Building websites is my meat and potatoes. I am one of the few online marketers that consult and implement. Maybe I am old fashioned in that I like to start each client I have with a strong foundation. A strong website is solid, yet simple built to be flexible and evolve with the needs of the business.
What do ponies and websites have in common? Well, have you ever wanted a pony of your very own? I can tell you that buying a pony is the cheapest part of owning your very own horsey. Websites are similar; the initial cost is an investment. However, from there you will like having a horse have to maintain your site, update it regularly and get used to the new responsibility you are taking on for the health of your business and online brand.
Websites are built to the best of everyone’s ability and understanding. You want a website that you feel comfortable wearing around as your brand’s online face here are some tips to save and get what you want.
Be Prepared – setting your designer up for success
Coming to your designer with a package that can let them start right away without waiting on emails for passwords, hosting information speeds up the process by hours if not days. After signing an agreement for the work that is going to be done hand over this package to your designer to make them smile.
- Have all of your account information handy – If you have an existing website have hosting information and FTP logins ready.
- Creative assets – have all the different variations of your logo, banners you like to use as well as your tag line, creative copy and preferred color palettes ready.
- Know what you like and what you don’t like – take time to research and record websites in your industry that you do and don’t like. Record this info to be presented to your designer
- Pick photos – stock photography is objective. Have links to 10-15 photos that you like to give your designer a good idea of the feel you are going for.
There are very few websites I build that are not powered by WordPress. Having a content management system will save you the headache of not being able to update your website yourself. For a small business that doesn’t have a fluent web admin this is necessary.
- Try out a free WordPress blog. Poke around and make pages and blog posts. Get familiar so don’t have to depend on your web designer for tiny copy updates and adding images.
- Know your limits – know the types of tasks you will need help for. Like updating design elements, graphics and styling. That way you don’t get charged for things you could easily update yourself.
Working Together – Excellent Communication Gets Excellent Results
Time is money, 45% of the time spent on your website most likely will be spent on communicating. The other 55% is actually heads down work. By keeping communication clear, less time will be spent playing phone tag, waiting for emails or hoping to sync calendars.
- Be clear – If you need a website done in a week be sure to be clear that is the time frame. Loose timeframes can be good too yet communication can get fuzzy over a long project.
- Talk often: Use collaboration tools are a must have for keeping communication clear. Google docs, Freshbooks and AgileZen are personal favorites.
- Write the content – after you and your designer create a basic flow of your website switch your focus to writing the content. Copy will help the designer work with the layout of the page, and choosing images.
Final touches – Polish the site off with a great smooth finish
The two roughest parts of a web design process are the beginning, and the end.
- Have a running list – tasks that need to be completed in the scope of the agreement will help determine what needs to be done and what would be nice to have later.
- Gather work - Have your designer give you all the creative work used, if in the future you need it you have it.
- Keep in touch – Have an attitude to keep learning from each other. Better connections typically mean faster responses, updates and a life long advocate for your brand