Most of our best web design work is because we had great input from clients working closely with us. A large part of our web design process is consultative and requires your input. Here are some tips on how you or your team can be an integral part of the process.
Prepare for your website design consultation. Start by taking a look at what your competition and industry are doing: What is it they do well? What could you do better? What do you like? Dislike?
Next, think hard about your ideal client: Who are they? What do they need from your website?
Finally, keep your eyes open: Is there a colour of font that you really like? Does your favourite blog have a design style you admire?
Web design and development might not be your strength – but your business is. No one knows your business as well as you and we need that insight to put your brand in the best light. Make time to share business goals and challenges as well as provide insight into your target market and competition with your design team.
Even though you are the master of your business, you might not see some things. One benefit of working with an outside company is an outside perspective with fresh ideas. You are hiring professionals so listen to what they are telling you. In the end it’s your call, but if you hire a web design team and insist they do paint by numbers then you won’t end up with a masterpiece.
Remember that homework you did? Now share it with your marketing and design team. Also, when they provide you with mock-ups or references return the contribution your design team is making with specific, detailed and constructive feedback. “I don’t like it” isn’t going to get you better results. Say what you don’t like, why you don’t like it, show examples of what you do like, and be prepared to be told why what you think is “pretty”, or “nice” or “cool” might not be best. A little creative friction does not hurt and good ideas will survive some critique while hopefully the bad ones won’t. If you are not communicating openly and honestly by letting your team do so also then you will never know.
Developing good content is probably the most time consuming part of creating a new website for both the clients and the development team. Even if you have existing content, this is a great opportunity to update and improve what is on your website. Writing website content from scratch usually takes an hour or two per page, maybe more. That means a 20 page website could take a full work-week to develop good content. Also, don’t beat yourself up perfecting it, words and ideas seem to change when traveling between a Word document and your website.
If you have no content and nothing down on paper then you need to either contract that out to a copywriter, or get to work in advance of the design process. You need to have some idea of what you want to say and what your conversation with your audience is going to be. A good design firm can help, in fact if you give them the mandate they can do 90% of the work for you, but it is work and it must be done.
Designs have shelf life. Styles and web technology both change and a site that was great 3 years ago will look at best outdated by today’s standards and at worst may be simply a turn off to your audience. If you pay for a great new design and then can not launch it because your content is not ready, then you have wasted your time and money. A simple, attractive, effective and launched website beats the best website ever conceived of but never launched any day.
In computing there’s a saying, “good input, good output”. The quality of your website as a marketing tool greatly depends on the quality of time and effort you give your marketing and design team. Guaranteed SEO’s design team love nothing better than working with customers to produce quality website design and internet marketing services.