This year, my marketing firm has initiated many new website development projects for our Indianapolis area clients. Although each client and website are different, I’ve found that having some basic items in place in advance of the project will ensure a shorter timeline and smoother transition to the final website.
Whether you need a website revision or new website, here is my client checklist for a seamless website project:
- Determine why you are building the website: What it is that ‘s not working about your current website? How many leads do you need to acquire or convert on your new site?
- Who is your main audience for the website? Without knowing details about your targeted audience, your web designer cannot adequately represent their needs online. Clearly define your primary and secondary audience(s), with demographic and psychographic details for your web team.
- How do you want to portray your brand? Should the designer build off of your existing logo and color scheme, or come up with something different entirely? What is the personality of your brand or the voice that you want to portray on your website and in the website’s content?
- Should the website be based off of existing materials? If you have a current website, brochure, advertisement or other marketing materials, should this information be used in developing the website content or design? Which information is still accurate and which information should the web team exclude?
- Who will be involved in the decision-making process regarding your website? Will one person be the main project point-person for the website project, or will you involve several team members? The web design firm needs to know upfront in order to include these individuals in the communication process. Also, you’ll need at least one person from your company that can make themselves available for phone calls or emails to answer questions and to be interviewed for the content-writing process.
- What are your current search engine marketing goals? Does your site currently rank well for chosen keywords in your industry? What keyword phrases are important for your company’s website? A good web developer will conduct thorough SEO research in advance of the development process, and include this service as part of the web development project.
- Do you plan to utilize blogging or social media? Whether or not you have a team of social media marketers, your web development company can help you set up prominent Web link from your new website to your corporate blog and social media pages. If you’re not currently blogging or using Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest or other sites, your web firm can set these up for you.
- Do you have any product or team photos? Websites need photos to enhance the content and design. If you’ve previously invested in stock photography, company headshots, or have pictures of your building, products, or other usable photos, share these with your web designer for use on your site. If not, many web designers can coordinate photo shoots, if needed.
- What is your (realistic) timeline? If you need your site completed in two months, or you are six-months from securing the funding to open your business, let the web design firm know in advance, so they can adjust their schedule to meet the needs of your company’s timeline, as well as their own client deadlines. Remember that web design firms are often working on multiple website projects at once, so giving them an idea of your expectations can help drive the project and assure that there aren’t any surprises along the way.
With a little advanced preparation and good communication — before and throughout the website development project — the process of developing your new website will prove less stressful and more successful.