and then kick off our shoes and celebrate with a glass of wine at the end of the day. We call our process relationship-driven because we want you to feel heard, supported, and empowered — not just while working with us but beyond that too.
Always talk with a few potential web designers before choosing who to work with. If you don’t feel a connection or feel at ease with the person you’re talking to — run.
Hiring a professional for your website is too much of a financial and emotional investment for you not to do your due diligence. And we’ll be the first person to tell you if we don’t think we’re a good fit for you and your project.
I hope this post and the entire Business Start-Up Series were helpful to you or someone you know! In case you missed them, you can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here. Please feel free to reach out with any questions or comments. And as always, our DMs are open!
Till next time,