Clients often spend a lot of time studying the website designs and content of their colleagues before they contact a designer. Sometimes that's helpful, but sometimes those colleagues turn out to be good examples of what NOT to do. There are a lot of really bad websites out there, and even worse content.
"Researching" what others have can seriously lead you astray if you don't really know what works for client attraction, and what current website and internet standards are.
Plus, asking a designer to replicate someone else's design can be problematic from the ethical perspective as well. It's like asking your designer to cheat off someone else's hard word and creative ideas.
What a designer needs to know is your preferences for:
how you want to navigate the site
what widgets, apps, and 3rd party features you want
who your clients are
what the purpose of your website is
how much you will want to add or change yourself
if you intend to blog
whether your site needs to provide downloadable forms
What a content writer needs to know is:
who your ideal clients are
what your sub-niche specialties are
how you conceptualize various client problems
When I write for therapists and other solopreneurs, I'll have worksheets for you to complete so that I can polish up your own phrasing or get a good understanding of your approach to helping your clients.
When I design for solopreneurs, I'll have many questions for you about your preferences and needs. Typically, I draft a couple different design approaches for you to choose from. I can source photography for you as well and ensure that it can be legally used.