Brace yourself for website design project

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There’s a lot of things that people expect from web design company when engaging them for a new project. On time, within the budget and without any hiccups.

However, rarely do businesses have any expectations about themselves when it comes to creating a new digital presence. Often in fact, they’re surprised that there’s anything they have to do at all.

As much as we’d love to do everything for our customers, there’s no company in the world that would do an amazing job for a business without their extensive input. That’s why, here’s a tutorial for our customers (and everyone else out there) on how to prepare yourself for a good digital project.

Start with scoping

Whether you’re engaging a company that you already work with for years or you’re looking for a quote, having your homework done in advance helps in giving you a headstart. The scope doesn’t have to be complex, it could be as simple as a few bullet points of what you’re trying to achieve, what the goal of the project is and why you’re doing it in the first place. Let’s be honest, no one needs just another website – the internet is full of them. An informative website, yes, a digital solution, yes, but another template with “we’ve drunk 1200 coffees”? Thanks but no thanks.

You want to get ROI, think about what you’re trying to achieve. Why do you need the website in the first place? Spend some time by yourself or within your team and do some brainstorming. What strategies can help you sell online? What is that your customers are looking for? What are your competitors doing and how do you compare?

When you send those answers to a digital agency, you’ll get a better response, better-aligned questions before the project start and as a result – a better end product.

Assign a decision-maker… one!

One of the biggest challenges of any project is creating one voice of the entire business. You might want to have an online registration form for your consultation but your reception is overwhelmed with calls already and any additional work will lower your customers’ experience. Chaos is the last thing you want when your money is on the table. And it works both ways!

When engaging a digital agency make sure they have one point of contact too. The internal discussion on both sides should be invisible to the other party. Sure you want to hear the results of that discussion, but you definitely don’t want to be involved in it.

Finally, multiple people contacting each other create more work. Believe it or not but all businesses in the world count hours spent on the project and it is going to cost you. If you’re going to send a digital agency some information and it takes 15 minutes to process it on the other side – it’s business as usual. But when your secretary sends it again because she didn’t know that you did it, then it’s another 15 minutes. And so on. If all the information goes through one person only, you actually save money.

Make time

We’d love to live in an ideal world where we are engaged by any company, we listen to what they want and then create an amazing solution in a week. You might think why do projects take so long one asks?
“You quoted us for 150 hours and it’s 3 months later. What do you do in the meantime?”

We’ve worked with many businesses from health to construction, education to online sales. But we know only a piece of that market and you’re the expert in that field. Yes, you! And no one better than you is able to explain how it works. That is why you will have to spend time with a creative person, you will have to spend time with a project manager and yes, you will have to be trained.

The project input has to come from you and that’s because any template websites don’t work in 2019 anymore. Websites are so common these days that only the ones that are perfectly aligned for your business will convert. You will need time and the better you are at organising your time for that project, the less time that project will take and the better solution you will receive.

Compromise

I mentioned scoping at the beginning of this article. I strongly believe that without it the project will never be as good as with it. But you also have to be flexible in terms of your requirements.

Any digital project is done best as a compromise between you and your end-user, it’s a meeting point between the requirements and need. We help businesses to find what that need is but it might not be good news for you.

A business we worked with in the past told us that they get a lot of enquiry forms from the home page and their strict requirement was to have a contact form on the home page. Obviously curious – we called a bluff. We installed a software monitoring their old website to find out that within a week out of over 60 contacts they had none of them came from the home page. Even if someone landed on the home page intuitively they clicked on “contact us” page before reading the home page content. The rest of the users started browsing the website first to decide that they want to get in touch and went to the contact page too.

Don’t be offended if a creative director will tell you “this can be done better”. Don’t be scared of hearing “based on your analytics your users never do that”. Satisfying your user’s needs is what you want and a user that finds it easy to use your digital presence is far more likely to convert into a customer.

Communicate

It’s quite obvious – and again it works both ways – but clear communication is a success of every project. If you don’t like an element of the project at any point, the quicker you’re going to communicate it the easier it is to fix it, avoid any misunderstandings and delays. In the same way, expect any problems from your digital agency to be communicated back as soon as they arise rather than when they are not fixable anymore – the last thing you want to happen is to find out a day before a deadline that it’s not going to be met.

Trust is something that is built over many conversations that’s why it’s so important to communicate often and honestly with your digital provider. And believe me, digital agencies value honest customers as much as you value an honest digital agency.

Any new project is a challenge for both digital agency and a customer. But it’s also a beautiful journey of creating something from nothing. It’s exciting at every stage of the process because, like in a marriage, a digital project is a baby of 2 entities and they are equally a parent of that baby. And if done properly, they will both love the baby equally.

If you’d like to have an honest discussion about your future project let’s grab a coffee. You can also catch me at local WordPress meetup that I organise or WordCamp conference.

Author: Ralf Klis

With over 15 years of experience in the digital world, I've seen it all and I'm often happy to share my knowledge. I've been involved in many R&D projects including one of the first TV Apps or mobile websites (back in 2005!). Now I'm passionate about making the digital presence work for businesses.