Building a new website, whether it’s an entirely new project or a redesign of an existing site, is always an exciting process. You’re taking a set of intangible ideas about branding and functionality and conversion and user experience and optimization, and translating them into a finished project that appeals to your prospects, your clients, and your corporate stakeholders.
When it’s done right, it’s an amazing process, and it can have incredible results for your business. It’s important, though, to remember that it is a process, and you’ll have to put in a bit of legwork up front to ensure an ideal result. I’ve been at the helm of a lot of creative projects over the last 14 years, and I’ve learned that there are two keys to ensuring a successful web design project:
At the start of every single project we do here at Daley Designs, we ask our clients to complete a Website Needs Assessment. It might seem odd at first to hire a web design firm and have them give you homework! But in fact that form, along with the initial conversations we have about your goals and requirements for the site, are crucial to a successful project.
We’ll ask about who your target audience is, what you want visitors to be able to do on the site, features you want the site to have, examples of other website designs that you do or don’t like, and whether you need help developing content. If you have other branded marketing materials like brochures, sell sheets, or postcards, those can also help us get a sense of your business branding. Alternatively, if you don’t yet have printed materials (or are ready for a refresh), we can create new marketing collateral for you so that you have a consistent brand look across web and print.
The more information we can gather about your business and what you want from your new site, the easier it will be for us to create something that you (and your customers) love. Here are some other tips for the planning phase of a web design project:
- Know what you like (and what you don’t). We’ll ask about logos, color palettes, and brand guides as a part of our standard process (and we can also help create any of these pieces if you don’t already have them). But it can be tricky to describe a tone or aesthetic you want for your site without visual examples. If you can pinpoint specific elements of other websites that you like or dislike, it makes it much easier to convey the look you want for your own site.
- Consider both points of view. It’s important for your website to reflect your company’s brand, and send a message about the products or services you offer. But it’s also important that your customers can get what they need from your site, whether they’re looking for more information or they’re ready to make a purchase. A good website has care for the user experience built into it from the very start.
- Know who your decision makers are. Getting input from multiple departments is a great way to ensure that the new site meets the needs of your organization as a whole, but it can also slow down the process and result in a “too many chefs” situation. To ensure a successful project, gather information about needs ahead of time, and know going in exactly who will need to sign off on each step of the project.
- Don’t forget about content. To create a truly effective website, design and content need to work together to guide visitors to a desired outcome (making a purchase, signing up for a newsletter, contacting you for a free quote, etc.). Before you begin a web design project, you should know who will be tasked with creating the site content, whether that’s an internal person or something you’ll need help with as a part of the project. At a minimum, you’ll need to have a sitemap that clearly lays out the required pages and subpages for the site before you can begin the design phase.
Your business is unique, and faces unique challenges and opportunities in the market. At Daley Designs, we believe that your website shouldn’t just look great; it should rise to those challenges and help you take your business where you want to go. And armed with these tips for a successful web design project, we’re confident that we can create a site that puts your brand to work for you. Ready to get started? Let’s talk.