We collaborate with a variety of clients in multiple industries. Many of these relationships begin with a website project as the foundation for their renewed digital marketing efforts. No matter the industry, we’ve noticed that client preparation plays an enormous role in the efficiency and success of website projects. Here are some signs you’re ready to start your website project.
You have clear vision
Although it may sound elementary, you need to have a clear idea of how your website will function as a sales tool and can complete the following sentence:
The goal of my website is . . .
Thinking in terms of goals will prevent you from simply emulating competitors or flashy sites you’re drawn to. Communicating goals also allows your agency to determine the best solutions and help you think outside the box of what you’re already familiar with. You won’t always agree with recommendations, but be open to hearing something new, and you will certainly be challenged to try a new approach that might be better than what you came up with yourself.
You know who you are
You understand and can clearly communicate your business needs, goals, and audience to those who aren’t in the industry. Agencies will learn a great deal about you as we work with you on the website, but the best source of information about your business is you. Don’t expect your agency to be as familiar with your industry as you are and be ready to explain in layman’s terms so your agency can quickly get up to speed and start applying its skill set to your unique needs.
Your content reflects your brand
Does your site’s content reflect your business’s current messaging? Often companies want to reevaluate messaging while undergoing a website redesign—and that’s fine. However, if you are in the middle of restructuring you company’s messaging or product/service offering(s), we suggest waiting until you’re about 75–80 percent done with that process before sharing any messaging alteration with your agency at the discovery meeting. Although we work with anyone—from stakeholders at small companies to enterprise marketing departments to update and create copy that reflects the company’s messaging—we can’t determine the best route if your brand value is still in flux. We see more delays stem from companies undergoing a major reorganization of priorities or product/service offerings while they are building a website—it just doesn’t work.
You have a dedicated team in place
Clients who are successful have a team in place ready to spend anywhere from 25–75 percent of its days during the project on website work (messaging, design reviews, thinking through UX, etc.). Make sure that you’ve assigned one or two point people who have decision-making power to run the website redesign process with the agency and that you’ve notified other chief stakeholders/execs of their role in decision-making and need to attend meetings.
A website redesign takes four to six months (more often than not timelines land on the six-month end of that spectrum), and it requires constant engagement from your staff. Some of the earliest meetings in which you’re not looking at any designs yet are the most important, as they inform the design work that will happen later.