12 THINGS YOU WILL NEED TO TELL YOUR WEBSITE DESIGNER
In this weeks guest blog Kate Warr from KEW Marketing sheds the light on web design and what you need to tell your web designer at the start of the project! From experience of project managing websites on behalf of clients – here’s an insight into some things you may not have thought about!
1. Your login details to existing site and domain registration – it sounds obvious but a surprising amount of businesses don’t have any idea where their login details are whether it is for the ‘back-end’ of their website of the DNS / domain login area. These are critical for when you change over to the fabulous site. Find this at the onset rather than half way through or at the end of your project can save you time and money.
2. What you want your site to look like – of course, you can leave it to the experts but they do need a little something to go on. Have a look at your competition – what sites do you like, don’t like? Are there any colours you love or hate? If you go in with nothing… it’s going to be a long and costly process with many potential changes afoot.
3. What is the structure and functionality? As well as style and design, prepare ahead and think about the structure of the site, i.e. how many pages do you want? Will you have sub-menu’s? Do you want contact forms? Your web team will guide you through this and give you an idea of what you can have – you might want to set out a phase one, and phase two approach. Plan for what you can budget for now – and maybe in 6-12 months.
4. Content is king but who writes it? Agree up front where the content is coming from. Will they take the existing content from your site or is new content required? Will they offer a copy writing service for you, or do you need to find your own expert? For many businesses, this is the hardest part! Don’t underestimate the time and expertise it takes to write a great website.
5. Check if they supply the images – You have the structure in place and know what you want but half way through the project they ask you for images! What? This wasn’t mentioned at the start? Most of the time web agency’s will have a Shutterstock or iStock account so access to endless images is there for you – they may need to charge a nominal fee to cover costs but these can be relatively low. You will also want to check, do they search for the image or do you? If photography isn’t your thing, then hiring a professional photographer may be the answer.
6. Tell them about your social media links – there is so much to think about on a website, social media can sometimes be a last minute addition – especially the links. Provide the links at the beginning of the project so the team can set it up correctly from the start. It’s irritating when you’re looking at your new site to sign off but you’re viewing your web agencies tweets as they are waiting for your Twitter handle to complete the set up.
7. Decide if you want a blog – If you haven’t bought into the idea of blogging or news, consider the future. Google loves fresh content and this isn’t going to change – so don’t rule it out just yet. Adding news and views is a also great way to build an audience, share on social media point them back to your website. Perhaps build it in for Phase 2?
8. Google analytic codes – Your almost there! But don’t forget your Google Analytics code. If you have one – dig out the details and give it to your developer. If you don’t have them, get one set up. You want to know if your website has views don’t you?
9. Will you have full admin access? All agencies will differ but check what level of access you get? Today’s CMS platforms like WordPress allow you to have full access (if you want it) and can move your website to a new host, or new agency if you want to. Some agencies are quite coy about this (not our lovely bunch at Oyster Studios though!) – There is a sense that if they give you admin rights – you will either break the website or run off and use someone else.
Two things here – break it, you pay. Most agencies say that if you do anything to the site (that is out of their control) and damage it, they can’t take responsibility – I’ll accept that, after all – you would be crazy to change anything other than the bits you’ve been shown how to. Secondly – if you’re an amazing agency and provide excellent service, there is no need for customers to leave so chill. It’s about being honest and given the client what they’ve paid for.
10. Will it be mobile friendly? Here’s where it gets techy – there is mobile friendly and responsive – check with the agency how they build their sites. Also, the days of Flash are over – Apple don’t support it so that’s why some websites can’t be viewed on your iPad or iPhone. Make sure your website will look the part and be fully functional across all platforms.
11. How will people find you? Talk to your web team about SEO… Search Engine Optimisation. It isn’t as complex as you might believe but will help your business get found on Google! Without it – your website will just sit on page googleplex (that’s really far down the page).
12. Ongoing maintenance – now the boring bit! You’ve got a shiny new website, but like with most things in life, it requires a little maintenance. If you’re using a CMS like WordPress, it will make updates throughout the year – hence why you might need your agency to update the software which could incur a charge. Likewise, if you don’t want to manage your own site – you might want to ask the agency if they have a monthly charge to get them to help with day-to-day admin tasks. Websites shouldn’t be seen as a one-off payment; it’s a major part of your business and needs investment and on-going care and attention.
So, that’s it! You’re ready to go. Follow these 12 insightful tips and you’ll be leaps ahead when planning your new website. Just remember – it is an investment and not a cost to your business so make sure you choose the right agency and the right budget to get the best result.