How to Work with a Web Design Agency
Helping You get the most from your new website
ITS NOT THAT COMPLICATED, REALLY!
The day has come and your boss has finally said: “I think we need to redesign our site”. Yes! I know I would be stoked to take on such an ambitious project that could potentially a big part of my career’s legacy. But before we begin choosing new color palettes and start browsing web design inspiration galleries, we need have a project plan on how to get the best results we can.
A lot of companies push this part of the website design process to somewhere in the middle, and it’s frustrating to both parties involved. We have been in countless meetings where the potential client says, “just give us a price” and we think ok, we have a decent budget to work with. Then comes proposal time and the client doesn’t understand why they are looking at a $20,000 quote and decides to keep looking.
As a web design agency, we want your business to have the best, coolest, shiniest website we offer. After all, it may go into our portfolio to show other potential clients. To eliminate sticker shock, have a range of what your business is able to spend. If its $3000 to $6000, state that. That lets the web design agency know that it can’t be a 300-page website with all the bells and whistles. If the proposal is within your range and covers everything required for your new website, there is no need for back and forth negotiations regarding price. You are one step closer to getting a new website.
A few other items you should share with your potential partners when getting your quotes:
- Determine the number of pages the new website will have.
- If its a redesign, is it just replacing the current content with a new design?
- What functionality would you like to have on the new site?
- Do you need photography or video done?
- What items will you be providing for the web design? Content, images, logos, etc.
- Will you need a strategy to market the site? Will your site need SEO, Google AdWords, Social Media or all of the above?
- Do you have a domain name? Where will the site be hosted?
This list of items is more than enough for a web design agency to determine the amount of work involved in building your site. If you have a lot of functionality that needs to be on the site, but it sends your budget in a spiral, use a phased approach for the project. We build a lot of projects using this approach where phase 1 is the initial site build and launch. Phase 2 is adding ecommerce or additional functionalities, then phase 3 covers a marketing strategy to build the new site’s awareness and traffic.
Once you’ve chosen the agency you want to use and the proposal has been approved, its time to start working on your new site! This is also the part that makes or breaks the success of the site as well as your new relationship with an agency. During the proposal process, there should have been time-lines discussed on when to expect certain milestones to be reached. Put those dates on your calendar with a reminder. This ensures that your project stays on track and lets the agency know you will be monitoring the site’s progress.
Throughout the design and development stages of the project, keep the lines of communication open. Be present during milestone events and if you are not the final decision maker in the project, have that person involved as well. We’ve encountered scenarios where the President or VP of Marketing was absent during the whole process and when it came time for the final launch approval, they had numerous questions about why things were done and were not happy because the new site didn’t match their “vision”. This pushes the project timeline out further and adds more expense to the project. Agencies are certainly happy to do more work, but not when it compromises the integrity of their new client’s relationship.
Websites can’t come alive unless everyone follows through on their deliverables. One of the things that routinely prevents timelines from being met is obtaining approvals on deliverables required to complete the project. During the proposal process and you determine that content is needed for those 20 new pages you want to add to the site, have that content created as soon as possible. The same goes for the head shots needed for the new VP’s bio or mages of the new product line. After the project brief has been reviewed, have all your deliverables in place, then it’s on the web design agency to meet their timelines, not you.
Lastly, be honest with them. If you are involved, you have numerous opportunities to speak up and ask why things look and feel the way they do. Its much appreciated and if they are a web design agency worth their salt, they are more than willing to discuss changes, and together you decide if its the best thing for the project. The last thing they want is to complete a project and for a new client and have them walk away feeling the new site didn’t meet their expectations. After all, this is supposed to be your career-defining project right?