If you’ve been in business for some time, surely you know that growth is the name of the game. Individually, professionally, and as a business you have expanded opportunities, spread your wings, and embraced growth in every way to stay ahead of the game… but has your website grown with you?
With the increasingly rapid pace of the internet, a website refresh every five to ten years is practically a necessity. Deciding you need a refresh is a great first step, but how do you get the most out of the process?
Know your Role
You’ve hired out your dream team to make your web presence shine. Contracts are signed and the deadline is set. All that’s left to do is wait and see, right? Maybe, if you’re reckless. The website design and development process can take months, which makes it so important that you and your design team keep open communication. A new website isn’t just a purchase. It’s a relationship.
As the client, you co-lead the project. No, you won’t be asked to come up with designs yourself, but your approvals and guidance are necessary to help your team every step of the way. Be eager to provide feedback and share. Don’t be afraid to bring your intimate business knowledge to the table. You’re a specialist in your field, and your designers are specialists in theirs. What might seem obvious to one, may be completely overlooked by the other. With open communication, you and your team will find more opportunities to design with integrity, a website that supports your marketing strategy. The more you provide to your designers, the more they will be able to deliver in return. Continued communication throughout the process is the key to unlock a website that is not just good, but great.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
All those insightful details that you’ve provided aren’t your only role in this chatty relationship. If you really want to get the most out of your new website project then you have to be ready to ask questions. How will the layout display differently from desktop to mobile? What strategy is in place to promote content? Why exactly won’t that dream feature work out the way you had envisioned? Openly explore their design decision-making process. You will have peace of mind knowing that your designers have considered every aspect and that they know where your own concerns lie most. What you ask just might give you and your team new perspective, ideas, and answers.
As with all relationships, it’s best to ask questions sooner rather than later. Key phrases in your website project include the content strategy, wireframes, design mock-ups, and development. The more questions you ask during the content strategy, the more strategic considerations you’ll see in the wireframes. The more questions you ask during wireframing, the more refined your final design will be. Don’t be afraid to ask questions early, as they will only speed things along as you move further through the project process.
Your business goals come first
Now, if you’ve made it this far with your new website, the goal wasn’t just to make things pretty, right? As designers, there’s nothing we love more than a gorgeous website, except, of course, a gorgeous website with some real strategy behind it. Your website is the online face of your company. It has to look good, but it has to communicate (for your goals) even better.
Having a “modern website” isn’t a business goal. Rather, you should consider from the very start how your online presence can best support your business needs. Are you trying to capture leads, or are you selling products? Is there one product that brings in more profits, and how should it be featured? Are you trying to increase calls or emails? What information do you have that will provide the most value to your customers, and do you need a content marketing strategy to keep things up to date? Your design team will prompt these questions, but it’s always good to consider them yourself and take time so that you come to your new project prepared.
Questions, answers, goals, and strategy. Those might not be the first things you think of when you hear the words “website design”, but now they should be! Sure, the arts and crafts part of the process may be more fun, but you can make the most beautiful website and it will all be in vain if you neglect these vital first steps of communication. There is nothing worse than spending your hard earned money on a flashy new face only to find that it didn’t move the needle forward. Luckily, that can all be avoided by understanding your role and encouraging communication.
If you’d like to find out more about how the website design process can help you reach your business goals and grow our brand, call our team today 604-559-7509. Or give us a visit in Downtown Vancouver and stop by our office – we always have chocolate!