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Original Article By Steve Strauss At TheSelfEmployed.com

What did you do during Covid?

Like you, I spent way too much time binging TV shows and, well, eating a bit too much.

But the good news is that I also was productive and in fact wrote a new book, Your Small Business Boom. I also created a new website to help sell that book. In the process, I learned a few very valuable lessons (below) that I really think can help you on your next website project.

In my case, once I finished writing the book (whew!) I knew the next step was to get a site for the book; most authors have those these days. But, what I also knew is that site building is not my skillset and one thing I talked about again and again in the book is the importance of creating a great team, and especially finding the right people to fill your gaps.

Fortunately, I knew exactly whom to contact.

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I have worked with 99designs by Vistaprint for the past few years. It is a fantastic graphic design marketplace that helps people and businesses find world-class design talent in order to get custom websites, logos, and more.

Their designers have created logos for me, as well as covers for various ebooks I have written. Not only have I always have loved their work, but in fact, their work upped my small business game. They burnished my brand, giving my projects a professional, polished patina.

As such, I expected that I would get a great website (and did, way beyond my already high expectations), but what I didn’t know was how quick and easy the process would be. After all, creating a custom website is a bit more complicated, and detailed, than getting a logo.

But in actuality, not really.

There are two ways to find the right designer for you at 99designs by Vistaprint. First, you can do what I did this time and have 99designs by Vistaprint help you find the right designer. Or, and I have done this too, you can have a contest; post your project and you choose who you want to work with. Sweet!

I picked a design house called Week of the Website. In two weeks, the WooW team took my ideas and made them both concrete, and beautiful.

What I mean is this: I am a word guy. I explain things well with words, but picture and graphics don’t compute so much. Accordingly, the WooW team had to take my wordy descriptions of what I wanted and translate them visually.

They did that, and more. And in two weeks? Wow indeed.

The process was easy, straightforward, and valuable. WooW made me really think through what I was trying to accomplish with the site, what pages I would need, and what they needed to look like in order to achieve my goals.

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They made me a better marketer.

Shelly Morse was the very talented designer assigned to my project and Hannah Hageman was our very organized project manager. I am giving them a shoutout because they were that great. The three of us spoke or otherwise communicated daily, and each day my vison came more and more to life. In less than 14 days, my world-class book website was done.

What did I learn? 3 things stand out:

1. Research. Your site is your business, brand, brochure, sales tool, and store all rolled into one. As such, before getting started, find a few sites that you like that you can share with your designer. Doing so will not only help you figure out what you are looking for, it will help your designer understand your vision. Will it be an e-commerce site, a brand building site, or what?

2. Prepare. Make sure you have everything ready that you will want on the site and that the designer will need – pictures, testimonials, copy, content, logos, etc.

3. Commit. Yes, your designer will be doing the work (thankfully!) but they will need your direction, help, and feedback along the way. You will need, therefore, to be ready to meet with them, get them the content the site will require, and hit deadlines.

Working with pros like I did, and as I am encouraging you to do, makes all the difference. You might be a small business, but there is no reason to look small. A great design team will ensure that.

In the end, what I know is that this new website is going to, well, help me create my own small business boom!

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