Make Your Website Sell

Just take a moment to pat yourself on the back!

Because, if you’ve been following my series on finding the right web design partner, then you’ve made the bold decision to understand and learn about web design so you could make the best choice for your business.

But it’s time to turn the tables!

Today “How to Pick the Perfect Web Designer” has been re-titled to…

“How to Be the Perfect Client!”

Your project management, design input, content development and relationship with your web designers is critical.  Without your input there is no website.

Your web designers will offer you advice and guidance, maybe even a fresh perspective on your business but at the heart of the project is YOUR VISION.  And NOBODY cares about this as much as YOU.   And that’s why you could never completely hand the project over to a company and expect to get back your vision realised.

So how do you get involved?  What do you need to do?  What should you watch for and be aware of during the process?

It’s all here…

THE RELATIONSHIP

Here are some simple things you can do to create a smooth and enjoyable working relationship with your web designers.

  1. When sharing your vision – write it down!  (Don’t leave anything to interpretation.)

  2. Introduce yourself and your key personnel to everyone working on your project

  3. Be available for consultation at any time

  4. Be willing to take advice

  5. Be patient – websites may look simple on the surface but complex technology lurks beneath and that takes time to develop

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

Your web design company will be responsible for managing their side of your website’s build but you are central to that process.  Here are some tips to help that go smoothly:

  1. Make sure you have a good project management tool.  (If you don’t have one check out www.basecamphq.com.)

  2. State your expectations and deadlines up front.  (Don’t assume your web design agency will approach the project as you would.)

  3. Be ultra-clear about what you want – always check that they understand your point before progressing

  4. Take the time to understand the process of how they intend to build your website

  5. Ask at what points during the development cycle they need your input

  6. Give your feedback quickly.  (Remember any delay from your side could push the deadline back.)

  7. If you request changes don’t assume they’ll be absorbed into the project cost.  Make sure you are aware of any extra costs before commencing the work.  (You don’t want any shocks when the invoice arrives.)

  8. Be decisive – how many times have you said “I should have followed my instincts”?  Well, one of the reasons we don’t act on them is because we over analyse and this leads to indecision.  Listen to your intuition and make a decision, it’s incredibly liberating, speeds up your response times and help maintain the project’s deadlines.

DESIGN ISSUES

You want a stunning design but if you’re like me then you’ll know what you like but couldn’t actually design it!  Design is one of the most testing parts of building a website and because the results can make or break the relationship.

  1. Don’t panic if it’s not right first time – it’s a process and can take a while for the designer to ‘get’ where you’re coming from.

  2. Be guided by your designer – they’ll know how to create a design that works

  3. BUT, if you hate it and its just plain wrong don’t be afraid to say!

  4. Don’t fall into the trap of wanting everything to catch your Browser’s eye (headline, telephone number, text, graphics, etc.).  The design should make your eye flow down the screen seeing things in an order which funnels you to the next action.

  5. Remember, less is more – don’t succumb to the idea that you need everything on one page

  6. Don’t keep ‘trying things out’ on the design.  A good designer will probably have thought and tried a number of approaches before settling on the one they present to you.

  7. Don’t review the design according to what you like.  It’s how your target audience will react that’s most important.  Find some tame clients and ask for their opinions.

CONTENT

This is the point at which many projects can stall.  Getting your content together is the most challenging and time consuming part of your role.  Below are a few tips to help you along.

  1. Remember you’re responsible for the content which is the MOST IMPORTANT part of your website

  2. As soon as the design is done (or ideally before) begin the writing process

  3. Look at where the space for copy (words) is in your design and write to those dimensions.  (Writing too little will look ‘empty’ and too much will make the page scroll.)

  4. If you’re really struggling to get the content written consider employing a copywriter to help

  5. Don’t underestimate how long this process will take.  And don’t forget that content isn’t just the copy but also photos, audio, PDF documents, video and so on.

One more thing… keep a little contingency money in reserve, just in case.  (But just don’t tell anyone about it!)

Now no-one can ever complain about you because you are the Perfect Client!

Next week we’ll take a look at whether your web designer’s physical location has a bearing on your choice.

Jed Wylie is the author of Make Your Website Sell and works for Morgan Wylie a web design and digital marketing agency in the Midlands. Follow Jed on Twitter at MorganWylieWeb


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