Having been designing and building bespoke websites as a business for over 10 years, I can safely say that the planning stage of a web design project is the most important aspect to ensure overall success.
When a project becomes a headache and stressful for the client (something we go out of our way to avoid), it’s usually because the necessary steps and conversations haven’t happened at the start of a project and so unexpected items crop up.
So regardless of whether you are contacting us or another company for a quote for your next bespoke website, here are the steps we believe your initial website enquiry needs to go through to ensure success.
Planning equals success
A bespoke website is a really critical item for your business – after all, your website, if done correctly, can totally revolutionise your business and become your number one marketing asset, so it’s so important to not just dive in, but instead plan the project out thoroughly.
An initial phone call and emails can help provide a birds-eye-view of your project and allow us to provide a ballpark cost, BUT in order to produce a detailed, accurate fixed-price quote and an accurate timescale for your project, it’s really important to go through these steps below:
1) The reason and goals for the project
The first step is to discover why you are getting in touch. What is the reason for revamping your website and why now?
Knowing these reasons and your overall goals for what you want your new website to achieve and bring to your business will allow us to approach the project in the right way. Listening is crucial here and it will allow us to propose our own suggestions and recommendations as well.
2) Your website structure needs to be defined
You wouldn’t be able to price up the build of a new home without first knowing how many rooms/bedrooms it had, and where those rooms were going in the overall plan would you? The same can be said of your website.
Whilst pricing ‘per page’ isn’t our thing, scoping out the exact pages you’ll need and producing what we call a “sitemap” (example below) allows both parties to see exactly what pages your new website will need to have. This then allows us to move onto the next step.
3) Your content needs to be mapped out
Content is often an after-thought and happens in a panic at the end of a project after the website is build. But, when you think about it, a website is essentially displaying content in an easy to digest way, so really it’s the most important piece and crucial to the overall success of the project.
If you’ve already written the content for every page of your website then you’re our ideal client, pat yourself on the back. But if not, don’t worry.
We can help you map out what elements each page on your website will include (example below).
This doesn’t take long and as well as helping us form a picture of how each page of your website could look, it will also provide you with a blueprint when it comes time to actually write the content too.
4) All the functionality needs to be covered off
Talking about content and mapping out a sitemap usually leads to uncovering any elements of bespoke functionality that you might require.
For example that could be a gallery within your case study pages, a downloadable resource at the bottom of every page that links to a mailing list, or even a customer area with customer specific information and downloads.
Whatever the functionality is, it’s just important that it’s been discussed and accounted for at this stage, as it will mean it can be itemised in the quotation.
5) Responsibilities need to be defined
Defining responsibilities early on is really important too. For example:
- Who is adding content to the finished website?
- Who is hosting the website?
- Do you have access to and control of your domain name?
- Who is the point of contact for the project, collating all the feedback?
Knowing all of these things again allows for a smooth, free-flowing project with no surprises and ensures that the fixed-price quote your receive is accurate and has everything covered.
Can you skip these steps?
If you’re having a bespoke website (not off-the-shelf), designed and built from scratch, then no, we don’t think so. If you do skip these stages then it’s likely something unexpected will crop up further down the line or the project will end up taking longer than originally anticipated.
These stages we’ve outlined are critical to the success of your project and they’re also part of a web design company’s due diligence, in order to provide your with a fantastic service.
So our advice would be to keep these things in mind when you’re contacting web designers and web design companies. If that company isn’t asking these questions, then perhaps look elsewhere or make sure that you’re asking them these things to see how they handle them.
Looking to redesign your website without the hassle?
Helping our clients redesign their website hassle free is our mission. If you’re looking to revamp your website the right way, then call Will on 01747 852298, or head over to the contact page.
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