Posted at Mar 19, 2019 3:53:39 PM by Michelle Sternbauer | Share
So you've decided that it's time to hire a web design agency to build your new website. Congratulations and get ready for the road ahead that will lead you to an amazing new website and new leads for your business. As you get started on this exciting journey here are some tips to keep in mind that can help you in working with your chosen web design agency and getting the website of your dreams.
1. Understand Your Brand and Story
Your website is an online representation of you, your brand, your story. In order to best convey this online you will first have to convey it to your web design agency. So the very first step in collaborating well is to be sure that you and your team are clear on your brand, your story and what makes you unique and different from your competition.
2. Outline Your Goals
When beginning a web design project it is vitally important to understand what the goals of your new website are. If your goals aren't clear then you will not be able to accurately measure them and thus won't be able to measure whether or not your efforts have been successful. As well, having a clear outline of your goals will help your agency in the design process as well. You want to be sure that you can clearly communicate to them what you are looking for your site to do so that they can be sure to account for those goals during the design process. For example from a design perspective they may look at and design differently if your goal is newsletter signups or eBook downloads vs. highlighting and selling a particular product.
3. Understand the Process
As you look around and talk to different web design agencies while making your decision make sure that you understand and are comfortable with the process. Everyone does things a little bit differently and you want to be sure that you are familiar with and comfortable with the process of the agency that you select. For example how many home page directions will be presented? How many rounds of revisions will their be? Who is responsible for loading the content? Will there be training on how to use your new Content Management System? Is there a post-launch period where bug fixes or small changes are accounted for?
4. Collect Your Assets
While the web development process can take time, as a general rule the one thing that takes the longest and is most apt to delay the project is content. Make sure that you are clear form the very beginning with your web design agency on who is responsible for what content. Are they picking out images or do you need to provide images? Are you writing all the content or will they be writing it for you? If they are writing it what information do you need to provide them with to be able to tell your story accurately? Once you are clear on everyone's roles and responsibilities get a jump start on yours. In our busy work lives it's easy to let these website content tasks fall by the wayside and get pushed off today's to do list. The sooner you get your pieces of content to the web design agency to better able they will be to incorporate them as needed into designs and to keep the project on schedule.
5. Designate Your Point Person
It's vital at the beginning of your project and your relationship with your web design agency to designate a point person from your agency who will be in charge of communication and who will be the ultimate decision maker. While you may have multiple internal stakeholders who need to sign off on designs there needs to be one person who is in charge of communication. This helps keep the lines of communication clear and avoids giving your web design agency mixed signals and different answers from your different team members. If you need to have multiple people review designs or other decisions internally that's fine (though try to keep the group small - you don't want too many cooks in the kitchen), just make sure feedback is presented in a unified and constructive way to your agency partner. This will help them make the changes you need in the most efficient way possible.
6. Give specific Feedback
This is a design project, there is no question that you will have opinions on the designs that you see. It can be hard when looking at designs to articulate what it is that you do or don't like about something. The more constructive and specific you can be with your feedback the better your agency will be able to modify designs based on it and the happier you will be with your final product in the end. Try to avoid blanket statements like "I don't like it", if possible try to be objective and think about what it is that you don't like, is it color, shape, overall feel, are your goals not being met by the design. On another note, as creative professionals your web design agency partners are used to getting feedback. You aren't going to hurt their feelings, be honest (but constructive) don't say you like something when you really don't - they want you to be happy in the end.