Developing and designing a website is not the work of a moment. It is an essential tool. For your business, and requires serious funding and careful thought. This is why it is vital that your company has a successful relationship with the professional web designers who you hire to create your site.
How to Choose the Right Designer
Choosing the right agency or design company to work with you is essential; this is a very serious step in growing your business, and there are many considerations involve. You need to know your budget, and also, it is important to understand that a bespoke website, one unique to you in design and layout, is far more favorable than a basic template design.
You need to find a company that will design you a site that is up to date; technology and trends in the digital world change all the time, and what you do not want is a company that will simply act as a middleman and have the work done by others for a cut price. Understanding the questions that need to be put to your potential designer is the first step in the process.
The First Step
You need to brief your potential designer in full, and make sure that they are fully aware of what your exact requirements are. Be concise but precise, and ensure you have given them information on the following areas:
- Explain in full what your company is about, what you do, where you came from, and who your customers are. Give them an idea of what you expect to achieve in the future.
- Give clear instructions as to what the website is for, whether you want a completely new site, or whether you have a basis to work from.
- Consider fully the layout of individual parts of the site, including any images; some parts of the design process may b more costly than others – in particular those that are more complex – and can affect the budget accordingly.
- Consider your audience carefully, for it is they that the site is aimed at.
- Ensure the designer is on the right track by giving them access to company logos and colours, and brand names.
- Be equally clear as to what you do not want, as you are with you requirements for the site.
Once you have given all of this to your designer, you are ready to move forward.
Considerations on the Budget
There is no doubt that the budget is an influencing factor; smaller companies may have limited funds, and hence may be inspired to look to the cheaper agencies for help. This is not the best idea, and the golden rule is to buy the best you can afford.
Give the design company all the information you have on your budget in the first instance. This allows them to let you know what they can reasonably provide for that figure, and is a sensible starting point. Consider also how – and when – you are required to pay. A good agency will happily advise you to the limitations of your budget, and should be able to suggest ways to get the best out of it.
Always ask for a written, firm quotation, confirm payment methods, and agree on all aspects of the project. If there are additional charges, make sure the agency is up front and clear about these at the outset. Furthermore, if hosting charges are included, make sure you understand what is involved. You may choose a different company as a host – that is up to you.
Agreeing a Timescale
The deadline you set will be important to you; presumably you have a date in mind when you want to launch. Be clear with the agency as to how long they have to complete the job; they need a reasonable time, remember, if you are to get the quality website you require. Discuss with the designer the time needed, and come to a sensible and achievable agreement. It might be prudent to agree to certain steps along the way at which point parts of the process should be complete.
Talk to Each Other
Communication between both parties is essential if the project is to run smoothly. We have already discussed a concise initial brief, and that should continue throughout. Make sure you give the designer feedback, and allow them to return the favor; agree upon a method of communication, and arrange for a certain frequency of messages to be sent and received. Email is popular method of communication, while face to face meetings are an even more efficient way of getting points across. Sensible advice and criticism is welcomed, and honesty is essential. If something is not to your liking, let them know, but also let them know why it is not in order that they have the knowledge to rectify the problem.
Remember, your website is for you; it is not a vanity project for the designer. You will find that there is plenty to do across the duration of the project and much to be rectified; don’t worry, the designer is used to such things and will be happy to work it out. If you need something explaining, make sure to ask; you are not expected to understand everything.
So you have your website, you’re happy with it and ready to roll: things don’t stop there. You need a hosting agreement, and it could be that your design agency can arrange this for you. You also need a maintenance contract in case there is a problem with the site. You may also need the site amending in the future as your company changes shape. All of these should be part of a long term agreement between you and the chosen company.
The launch is just the beginning of a long journey; marketing and promotion need to be attended to, and the agency may also offer you a package of help with these. It is essential that you get the traffic you want, or your website will have been a case of wasted resources. Plan ahead, with the help of the agency, and you will reap the rewards.
So, to recap: be clear and concise when it comes to your needs and how much you can spend, and keep an open line of conversation between both parties at all times.