A good web designer will understand that your site is a tool through which you can achieve your goals, but they need some important information to help them deliver what you want.
Whether you’re an established company or a new business just starting out, you’re probably aware of the power of online marketing as part of your business strategy.
Maybe you’re new to the world of web design, or perhaps you’ve decided it’s time to upgrade your current website to keep up to date with contemporary design trends and technologies.
Either way, your chances of digital success will be greatly improved by teaming up with a reputable web development agency that takes the time to understand your needs and present your business in the best possible light.
Here are five things a good web designer will need to know in order for you to get the best results from your new website:
1. Fundamental goals and target audience
The first questions we will ask are: why do you want a new website? Are you promoting a new product or event? Do you want to increase traffic so your phone is ringing non-stop? Do you want to provide potential customers with essential info about your company? Do you have a bricks-and-mortar store and want to maximise sales by starting to sell online?
Knowing your goals makes the rest of the process a lot more straightforward, as it lets us home in on functionality and design choices that will help you reach those targets.
A good designer will also identify your target audience, as this will guide the development of your new website.
A website aimed at a younger demographic will, for example, be different in terms of visual design and the tone of the copy to a site aimed at a more conservative audience.
Becoming familiar with your company branding will make the design process a lot more efficient and ensure your new website enhances your brand identity. Even the style of your logo will make an impact on the direction of the visual design, in relation to colours, graphics and user-interface elements.
Sometimes your designer will request a few websites that you like the 'look and feel' of as a starting point when beginning your wireframe concept, and ask what it is that appeals to you. It might be the fonts used, the colour palette or the layout of the content.
Knowing this will mean that your design will really hit the mark in terms of the art direction of the site. Similarly, identifying sites you’re not so keen on helps us know what to avoid!
As I already mentioned, being aware of your business goals will ensure your new website helps you achieve them. The features you choose are a large part of this.
If technology is not really your area and you feel uncomfortable with jargon, that’s OK. A good design agency will listen to what you need and translate this into appropriate website functionality.
Do you have a large following on social media and want to do some cross-promotion with your website? Facebook and Instagram integration could be a good way to go.
Do you run a B&B and want guests to be able to easily book and pay online? A reservation system linked to a payment gateway is the answer.
Perhaps you have a large database of existing customers and want to let them know of upcoming promotions, in which case a newsletter subscription option could be handy.
A quality agency will collaborate with you on what features you need from your new website, and include these as part of the design and project plan.
Sometimes it’s easy to forget about content in the excitement of figuring out your website design and functionality, but it’s really important to consider your options from the start.
Not only can your copy and images help inform the design, if you do require copywriting services and custom graphics these will ideally be included as part of the project scope, to give you accurate project milestones and delivery targets.
Or perhaps you’ve decided to write your own content or migrate content from an existing website. Being aware of this makes for a much more efficient development process.
5. Website maintenance and marketing
A big factor that can influence the way your new website is developed is the ongoing maintenance plan and who will be managing the site.
For instance, if one of your team members is going to be updating content, your designer will probably recommend that your website be built using a content management system (CMS) like WordPress, and will include training as part of the handover process.
Having an amazing new website is great, but it's useless if nobody is visiting it. By now you’re probably familiar with SEO, which is all about optimising your website for search engine rankings.
For so many people, search engines such as Google are the first port of call when looking for goods and services, making SEO a crucial element in your marketing strategy. Knowing your goals will help your web design agency build a site that is in line with this plan.
A reputable web agency will ask all of these questions so they can deliver a site, on time and within budget, that maximises your online reputation and helps you hit your business targets.
Being armed and ready with this knowledge will not only keep your web designer happy, it will give your company the best chance of ongoing online success.
Scott Donald is the chief strategist at e-commerce website optimisation agency Creativ Digital.