The development of a new website is no small undertaking! At Top Draw, we have a comprehensive process in place that guides us through client and team collaboration, search engine optimization, content strategy, design and development. While we don’t claim to have perfected the process, we are committed to its evolution in order to achieve the best possible results for our clients.
Whether you work with us or any other development firm, here are a few considerations to keep in mind.
#1 Be prepared
Even before the first meeting with your web development company, there is work to be done! Spend some time researching and creating a list of websites you love and websites you hate. You should be able to articulate why they fit in each category. What do you like about the layout and functionality? What appeals to you in terms of colours, content or images? Your answers to these questions will provide valuable insight for your web design team.
You should also have some clear goals in mind for your website. Do you want to increase leads? Increase your sales? Rank better in search results? A good website will do all of these things, but identifying your primary goal will define the focus of the project.
#2 Determine who will be involved from the beginning to the end of the project
Are you the only person in the company who will be involved in the process? If not, it can be a good idea to assign a project manager role to someone within your organization. That person will work in tandem with your web development company’s project manager to keep everyone on the same timeline. In an ideal world, your internal project manager functions as the primary contact, streamlining communication between both parties.
Remember that “too many chefs can spoil the soup” when it comes to web design. Multiple people involved in the approval process don’t necessarily spoil the soup, but they can cause delays. At the outset of the project, it is extremely important for all parties to know who needs to be included in the decision process.
#3 Trust in the plan
A good web development company will provide you with an extremely detailed proposal and accompanying timeline outlining the entire process. There are many elements that must come together in order to bring your site from concept to launch, and it’s extremely important that all parts of the process follow a schedule. Whether that’s meetings, content delivery, or design approvals, delays on these pieces will impact the launch date.
#4 Respect the deadlines, but remember to be flexible
#3 and #4 are peas in the same pod. Generally speaking, following the plan ensures that deadlines are met. While there can be issues that arise in development that require additional time, typically the timeline set out in the proposal is aligned with the actual amount of time it takes to complete a project. That said, changing any element of the website, no matter how seemingly small, can shift a project’s completion date by days or weeks. Having realistic expectations about this part of the process is key. When adjustments are needed, it’s beneficial for both sides that the changes are communicated as early on as possible.
The biggest hindrance to the successful completion of any project is poor communication. It’s extremely important that two-way communication happens at the outset of any web build. We recommend taking the time at the beginning of a project to outline the best way to communicate and the best times to communicate. At this point in the project it’s also extremely helpful to know if multiple people need to be involved in meetings, emails and phone calls.
Any other tips for keeping projects running smoothly? We’d love to hear them.