By Steven Titchener
As a web design and development client, you often see blogs about what you should be asking your development team before starting a website project, in fact, we even wrote our own.
These are great to read through to help make sure you are getting a developer you can trust to build an amazing website for you, but these only go so far. What about when you have chosen the web developer, what should you be telling them about you and your project to help them make it the success you are looking for?
In this blog we are going to go through all of the information you should provide your developer to make sure they can make your website dreams come to life.
It’s all well and good getting a new website built, but without setting goals for what you want this website to achieve it will just be a new skin on the site. This doesn’t mean it is going to be better, at least not by a lot.
The other problem with not setting goals is – how will you know if the website is a success if you don’t have anything to measure it against?
So if you go ahead and set goals for what this website needs to achieve in relation to your business, you can develop a much more functional and high performing website.
By letting your developer know these goals, they can help make sure the web design and UX is aimed at hitting those goals. They can guide you through potential new pages you should create, new features to add and how a particular design system will help take a user from landing on the website to doing what you want them to do.
You are getting a new website for a reason, because it doesn’t perform well or you just don’t like it. However there are always going to be parts of it that you do like. Maybe it’s the wording on a specific section, or the icons used.
Whatever it is, it is always great to tell your web designer what it is you do and don’t like about your current website, and be specific and go into micro-detail. This is going to help them make sure they don’t present a web design with elements that you hated, making the whole process a lot smoother.
You can’t have great marketing without knowing your audience, the same applies to a website. Without knowing who the audience is for this website, you can’t ensure a successful and high converting website.
If you let your web team know who the audience this website is for they can help guide you towards designs, content and user journeys that can help both you and your audience get what they want from the website.
You might have a whole marketing strategy going, you might just occasionally post on Twitter. Whatever it is you do with your marketing, by letting the developer know they can help setup the systems and content to better receive any users coming from your marketing, and even setup systems to help you do more marketing.
This could be setting up landing pages, blogs or even calculators and quizzes so that your website can be your marketing base.
A very important one to talk about early on in the project. What deadlines are you looking to meet?
Sometimes a new website doesn’t have a set deadline, which gives you the opportunity to really make sure the new one hits everything you want before launching. Sometimes though you have a deadline, maybe it’s the launch of a new product or service that you need this new site ready for.
Either way, let the developer know so they can make sure they can be efficient with their planning so we can all hit our deadlines.
Another important one, budget. There are always so many cool and exciting features we as web developers want to add to client websites that could have a massive impact on their business, but the client doesn’t have the budget.
It’s not a bad thing, every business has a different budget and we can’t all be Apple with unlimited resources. So letting the web team know what budget you are looking at can help them focus on what will give you the most impact within your budget.
After all, building a calculator on your website might be a better option than having an about and team page. It depends on your audience, but developers will know how to get the best bang for your buck.
We always get clients asking to be like Apple, that’s great and all, they have a nice site. But it’s not achievable or even optimal for all clients.
But that doesn’t mean we don’t want any inspiration. By sharing websites and designs that you like with us can make a smoother process for everyone, we can make sure the designs you are getting suit the style you are looking for, it gives a little bit of direction, resulting in fewer rounds of amends.
This is possibly the most important thing to communicate to your web development team.
If you can let the team know what you value most and what you want to get from this new website, we can make sure we steer in that direction to make sure the process is smooth and the outcome is exactly what you are looking for.
This can be anything as well from having regular communication with the team, to wanting to be able to easily add blogs to the site. If we know what you value in advance we can tailor the service to you.
The obvious reason for getting a new website is for it to generate more leads, sales or contacts than the previous site. However that is a very broad goal for a website and isn’t something that a new website alone can do, you are relying on your marketing and sales to get results like that.
Instead for this you want to think about as soon as the website is launched, how will you know that this project has been a success? Is it the inclusion of a certain tool or a vast improvement on design? Maybe it’s a load speed decrease (which is good by the way).
Whatever the reason, let the team know so they can make sure that they are tracking against that, so you are happy with the outcome.
Something not often thought about but can be important. You will need to be involved in the web design and development process at certain key points, however you might not have the time to really dedicate to this project and might be spinning a million other plates.
That’s fine! It’s good to let the team know that so they can make communication efficient and loop you in as much as you can be. If you want to be heavily involved with the project that’s also fine, but let the team know so they can manage their process to help with your level of involvement.
These changes could be from having weekly meetings to maybe just an email update once every two weeks so you know it is being progressed, but doesn’t use much of your time. Or it might be that we write all of the copy to save you time.
Sometimes a company gets all of their business through their website, sometimes they get none of it through that and use it more as a brochure than anything else. With this vast difference in the way you get leads and sales it’s good to identify how you get business and what the website’s purpose is in this.
By letting the web developer know what your conversion rate is from your website, or how many visitors your currently get and how many of those become clients, the developer can help look at where you can get a boost in sales from your website or even start to gather leads from it.
Your website is your 24/7 sales person, don’t neglect the potential there.
When you’ve got your shiny new website and it’s meeting the project goals perfectly, what effect will this have on your business? Will it grow exponentially?
By thinking about this and letting your developer know, they can help make sure the website is pointed to helping you achieve your business goals. It won’t be the only answer to achieving them, but it can go a long way towards that.
Most clients have other platforms they use to manage their customers, emails and product systems. These are important operational systems for your business to succeed, and your website can most likely plug into these to help get more data into them and make them more accurate.
By letting the developer know, you can make sure you are creating a technological ecosystem that all works in tandem to make your business run smoother than ever.
Brand guidelines, as much as inspiration is a great way to help us identify the path to realising your ideal website, brand guidelines are the base of all the design… if you have them.
By sending these over to your web design team, they can make sure any designs they do match up to your current branding, resulting in a more consistent look for all of your marketing.
Finally, if you had an unlimited budget for this website, what are all of the things you would have on this?
This is a great piece of information because it can help direct the website now and in the future. You might have an idea for a page but think it’s too crazy to add into the website, but after reviewing your audience the web team thinks that it would be the perfect addition, so we work around other pages to make it happen.
It’s also good to know for future developments, the best website is one that is always evolving with your business and users. By having this list of things that you would have, each month you can start working towards the more interesting elements rather than having a static website.
Now you know the 15 things you should tell your web developer, why not check out the 20 Questions To Ask Your Web Developer, it is a two-way street working on a website after all.
Part of The Digital Maze Group