How to plan a website

The devil's in the detail

To ensure your website project runs smoothly follow our top tips:

How to plan a website
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1. Think it through before you start.This may sound obvious but the more thought you put into a project before it starts, the better. Think about:

  • Why you want a website. This may sound crazy but you would be surprised how many people think they should have a website, ‘because everyone else has got one’. Your website is doomed before it begins if this is how you approach it. Your website needs to have objectives, think carefully about what you want those objectives to be. Is it to drive sales? Reposition your business in the marketplace? Have you added services, changed direction or want to re-brand? Do you want to raise your profile? Appeal to a certain market? Think about what it is you want your website to achieve because this will help to drive the design process.
  • Have a look around at what other people have up, think about what you like and don’t like about other sites. Are they frustrating to navigate? Do the images convey a message to you? Is it a site you want to stay on? This does not mean that you want these sites to be copied but it is good to get an idea of style and functionality before you start. These ideas are then a starting point for a discussion with your designer.

  2. Have realistic expectations about when you want your website to be ready.

  • Most web agencies will have work booked in, and if they haven’t, you may want to wonder why? Designing and building website is a process that takes a bit of time if you are going to achieve something that will work for you.

 3. Choose a good web designer.

  • Again, this sounds obvious but it pays to do your research before you entrust the image of your business to anyone. If you phone somebody up and they are happy to quote you over the phone for what your site will cost without getting to know you, your business or its requirements, be wary. A good designer will want to meet you and talk through what you want and hope to achieve. See our blog  Questions to ask a web designer before you hire them for more information. It is important that you choose someone you like and trust as you will be working with them on your project.
  • A good designer or web company will sit down with you and discuss your ideas. They should offer you suggestions and opinions and help you to evolve your ideas and guide you in the right direction. A great website doesn’t only need to look good, it needs to work well too and they will understand that and be able to explain the importance of the user experience and how best to eliminate website friction ensuring that people stay on your site for longer and drill down further.

4. Have open lines of communication.

This doesn’t mean phoning your designer up at 2am because you have had a really good idea that you want to share but it does mean being open and honest and communicating your thoughts throughout the process. This goes both ways. A good project is built on a foundation of good planning and communication.

  • A good project should start with a detailed proposal that shows that your chosen designer has to listened to and understood the needs of your business. It should detail what they think are problems or issues with the design and content of your current website, if you have one, and what they propose to do to rectify them. This should be followed up with a development document that outlines the proposed time scales for the project with milestones, dates and the responsibilities for each party. A project is a joint endeavour and it is important that you both understand what you need to have ready and when you need to have it ready for. This will help your project to run smoothly and ensure you end up with a website that not only looks great but works for you.
  • If something comes up and you are unable to meet any deadlines, let your web company know. They should understand that life and work can get in the way, if we know in good time we can reorganise the work we have in to minimise any disruption.

All of the above should mean a smoothly run project with a great outcome for both parties. If you would like any advice on a project you are thinking of having, feel free to give us a call for a chat to see how we can help. Contact Cyberfrog Design

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