So, you have started your new business and have a great concept, ready to break into the market… You might think that all you need to do is call up some web designers and pitch them your idea to get a quote, but not all web developers have the same skills, quality, and availability, and they will need information from you before they can get started. The more specifics you have decided upon before you engage with a web design agency, the smoother the process will be.
Your clear understanding of what you want from your website and how you want users to interact with your website will help the web design team draft a design that should immediately suit your needs and provide an interface that gets users quickly in touch with you and your business.
Use this guide to put a checklist together that will set your website development project up for success:
1. Know your audience. Define your business industry and your target client.
Your new website will likely have a few different classifications of users. It’s important to identify who your primary target user is; are they a consumer of your product? How are your industries connected? Do they need your service/product to produce their own products/services? With this knowledge presented to your chosen web design team, they should be able to present you with options for messaging and better understand who will be just visiting your website and who will convert on your website.
2. What does your business do?
Prepare a list of services that you plan to offer. Write down keywords that identify those services with parent/child relationships. Those keywords and services will later be very useful to the web design and development team when creating your website’s navigation menus and planning your Search Engine Optimization strategy. This will also be useful for you when writing your descriptions for those services.
If you have a line of products, have the product information (SKU’s, Titles, Prices, Descriptions, etc.) ready to discuss with the web designer. This information can usually be imported into your new website, and you will have a head start in creating the database of your hottest new products.
3. What do you want back from your website?
Be realistic in your demands from your website. Your website will not deliver new clients without a clear path for them to communicate with you and concise messaging that motivates them to pick up the phone or fill out a form. Let your web design team know how you want users to communicate with you. Do you want users to call your business line directly, or would fielding some preliminary questions with a contact form be more efficient?
If your next step after talking with a client is to fill out a form, make that form available for them in a digital format, so you can respond within an ideal time frame and get any processes started. At a minimum, make sure your business phone number is prominently displayed in the header and footer of your website. Don’t make users search for ways to communicate with you.
4. Provide 3 websites you like and what you like about them.
Using the websites you like as a reference, a web design and development team should be able to provide you with a design that provides the aesthetic appeal and functionality that you desire from your website.
5. What functionality does your website need?
The store functionality is a must-have if you plan to sell products on your website! However, if your business sells services, you may not immediately know what functionality you need from your website.
If you have your content ready for the development team before you engage with them, you can provide them with a solid start letting them tell you what functionality your site could use to display the services and information about your business. Ask the design team about different ways to display your information, and they should be able to provide you with functionality that can display your information more effectively.
6. Do you have a logo or styling guide?
You don’t have to have a logo or brand style guide to start your website. However, having branding and strategy in place does help to carry the logo’s design and colors throughout the website for a consistent brand flow and overall appealing experience. At a minimum, have a color scheme chosen with at least 3-5 colors that you want on your website. This will help break up the text and display the content in a more appealing manner.
7. How will you measure the “success” of your website?
This is a big one. You need to decide what will be of value to your business. Every user visiting your website is a possible lead for more business, but you must provide ways for the leads to become new business.
Will a filled-out contact form be the success point? Perhaps a call to the main business phone number? These should be clearly defined early in the process, and let your designer/developer know that these are the criteria you are using to measure success, as they can design/develop funnel methods to ensure those success points are met.
8. What’s your timeline for the project?
You can realistically expect anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, from concept to code. The timeline can be greatly sped up and slowed down by you. The web development team is ready from the moment you engage with them. They may need some preparation time but understand that if you are not prepared with content for them, you risk slowing down the production process and increasing any timeline you may have had for the project.
9. Do you have a budget prepared?
Every web design project has a different scope and, therefore, different pricing, but you should prepare a budget of at least 40 to 50% down payment of the total quoted price upfront before any work has been conducted. This is an industry-standard for digital design and development work.
10 How do you narrow the search for the right web design agency?
Finding the right web development team for your website may seem like a daunting task. There are so many to choose from…how do you know that the design team will be capable of conveying your business message in a few short pages? Fortunately, if you prepared your business content BEFORE engaging with a web development agency, your experience with just about any web development team will be much smoother than if you went in expecting them to craft it all from scratch for you.
Looking for innovative and creative web design? Don’t hesitate to reach out to ELMNTL’s award-winning web design and development team today! We have a few ideas we would like to discuss with you.