Gather all of your branding content onto the computer that you'll use to build out your website. This will make it much easier when you're trying to locate and use all of your various pieces of content later on in the process.
The basic brand assets you should gather include:
This may seem obvious, but you'd be surprised. Not everybody knows what they're going to call their company at this stage. But not having the company name figured out for the website you're building will create a lot of confusion when it comes time to write content about your business, or to configure the CAN-SPAM settings for sending email. You can of course change your company name later on, but it is a really good idea to have a firm idea of what it will be now and where you will use it across your website.
This may also seem obvious, but you'll want to have decided on your domain name by now (a domain looks something like this: yourcompanyname.com). In fact, you'll need to have it registered with a registrar and set up with a name server that will allow you to edit the DNS records for that domain. Some really common registrars and name servers are GoDaddy, eNom, Network Solutions, and Dreamhost, so if you have an account with one of them, that might be where your domain is going to be accessed.
But if you don't know where your domain is registered or how to access it, you might also have to go through some extra steps at this point, like "ask your web guy" or "call your techie sister-in-law," because you secretly suspect that they're the ones who originally registered and hosted your domain. Either way, this part is going to be really important later on. It's worth tracking this information down now.
Whoever it is who has access to your DNS records -- whether it's GoDaddy or Dreamhost or the guy down the street -- that person or organization will need to make it possible for you to change your domain name hosting over to HubSpot. When you're done building out the first version of your website on HubSpot, you'll make some changes to the "www" CNAME record for your domain and redirect your root domain over to that same subdomain. If that was a scary sentence to read, don't worry. It scares a lot of people. Just give our friendly support team a call, and they'll help you figure out exactly what to do next.
Your logo is just the visual representation of your company. Most businesses have a simple graphic that is recognizably distinctive and unique to that company and brand. It's okay if you're just starting out and don't have a formal logo figured out yet. But you'll want to have at least a temporary logo on hand when you create your website, just to get off on the right foot.
If you don't already have a logo created for your company and don't have a graphic designer on staff, you might want to use the HubSpot Marketplace to find a partner that does logo design. Or you could use a logo design service like 99designs.com. Or you could call that weird artistic friend of yours who is always critiquing other people's logos. Everybody's got one. Not all of them are interested in working for free, though. So be warned.
Did you ever notice that companies that do their business outdoors (like landscapers) use a lot of greens and browns in their web design? Or that companies with daring new product lines use colors like bright orange or pink? The colors you choose to represent your business can have a huge influence on how it's perceived by others. Decide on some basic brand colors before you start building your site. If you need a little help deciding on your brand colors, check out a guide to choosing colors for your brand.
Did you know that lawyers read more text per day than people in any other profession? After all, how many other types of offices have libraries in them? (Well, HubSpot does, but we are admittedly kind of weird.) No matter how much you read in the course of a normal day, it's easier on you when the text uses great typography. Typography is the visual component of the written word. And the most important aspect of good typography is that it's easy to read. Not that it's unique, or interesting, or "artistically relevant." What does that even mean? Plan to use a simple, readable font.
Decide on a font that fits the majority of the content you'll have on your website. Do NOT plan to use several different font types on your site. Just having a lot of font diversity on your screen makes your site more difficult to read. HubSpot comes with a bunch of built-in fonts that are great. All our default fonts are standard on the web and very versatile. If you want to try something a little bit different, check out Google's free web font project or Adobe's paid Typekit service. But remember: Simplicity is key.
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