When it comes to your new website, we both want the same thing:
- To stay on target
- To stay on time
- To stay on budget
And we do our darnedest to accomplish just that.
However, occasional obstacles do come up. Luckily, most of them are easy to prevent.
Here’s how you can help-us-help-you ensure a smooth project from start to finish.
Staying on target
Come to the initial meeting with goals for your website.
What do you want your website to accomplish? Do you want it to increase awareness? Increase leads? Increase sales online? Increase sales offline?
We can tell you the best way to accomplish those goals with your website. But we can’t tell you what your business goals should be. That’s all you.
Reminder: The best goals are SMART: specific, measureable, actionable, realistic, and time-bound.
Tell us your target audience. For instance, females ages 25 to 50 with active lifestyles.
Knowing your target audience is critical.
Everything we do—from the photos we use to the words we choose—is aimed at and refined for your target audience.
Assign a contact and decision-maker from your company.
Here’s a scenario. Employee A (the person who writes the checks) tells us your home page should have a dominant, static image of your building. Employee B (who is the subject matter expert) tells us that the first thing your web visitors should see is your marketing video. Employee C (the chief marketing officer) says a carousel with photos and copy touting your company’s history is the way to go.
They’re sending mixed messages. Whose information should we use? It’s not clear who the decision-maker is. Who do you think has the final say?
One consistent contact person makes the project easier for us to manage. One decision-maker clarifies to whom we listen. The point person and the decision-maker may be different people.
Ask questions, and trust that we’re looking out for you.
You hired us for a reason—our experience and expertise.
If we make a recommendation, there’s usually a well-researched and proven reason behind it, which is why we’ll explain it to you. If you have questions about our rationale, we encourage you to ask questions.
If you have an even better idea, we’re all ears. You’re the expert in your industry, and you have insight we don’t.
However, please don’t say “no” to new ideas without a discussion. You may cheat yourself out of amazing website features and best practices that your target audience will love.
Staying on time
Label assets accurately. For example, “Company-Barbecue.jpg,” not “photo0468.jpg.”
You may be asked to provide assets, such as logos, photos, documents, spreadsheets, and forms. The name of a file might make perfect sense to you, but it might not be clear to us.
The time it takes a designer to open, review, and rename each file—a task that could add extra hours and costs to the project—is better spent designing your new website.
Be direct with your feedback at each stage of the process.
Now is the best time to make changes, not at the end of the project. It’s okay; we have thick skin.
For instance, it’s easy for us to make a change to a wireframe, which is used in the beginning stages to help determine layout. It’s much more costly and time-consuming to make that same change after the website has been designed and developed. It’s kind of like asking to rip up the floorboards after the new carpet’s been laid.
Assist us with gathering the content.
You’re the experts in your industry. We’re the experts in ours.
In other words, we know the best way how to say something, but you’re in the best position to know what to say.
We’re happy to write the copy for your website. But you need to provide the direction.
Expect us to meet our deadlines and hold your team to the same standard.
To stay on schedule, it’s important for both of us to meet mutually agreed-upon deadlines.
You expect us to meet content, design, and development deadlines. And we expect you to provide assets and approve content by agreed-upon due dates.
We understand that life happens. Sometimes you can’t turn things around as quickly as you had hoped. Just know those delays may affect our ability to stick to the original timeline.
Staying on budget
Review, revise, and approve each phase of the project.
Here’s another construction analogy: Imagine Sam and Alex are getting custom cabinets for their home. A contractor has meticulously measured the space. An interior designer has helped the homeowners pore over hundreds of styles and finishes to find the perfect look. A crew has painstakingly installed the cabinets.
Each phase has been enthusiastically approved by the couple. And just as Sam is about to put the first plate in the cupboard, Alex says, “I don’t like this color anymore. Let’s start over. But tell everyone we aren’t paying extra for it.”
You know and we know that’s an unreasonable request. But not everyone else does.
This may seem like an extreme example, but we’ve experienced situations not at all unlike this.
There are many reasons that unexpected, major changes rear their ugly heads: Poor communication. Poor organization. Not involving the decision-maker until the end of the project. Design by committee. Holding back opinions to avoid hurting someone’s feelings.
We know you’ll have suggestions—in fact, we encourage them. And we’re happy to accommodate any request.
However, if you decide to make major changes to a phase you’ve already approved, we may have to re-estimate part or all of the project.
Let’s work together for a successful project.
99% of projects go smoothly. The 1% that don’t usually encounter problems that are 100% preventable.
Together, we can work to stay on target, on time, and on budget. And we’ll be well on our way to a successful project.