If you’re looking to build or update a website the options can be rather bewildering, with some of the discussions you will come across seemingly in a foreign language. ‘Tech talk’ should be kept behind-the-scenes, with a clear conversation about your website aims and requirements being the important first step in any partnership. The web team should get a thorough understanding of what you are looking to achieve with the website, and you should feel confident that they have understood this.
The word team is important here – ideally you need design, development and digital marketing expertise to get the most from your site, potentially with a copywriter thrown into the mix. This is to ensure that your website performs as you want it to, rather than just looking good but having a poor user experience. Don’t forget to ask about on-going management and how you’ll update your content once the website is live – is this something that you’ll be able to manage and understand yourself?
Once this is all agreed, it’s time to get the project launched and your website production underway! A sitemap is generally a good starting point for a website; whether you have one in existence or are looking to begin completely from scratch, you should have the opportunity to talk through and amend anything before the project really kicks off. This will give you the initial structure of the website and should consider the user journey, ensuring that all the pages you expect to see are visible.
A good developer or agency will incorporate the first part of your SEO strategy in this process – undertaking keyword research and ensuring at this stage that the menu headers and page titles are optimised. Of course, this is only possible to a certain extent, but being aware of this and looking to get the whole website working together for search engine optimisation before you’ve even started will pay dividends once you’ve gone live.
Once the sitemap is agreed, the design work can start. If the developer doesn’t ask you about logos or brand guidelines then I would advise concern! It is likely that you already have some ideas about colours or logos, if you don’t already have some, so this should always form part of the early conversation.
From this they can get to work, building the homepage template initially and sub-pages following that. You should again be involved and asked for your feedback and sign-off before the final pages are put together, with content generation the next step. Whether you are providing this or making use of a copywriter to manage this is up to you, but again you should be asked for a clear brief if you are outsourcing it and will be asked to sign-off the final copy which should be written with the prior keyword research in mind.
Having a confirmed feedback process for the project will make life a lot more pleasant for both you and the development team, as you’ll have specific milestones and opportunities to provide feedback. You will clearly be involved with the process and able to voice your ideas whilst the development team have a clear structure to work to, ensuring that the project runs to time and expectation. This extends to completion too, as time should be built in at the end for testing and any final tweaks you might have once you’ve seen the website in its completed state.
Once that is all approved – congratulations, it’s a new website!
If you want to talk to us about website development services please get in touch.