Have you ever built a new house?
There’s a lot to consider. Planning the design, the layout, one level or two, the colour scheme and of course negotiating the features of the kitchen. Monitoring the building process, making decisions on the fly and evolving the plan to finally reach your desired outcome. In the end, you have a fantastic new house and you have learnt a whole lot about how to make it easier next time.
In some ways, building a house and building a new website may be very similar experiences.
They can both take longer than you expect, cost more than you expect and cause countless disagreements, negotiations and sleepless nights. But in the end, everyone is so happy with the final result that they forget the bad experiences and everyone lives happily ever after. Well, most of the time.
With the right planning (and the right design partners) your new kick-ass website can be developed within your schedule and cost expectations. It just requires some planning and realistic goals.
We asked our team what tips they thought were most important. This is what they came up with:
Why are you building a new site?
Are you launching a new product, service or brand? Is it a refresh? Do you need to improve the customer experience or introduce e-commerce? Are you just trying to keep up with mobile readiness or search algorithms?
What will your new site do for you?
Do you need to reach new markets or drive new customer engagement? Will it convey your core messages and value proposition? Will it increase your sales? Will it help you attract and retain the right staff? Will it underpin your broader marketing and social media strategies? Enable your customers to buy your products online? Provide remote access to your network for your employees?
What help do you need and where will you get it?
What can you do? What additional skills do you need to get the job done right? Will you engage a design team or individual skills? Who will write the content? Do you need new graphics and imagery to support the new design?
If you don’t plan well up front and get some good advice, websites can cost more and take longer than you initially expect. It is critical to consider and define your project budget and schedule up front and stick to it. It’s also critical to agree, in advance, the essential functionality of your new website. Of course, you will always want more, but start by setting your non-negotiables first and then add extra value as budget and schedule permit. The right design and development partner will help you to set a realistic budget and schedule while delivering the best bang for your buck.
It is likely that your project will involve more people and tasks than you expect. That’s why you should always appoint a capable project manager to lead and manage the project. The project manager will assign and monitor tasks, coordinate resources and manage issues as they arise. Most importantly, this key role will keep your project on target and make sure that it delivers what you expect from it.
You can’t build a house without building the foundations. The same is true for your new website. It’s important to have a plan and follow that plan in the right order. This will save unnecessary frustration, cost and time and make for a more enjoyable experience.
When building a new house, few things are as important as choosing the right builder. When building a new website, unless you are blessed with an in-house design team, choosing your design team can make or destroy your experience.
It is essential that your team understand your business, your target market and your broader marketing strategy to help guide your project to success. They should work with you in the planning phase to better understand what will be required and to control cost and timeline without sacrificing quality and functionality.
We hope these tips help you to develop your all new kick-ass website. We would love to hear about your experience or any additional tips you think we should add in the future. Drop us a line as we love hearing about successful design projects – even if they aren’t ours.