Learning Hub | Planning a Website Design Project

Things to Consider Before Working With a Web Design Firm

December 27, 2016 | Jon Teodoro

You’ll Need to Hand Over Some of Your Passwords

We all hold our pass codes dear. Inventions like password keepers have blown up in recent years to help us manage the hundreds of login usernames and associated combinations we need to unlock our most sensitive information.

Even if we think the combo of our childhood nickname and our birth year is clever enough to use for our bank account, Facebook and email, we will be weary to hand it out to friends much less strangers.

The thing is, depending on how much responsibility you want your web designer to have, there’s a good chance that you’re going to have to loosen your grip a wee bit. Most web developers are going to need your login information to get into the backend of your website and see what’s what.

Even if they don’t need access to the panel of your current site, they will be creating and managing all sorts of logins during the build of your new website.

The more plugins and/or applications, the more logins needed. So, make sure you’re working with designers that you can trust as if they were your own employees.

They should make you feel comfortable enough to stifle any fears you’ve had about sharing access. If you’re questioning their loyalty, chances are they’re not the right fit.

**Do be weary if they begin asking for any passwords that aren’t relevant to your site build, of course. You know, like your HBO login. After all, if you want to stick to your timeline, you don’t want them binge watching Game of Thrones…**

To find a reliable design firm that you can trust, do some research before you hire. For a few tips on how to pick the right designers, check out our fun infographic.

Although trust is extremely important, it isn’t the only ingredient needed for a successful design/customer relationship. The recipe is a little more complex, and you’ve got to get in the kitchen to help.

A Smooth Process: What You Can Do

Passwords are not the only things that you’ll need to give to your design team. To help the process flow effortlessly and ensure that you keep your project running on time, consider taking the following steps:

Make an outline.

Have some idea of what you want your site architecture to look like? Great! Make an outline.

It doesn’t need to be snazzy and chances are it won’t look even close to the final product, but you can give your design team an idea of the scale of your project by outlining what pages you need, what information you want included and what the main intention of your site is (i.e. Retail, Tech, Education, etc.).

Collect example designs.

Surely you have seen websites that you like in your Internet travels. Go ahead and collect a few of the URLs, show your designers, and explain to them what you like about each and why.

Communicate customizations, specifications and site needs.

Tell your design firm if you need specifics like a blog, a checkout process and a shopping cart, or a donation page.

Check out your competitors’ sites.

Before reaching out to a design company, take a look at some of the competition. Ask yourself what their sites are getting right and what they’re getting wrong.

Show your designers the sites and your notes. This will not only help them make sure that your custom website stands out from your competitors’, but it will allow them to better understand your industry.

Establish your budget and timeline.

Before heading into a meeting at a design firm, you will do yourself and the team a favor by deciding on a project budget and a deadline. Ideally, both should be somewhat flexible to account for unforeseen costs. However, it is a good idea to have a maximum price in mind.

If you do have an absolute launch date, tell the designers so that they can make sure they have the time and resources to meet it.

Gather your existing materials.

Collect any content that you currently have, either on your existing site or off, and share it with your designers in one of the first meetings.

By seeing what it has to build on, your design team can get a better vision of the site’s architecture, what’s important to you and what it needs to collect to make your dream site a reality.

These materials include things like:

  • Photo files.
    • If you are using stock photos, don’t worry about keeping those as your designers probably have access to better ones.
    • You may want to consider scheduling a photoshoot to get licensed, high-def pictures for your site. We think it is worth it!
  • Copy (headlines, taglines, body copy, existing blogs, etc.).
  • Downloadable documents/incentives.
  • Coupons.
  • Product catalogs.
  • PDFs.
  • And more…

Outline your site goals.

We’re sure that you have many goals for your site. In fact, each page should have a goal, but here you need to narrow it down to just one overarching goal by answering the following question: “What action do I want my site to persuade my visitors to do next?”

Real-life goals that our clients have come up with include:

  • Buy a product in our online store.
  • Call us for a quote.
  • Come into our store for a fitting.
  • Visit our church.
  • Schedule a yoga class.

While building your site, the design team can keep this goal in mind to make sure that every single aspect on every page works together toward its completion.

Determine your target audience.

Who is viewing your page?

Design firms have several tools at their disposal to research the answer to this question, but no one knows your audience better than you do.

If you have trouble coming up with how to describe your target audience, consider some of the following questions:

  • How old is my clientele?
  • How do they find my business?
  • Are they tech-savvy?
  • What kind of device do they use to access my site?
  • Through which avenues do they find my site (i.e. organic search, paid ads, etc.)?
  • Where do I spend the most on advertising?
  • What do they expect to see on my site?
  • What questions do they have that I need to answer?
  • Do I have returning customers?
  • Does my clientele lean more toward one gender or another?
  • Are they in one location or dispersed?
  • Are they active on social media?

The list goes on and on….if you need help coming up with buyer personas, check out this free template from our pals at HubSpot.

Verde Media is Here to Help!

We believe that you must be able to rely on your designers, and vice versa, for the relationship, and the work, to be successful.

Trust us, we know it can be difficult to have an outsider involved in any aspect of your business. Those aren’t easy reins to hand over.

That’s why we make it our priority to run on a platform of transparency here at Verde Media, and we’d be happy to help ease any concerns you may still have.

We’re happy to say that we aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Working with our firm will ensure that you receive a unique design, built specifically to marry your company goals with your target audience.

Once our clients are on board, we work very closely together, taking their input and answering their questions along the way.

If you’d like to learn more about our process, how involved we get and why, and what you can expect every step of the way, feel free to call us at 586.434.0678.

You can also fill out our online quote form to tell us more about your business. Be sure to include any questions that you have. One of our team members will contact you within one business day.