Creating a new website? – What you need to know

If you’re reading this then you may be thinking about creating a new website, redesigning your old one, or developing a new site for a new business. If you’re thinking about it, chances are at some point in the near future it’s likely to become a reality. If so you’ll want your ‘project’ to run as smoothly as possible; want to look good in your boss’ eyes; want to save yourself and/or your company time, money and effort.

As project manager at WDL I and wanted to share some thoughts with you on how to make this happen by choosing the right web company and how to get the best out of them.

Who should I choose to work with?

The first and most important lesson you can learn is that most reputable web companies will expect you to work with them to achieve your business goals. While you might think you don’t have the time, inclination or knowledge to work closely with them, you will need to adapt. Without your cooperation it could be a precarious relationship that’s unlikely to produce desired results.

How can I spot good practice?

If your chosen web company asks you lots of questions, asks to have meetings to discuss your project in detail, and needs your input on (for example) site structure and provision of content, then these are positive signs. They obviously know what’s needed to help you achieve your goals and they’ll most likely deliver a solution that meets your expectations on time and on budget.

How do I spot bad practice?

If, however, they don’t ask you these sort of questions, or just say “OK we’ve got it”, then my advice would be to steer clear. I know I am bound to say this, since I work for this particular company, but in my professional experience, web agencies that don’t ask the right questions are probably not worth working with – they’re more likely to make mistakes, over-promise, under-deliver, go over budget and over time; none of which you need or want.

Why should I listen to them?

A good web company will advise you on good ideas for your site and will highlight the bad ones (your brother’s girlfriend’s dad’s suggestion that you need a flash animation on the homepage).

Even if you don’t like what they suggest, or don’t necessarily agree with them, you need to remember that they are the experts – they do this all day, every day and they want to help you make the right decisions based on their experience. They’ve already made mistakes and learnt from them, they’ve tried and tested any number of different ways of achieving the same goals and they’ve seen the things that work really well (and those that don’t) and measured the impact of these successes and failures.

Finally, any web business should be honest and open with you, and at the end of the day, what does a good reputable web company gain from giving you bad advice?

How do I get the most out of my web company?

If you want to avoid the multitude of mistakes that many people make when trying to get a new website up and running, the points below highlight the requirements you’re going to need to consider at the beginning of a typical web project. Prepare for this, as these are the ingredients for your website.

10 things you’ll most likely need to provide:

  1. Company Information (highlights of your business) – its USPs, strengths and weaknesses; your competitors, etc.
  2. Audience – who is your actual or preferred audience? Who do you want to target with your website?
  3. Design direction – have you got any ideas on what you want it to look like? Colours, layout, what sites do you like/don’t like?
  4. Site structure – what pages do you want on your site? Services, products, contact us, about us, privacy policy, terms and conditions, etc.
  5. Content – what imagery, text and calls to action do you want for the (above) pages of your site? Take a look at this blog post about Content Briefs to learn more.
  6. Functionality – what do you want the site to do? What do you want your users to do?  E.g. contact forms, galleries, booking options, payments, etc.
  7. Technical – are there any specific technical requirements for your project? E.g. browser compatibility, integration with legacy systems, etc.
  8. Internet Marketing – have you considered how you are going to market your website online? E.g. pay per click, SEO, social media, etc.
  9. Hosting – can you provide hosting details, or do you want your web company to host the site and the site’s email?
  10. Support & Maintenance – who’s going to look after your site when it’s built? Think about who’s going to edit and update the site, who’s going to fix any problems that may arise, etc.

If you are not sure about any of the above, speak to your chosen web company during the quoting stage. They’ll be able to offer additional services, consultancy and (at the very least) some guidance on what you need to do, or what they can do for you.

Hopefully, you’re clearer on what to expect, but if you want to work with a web company that’s been doing this for 10 years, contact us at Website Design Ltd and get the ball rolling.

 

Daniel

Before joining WDL in March 2011 Daniel had previously worked in a variety of different, but related roles in management and marketing. Most notably managing the move into showbiz photography at the Press Association. His focus and dedication to driving projects through our production process at WDL allows him to indulge his passion for making sure things are done - and done properly!

More Posts - Meet the rest of the team

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Daniel

Before joining WDL in March 2011 Daniel had previously worked in a variety of different, but related roles in management and marketing. Most notably managing the move into showbiz photography at the Press Association. His focus and dedication to driving projects through our production process at WDL allows him to indulge his passion for making sure things are done - and done properly!

More Posts - Meet the rest of the team

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Daniel

Before joining WDL in March 2011 Daniel had previously worked in a variety of different, but related roles in management and marketing. Most notably managing the move into showbiz photography at the Press Association. His focus and dedication to driving projects through our production process at WDL allows him to indulge his passion for making sure things are done - and done properly!

More Posts - Meet the rest of the team

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Daniel

Before joining WDL in March 2011 Daniel had previously worked in a variety of different, but related roles in management and marketing. Most notably managing the move into showbiz photography at the Press Association. His focus and dedication to driving projects through our production process at WDL allows him to indulge his passion for making sure things are done - and done properly!

More Posts - Meet the rest of the team

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