When I get a call from a new client and they say ” I want a new website”, my second question (after the first, Hi, whats your name?) is always have you had a chance to look at other sites. You’d be surprised how many times the response is “no or not yet”.  I then explain that the first step (and often the most over looked step) in planning a new web site project is to look for inspiration sites, find a Muse. Many people are so focused on what they want that they either don’t think to view the competition or they feel its unoriginal to look at others sites before building their own. I think this is the biggest myth, looking at other websites for inspiration before starting you own can help you in a variety of ways A) it gives you an idea of what information your competitors are providing to potential clients, you want to make sure you offer just as much if not more, B) it helps define your design style, my favorite quote “you never know what you want, until you see what you don’t want”, and C) it’s fun to see all the possibilities your website can be, just like you look for your dream home or dream car with Google you can look for your dream website.

During the initial consultation I usually ask clients to pick out 3 sites they like and 3 sites they dislike, and if possible tell me why. From this little exercise I can usually get a pretty good idea of their design preference and design something that fits their needs. Whether you are working with a designer or building a site on your own its always a good idea to inspire and help give direction for your future site.

Looking for inspiration sites isn’t that hard there are websites and blogs out there whose main purpose is to search the web and find the best of website design. The categorize their list by industry, colors, style, etc. The easiest way to find inspiration sites is web search, I usually search for the industry + inspiration website, or if a client wants a certain color color + industry website. These will usually give you results of top 10 or 15 sites list from blogs just like these.  I went through some of my favorite inspiration websites and provided a list here for you to start your website shopping journey:

Take a look at these great sites, or search for some of your own. Let us know if you find a great inspiration website, list it here in the comments below.