If you are in a position to be building a new website for your company, chances are you have already been faced with a lot of hard decisions.
What platform should I use?
Do I try and build it myself or hire a company?
How much is too much to spend on a website? Too little?
Do I need to hire someone to manage my website?
The current environment in online marketing can feel a bit like the wild-wild-west without a reliable sheriff.
In my experience, the best way to have a stress-free and dare I say – enjoyable – construction experience is to come to the table with clearly identified expectations, a list of questions and a stock pile of artifacts that will help you to communicate your vision to your developer. Below you will find comprehensive lists for each of these.
Fear not! Simply utilize these in your communications with prospective developers and you will save yourself time, money and stress!
(YOU answer these)
- What is your budget for this project. It is best to create a range if possible. What is a low range that you hope to be able to have a site constructed for and what is the absolute highest price you are willing to pay?
- Will you need a blog? E-commerce? Will you need to be able to take payment online?
- Do you currently have a website and are you expecting the developer to work on an already live platform?
- How often do you want to hear from the developer about progress? How involved do you want to be past the introduction/discovery phase?
- What completion deadline are you working with?
(DEVELOPER answers these)
- Are revisions of the site included in the price? If not, what are the additional charges?
- What happens if you are not happy with the work provided?
- With creative work – who ultimately owns the creative files? This could be branded imagery, illustration or logos.
- What are payment options and what are payment schedule options?
- What happens once the project is completed?
- Does the designer require being credited on the site?
- RESEARCH. Find at least 3-5 websites that you would like to take design elements from. Help your developer by focusing in on shapes, colors, layout, features, functionality, fonts, etc.
- DEFINE. what inspires you? Look online and in your every day life for brands that inspire you with their designs. Take snap shots or screen shots of the elements and take a moment to think about why that particular element is effective for you.
- BRANDING: Do you know what fonts and colors represent your brand? If not – take some time using the nifty Google Fonts website to type in a name or phrase and navigate font options. You can also find fun font combinations online in simple google searches. Please note that while you may come across font combinations that you LOVE, not all fonts are available for use on websites. Your developer should be able to find something comparable.
- PHOTOGRAPHY: Do you have any branded photography ready to go? If so, check the format and be sure that it can be made easily available to your designer. Good photography can quickly raise the effectiveness of your website. If you don’t have photography, but are interested in contracting a photographer – be sure to let your designer know your intention to do so.
- LAYOUT: Have a basic outline of the information that you wish to include in your website. If you are not 100% sure about how best to organize this information, that is ok. Your developer can help to guide you. If you know exactly how you would like your navigation to be organized – come to the table with that information ready.
- CONTENT: Lastly – and most important, your designer is not expecting to write the content for your website. If you are struggling with copy, consider hiring a professional – or ask your designer if this is something that can be added as an add on service to your contract.