We have a lot of experience working with clients who are just stumped on how to help us help them build a better website. Outsourcing your web design to professionals can relieve a lot of stress, saving you time and ensuring the design and set-up are done well. But it can be daunting – how do you help your web designer build the best site for you? How can you help your new team of web design professionals not only make you happy, but also produce something that’s going to be effective for your business?
Be honest with what kind of website help you need.
This isn’t just about being honest with us or whoever you’ve hired. It’s about being honest with yourself. We offer different levels of services when it comes to website creation as do most agencies. If you know what you want (design, text and graphics), and you’ve generally worked out the pages and overall flow, then you’ll save time and money when you hire help. If you need a lot of assistance with strategy, content writing or custom graphic design for different elements, then you’re stepping into a different ballpark for your project. Knowing in advance what kind of support you need will help you shop for the right team to get you underway with a plan in the project that will best serve your needs.
When we do encounter clients that realize how much help they need in the middle of the project, it often drags the project out longer than we intended and can make the process feel icky instead of fun and exciting. Be upfront. Say things to your development team like, “I need help deciding what pages I want and I’m not a good writer.” “I don’t know where to start.” Your developer is likely to suggest a project with more time to plan and strategize than a simple site design project.
Know what you’re selling and how you’d like to sell it.
Sometimes we’re hired too early in the business planning process. Even if it’s not an e-commerce site, your website should effectively present your services or products and make it easier on your site visitor to take the next steps to engaging you or your business. If you’re not certain what you’re going to sell, for how much, or how you’re going to manage the business, then it’s too early to start an in-depth website project. Opt for a simple landing page until you get the details sorted out.
How we can help?
If you’re in the early stages of your business planning, then hiring Hot Dog Marketing or another agency that offers consulting services can help clarify a lot of things before you start building a site. We can even recommend consultants or coaches that aid with business planning and infrastructure. If you know what you want, but just don’t know what your options are for implementing your vision digitally, then bring that up during the proposal process. Your web team can research options or make recommendations based on experience on how to apply certain functionality to your new site.
Be a parter in the website project. Not a bystander.
You, as the business owner, are ultimately 100% in control of your brand, your purpose . . . your business. Even if we’ve worked with a business for years, our understanding of the business is not nearly as in-depth as the owner’s and its employees’. We do our best work when our clients are highly responsive, very involved and participate as part of the team building the site. We love feedback and can’t make a better website without it.
The worst feeling for us is when we didn’t even know that there was something about the project the client didn’t like. We strive for happy clients. Having conversations and approaching it like you’re working as part of the team helps us collaborate and have better ideas.
Make time for your website project.
Yes, you outsourced this particular need so I guess you don’t need to schedule time to work on it, right?
When I was a marketing director for a large global corporation, we still outsourced our graphic design and web design projects to studios and freelancers. Just because that particular project wasn’t being completed by me in-house, didn’t mean I didn’t need time to review projects on a timely basis to ensure deadlines were met. I never assumed the graphic designer was going to be in-charge of making sure I didn’t miss my deadlines.
As a business owner, you’re the business owner AND the marketing director for your business. You’ve outsourced the project, but you’re in-charge and need to make time to communicate with the team, review drafts, suggest changes and think through questions as they arise during your project.
Consider your brand when working on the website.
When we have clients that want a simple website design project, we refer to their existing branded materials (other brochures, the existing site maybe) and pull ideas. If you’re not happy with your brand, the way your other marketing materials look, your logo, or the way you talk about your business, then you don’t need a new website. You need to rebrand and work with a team on strategy and overall design of your marketing presence. This is a completely different kind of project.
Establishing a brand that you’re happy with will ensure your website project goes smoothly. Our best projects are with clients that have developed their brand with us prior to starting the site. That additional time developing the look and feel of their materials as well as strategizing on content and delivery makes building a site much easier.
Don’t shy away from SEO options!
Search engine optimization (SEO) companies have a bad rap and some of them definitely deserve it. There are a million SEO sales people to every one business owner, and many of them are selling air. Companies that build websites that have good reputations will make SEO suggestions and you should heed their advice.
We can design a site with no SEO technical set-up. When clients don’t want us to spend the extra time doing that for them, we happily oblige, but we don’t recommend it. Almost all sites need some sort of time devoted to technical SEO in order for it to be properly indexed on Google and other search engines. It could be a couple of simple items or a large list of technical issues that need to be addressed when a site is relaunched. If SEO is recommended by a reputable company, it’s worth the extra investment.
In conclusion, you are the most important factor in building a great site. Be excited, get organized and be involved in the process. The synergy you create with your team will reveal itself in positive ways when you launch your new website.
I’m a mom, a small business owner, and I’m a marketing professional with over a decade helping businesses with their branding and online presence. When I’m not spending time with my family or on my business, I love cooking (and eating), racquetball, yoga, and shopping. My favorite authors are Malcolm Gladwell and Steve Martin. My favorite movies are L.A. Story, Little Mermaid, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and Trainspotting.