7 Strategies to Build the Perfect Website
BY Ilya Pozin
Step 1: Don't do it yourself. Go to a great Web design firm, and then follow these tips to make sure it's a happy collaboration.
I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that if you clicked on this article, you're probably not the one who's going to do the website building and you're not looking to learn code anytime soon either.
You'll go to a Web agency and work with a designer, developer (sometimes more than one), a site architect, and an account manager or salesperson. Building a quality website involves a lot of people and I've found at my Web design company, many clients come in and don't know the basics of how to deal with a Web agency.
With so many people, how do you get everyone on the same page--and working toward your goal? Here are a few strategies to remember as you build the perfect website:
1. Know what everyone wants from the project.
As a client, you want your site done correctly, quickly, and inexpensively. The designer and developer want to finish the project fast, the architect wants to ensure the site will lead to conversions, and account managers want to make a strong sell. Knowing that each person in the equation has different goals can help you to be sensitive to their needs and avoid unnecessary road bumps along the way.
2. Don't bring a proposal.
Most Web design agencies prefer clients don't attempt to spell out functional specifics of the site. Clients should present their overall business goals and target audiences, not pencil sketches, wireframes, or examples of other websites. Come in with a marketing plan, not a development plan. If you're working with a good agency, you'll get their product and their ideas, which are often much more valuable than just the product itself.
3. Bring your branding elements.
Plenty of clients come in without this, and it's a huge no-no. Present designers with your company's brand style guide, including logos, colors, and any other branding elements to help designers form the proper strategy for your needs.
4. Ask for a logic model.
Ciplex just started providing these for clients last month. Logic models take in an understanding of your business goals and target audience, allowing you to look at every design and development decision in terms of primary goals and target audiences. It can help you to connect small decisions to larger goals.
5. Be willing to learn.
You're not the expert, the Web design agency is. Have an open mind. Be willing to learn about the process and what goes into building websites the proper way before attempting to push your ideas through the door.
6. Be ready to work with many people.
Websites are complex. That means they require having a lot of hands in the project all at once. Be communicative with every team member, not just the developer or the designer. Each person has a very different role, and avoiding disconnect during the process is key for creating the highest quality site.
7. Be human.
Too many clients end up making harsh demands of their Web designers. Don't be one of them! Remember, your Web team is on your team. If you make them hate you, they'll push out the final product quickly just to get it (and you) off their plate. Be human, and treat designers as your teammates if you want the best results.
Remember, creating a great website takes many steps. If you can't be a helpful and cooperative client, your final product--and ultimately, your business--will suffer.
ILYA POZIN is the founder of Open Me, a social greeting card company. He founded his first company, Ciplex, a digital marketing and creative agency catering to small businesses and start-ups, at age 17. @ilyaNeverSleeps