So you know the feeling; your website urgently needs updating. Competitor sites are knocking yours for six and forensics are showing that the number of viewers is dropping. The less people looking at your site, the lower the amount of leads that you get in, so something has to be done.
After studying your budget and searching for the best web design agency in your area, be that Birmingham or elsewhere, you have opted for one that has great testimonials. The site has a modern and upbeat look and is generally impressive. If their site is that good, imagine what they can do for yours! After checking out some of their referrals and being happy with the results, you give the work to them.
So now you are mega excited and ready to kick off. But what if things don’t go as you expect? What if the web design agency holds back because they cannot fully understand your brief? Maybe you aren’t agreeing on style and design. Maybe you dont know the difference between website design and web development? There could be so many things that could go wrong, delaying progress and most of all, pushing back the re-launch of your new website. If you don’t have a good working relationship with your agency designing your site from day one, frustration may creep in. But why suffer this way when you don’t need to? By playing your part well, you can hit launch date on time and enjoy the whole process.
Follow our seven simple tips and get the most from your web design agency.
1. Create a mood board
This can be a scrapbook, box of print outs or even a digital file. It needs to include everything you like in terms of your site. Put in things like screenshots, colours, font styles, images. And you don’t only have to research ideas from competitor sites. Look at all kinds of websites and pick out the ones with the character and personality that you feel will work to illustrate your brand. With regard to text, if you are unsure of the sort of wording to put on the site, ask them to recommend a copywriter. They will be able to put together powerful content, bespoke to suit your business and including keywords for search engines, all adding essential value to your site.
2. Provide enough detail
Your website needs to tell your story so if you have an idea of the message you want it to convey, share it with your web designer. Putting in the attention to detail now is far better than trying to amend what has been done at the end. They cannot read your mind so you need to provide them with enough information to be able to deliver the perfect solution. To help you both, your web agency may provide you with a questionnaire to fill in. This will give them sufficient details about your business along with your brand profile, audience, competitors and space that you occupy within the marketplace etc. Don’t hold back; better to give them too much information that not enough. When asked for information, supply it on time so that delays are not created.
3. Give your designer space
You are paying your web designer to do a great job so give them room for some artistic freedom. If you try and hold them back too much they will have little room to create real ‘art’ which can provide disappointing results for both parties. Try and let go now and again, take a step back and put your trust in them. Whether you are using a template or not, you have selected your designer based upon expertise so allow them to use their skillset. Having done this so many times before, they will have the knowledge required to make recommendations so even if they differ a little from what you thought you wanted, there is bound to be a good reason for it. Quality takes time and the more complex your site, the longer it will take. By not putting into play too many restrictions, the better the final result will be.
4. Remember they are the experts
It is likely that as professional website designers, your agency have brought hundreds of sites to life for other businesses. As well as the creative aspect, they usually take part in continual professional development in order to keep on top of the latest technology, digital trends and shake ups in the industry. If they suggest something you don’t really understand, don’t back away from it. Instead ask them to explain it to you in layman’s terms and judge it when you see the final result.
5. Don’t get carried away with too many revisions
Your web designer will have a process in place for taking care of revisions, with a set amount usually being included in the price. If you keep hitting them with revisions, not only might the cost go up but if you leave revisions until the end, it could involve them re-doing a lot of costly work. Of course there will be some to-ing and fro-ing but always inform your designer early on. The worst that can happen is that you make so many revisions that you end up ditching something that was actually spot on in the first place.
6. Communicate and connect
When you receive the first proof, let them know what you think. Review the work carefully – don’t just rush off some off-the-cuff comments and then realise later on that you missed something essential. Stay involved throughout each stage as mock-ups, wireframes and graphics are being worked on. Don’t disappear, leave them to get on with it and then run it at the end with a host of must-haves. You need to provide this project with your full attention until the end, otherwise you may just lose time and money. By ensuring a collaborative approach, the outcome will be exactly what you desired.
7. Don’t over-think it
You have to be involved but if you try to do their job for them and micro-manage, problems are sure to rear their heads. If there are problems (and there are bound to be) let them solve them. If they put forward certain images, colours fonts or layouts it will be because they have spent a lot of time going over each detail. As well as making your site look super, they will be thinking about calls-to-action and conversions, user navigation, interactive elements and how the site will work on a mobile. Their recommendations will be based upon many years of experience. If you don’t like something, is it purely a matter of personal taste or is it affecting the end goal? Talk to your designer, let them come up with solutions and then take it forward.
It is essential to remember that you both have the same goal which is getting your website up and running as soon as is practical. Quality and usability can never be sacrificed in order to make your site look a specific way so always let your web designer take the lead.
Getting the most from your web design agency takes time but if you follow our seven top tips, you should see some fabulous results.