How to Make Your Next Website Redesign a Breeze

posted this in
Web Design
on April 23rd, 2014

Starting a new website design project can be scary.

And if you’ve never worked with an agency before or haven’t found one you really liked, a new project can be stressful because you’re not always sure what to expect.

To help the project be successful and get the desired outcome you’re aiming for, follow these seven simple tips.

1. Know your goals going into the project.

We have a lot of clients that come to us and say, “I like what you did for [insert company name] and I want exactly that.”

Our response? Why do you want that? What is that going to help you achieve?

When we sit down and listen to clients tell us why they want that specific website, we quickly learn that what they actually need may be something drastically different from what they originally wanted.

While it’s nice to have inspiration for your new project, it’s even nicer to have goals in mind for why you’re asking us for help.

Knowing your goals and what you’re looking to achieve will help us have a solid understanding of the features that may need to be included in your website.

2. Be open and honest about your budget early on.

If you call us up and ask, “Can you give me a quick estimate on what a new website will cost?” The answer will always be no. Expecting a quick, cut-and-dry answer is never going to happen.

Brian Hoff who writes for The Design Cubicle made an excellent point in a blog about website costs when he said:

“Imagine asking a Real Estate company, “How much does a house cost?” Well it depends. First off, what are the essentials you need? Three bedrooms because you have two kids? Central air conditioning because you live down south? Now that we have the essentials, what are some of the less essential, yet nice features? Basement? Extra storage? Large backyard? Three car garage? What if you could have it your way? How about a pool? Sounds nice right?”

Just like in real estate, there’s no a straight answer to price in web design because it depends. And without knowing your (real) budget (or at least a range) and your goals, we won’t know how and if we can help you.

3. Don’t underestimate your involvement in the project.

When you work with us on a project, you don’t just hear from us at the beginning and end when the project is completed.

It’s actually quite the opposite. During your project, you become part of our team. (And we’ll even save you a seat around our office kegerator.)

Let’s just say you’ll hear from us a lot. We’ll need your collaboration in order to keep the project moving. And we’ll need you to set aside regular time for reviews and feedback.

Your immediate feedback and approval helps us move the project along more quickly. If we don’t hear from you for days or weeks, the project gets placed on hold. You ultimately control the length of your project.

4. Have a dedicated point of contact.

We understand that some companies need approval from multiple stakeholders during a web design project. But having one main point of contact for us is a huge help.

If you’re not the only decision maker, assign a main contact for the project and set expectations with the rest of the team about their involvement in the project. When we present you with an idea or need feedback, know how you’ll communicate with your team for approval and get back to us in a timely manner.

Like I said earlier, your involvement in the project is crucial to the overall success. And sometimes having a huge committee of people that need to be on every email, call or meeting can be a barrier to getting things done.

Having one person to communicate schedules, emails and project updates can eliminate a lot of the back-and-forth communication that tends to slow projects down.

5. Be honest with us.

We’ll welcome your honest feedback throughout the entire project and we’ll ask for it regularly.

From start to finish, we’ll do our best to help you understand why it is we’re doing what we’re doing. But if there’s a part of the process that’s unclear or a feature you’re not sold on, be honest with us and let us know what you’re thinking.

We rely on your feedback and honestly to help make the project successful. (And it helps us become a better team, too.)

But there may be times we disagree with your feedback or ideas. That’s part of collaborating with a team, right?

We may disagree, but it’s because we have your project goals and end users in mind. For example, if you’re suggesting we add rotating banners to your website. We may push-back because studies prove only 1-2% of users even click on them and we’re protecting your money.

Be honest with us. And we’ll be honest with you, too.

6. Know that major project changes will result in budget or scope changes.

We’ve worked on several projects in the past where a client wanted to add a new requirement to the project when it was well underway.

This is what we like to call ‘scope creep.’ Scope creep is when what was originally agreed upon ends up changing during the project.

Scope creep can result in major changes in the project. Sometimes it can mean increasing your budget. Other times it means you must forego one feature to accommodate the requested change to stay within budget. It can also mean extending the length of your project.

The more upfront you are with your goals and your willingness to collaborate with us will help us to make sure we have a well defined plan in the beginning of the project.

7. Be thinking about what happens next.

After your website is launched, it’s not really the end of the road. It’s really just the beginning.

Once your site is launched, it’s time to think back to your goals and how your website can be a tool to help you achieve them.

For example, if your goal is to get more online leads, you might consider adding pay-per-click advertising into your marketing mix.

Taking the leap

Now you’re equipped with a few tips for starting a web design project. These tips are a good baseline for working with really any agency out there on a new web design project. (But hopefully you’ll choose us.)

Next steps? Find out which agency is the right fit for your company.