Finding the "happily ever after" for your website
Clients, we love you. We really do! And not just because you help to pay our paychecks (even though that's pretty cool). We also love the opportunities that each new website presents to us - a new industry, a different product, a fun idea. Each project starts as a fun new way to use our creativity and knowledge to help you grow your business. We live for stuff like that. However, each new opportunity presents its own challenges, too.
Once upon a time...
Getting started is the hardest part. While you might know that you need a website, you may not have a clear picture of exactly what you want yet. That's cool – we get it, and we can help! The very first thing we need to do is to sit down and discuss the goals you want your site to meet. Whether you are looking to sell a product or simply share information, websites can serve many functions - but we need to know what you want YOUR site to accomplish. What do you want to highlight as the most important information? Who is your target audience? Why are they visiting your site? These questions all need to be addressed at the beginning. While it might seem like a no-brainer, we've seen plenty of people try to skip this all-too-important first step. we can try to guess what you want; however, we're not the experts on your business – you are! You'll get the best results if you take the time to lay out your goals first.
We need to talk!
Now we start to look at details – colors, layouts, logo... the fun stuff! (For us, anyways). Sometimes clients get a little overwhelmed by all of this. The best way to fix that-- communication. Lots and lots of clear, open, and honest communication. We can give you our opinions, but our idea of an amazing site may not be the same as yours. Until we know what you think constitutes an amazing site, we won't get very far. Show us some examples of some websites that you think are really great! No, we won't be copying them, but if you let us know what you like about them, we can get a clear idea of what you are looking for. We can't promise to always agree with you, but we can promise to always explain our thoughts and opinions about the best ways to reach your goals! (This open, honest communication thing goes both ways).
Finding “The One” (the right way)
Ok, now we know what you like, what you want, and what you need to accomplish. Now we can set out to design an amazing home page for you. YAY! Sorry – we love starting up a new design. This is where we get to take our expertise and use it to create something beautiful, effective, and most importantly, goal-oriented. When we get done, we've got a marketing masterpiece: every detail analyzed, every color chosen with purpose, every graphic placed juuuuuust right. We love it! We hope you do too. But that doesn't always happen. THIS is the most crucial time in the design process. This is where well-defined roles come into play. Seems pretty obvious – we are the designers, you are the client, right? Well, sometimes that line gets a little blurry, believe it or not. Here's an example. You take a look at the first example that's sent to you, and you can't help but think that the branding isn't strong enough on the home page. That's totally cool – we love feedback, and making changes comes with the territory! Clients are definitely stepping out of their role and into ours when they start trying to figure out how to fix those things. Instead of conveying their opinions on what they want to accomplish, we often get “Make the logo bigger! Move that button up! Make it bright purple, and add some more pictures in there somewhere!” Now, if we showed up and started telling you how to do your job, you'd probably think we were crazy, because we don't know how to do your job and this is no different. Let us know what problems you feel the design has, and we can come up with solutions that keep the site looking clean, flowing well, and maintaining your original goals. Be sure to ask lots of questions: we love explaining why we do what we do! Working together and communicating openly creates great results, every time!
Tweaking too much?
You think you've got the home page pretty much right, but you just can't get rid of that nagging feeling that it could be better? We've seen it. The worst cases we've seen had clients calling on a daily basis with tiny little changes, over and over, for months and months. Doesn't sound very healthy, huh? It's not good for us, because we're grasping at straws trying to get it just right, and it's not good for you, because nothing is being accomplished! This is where you need to step back, and look at the original goals you set. Are those being met? If you don't feel that they are, now is the time to let us know – we are great problem solvers! If the original goals are being met; however, it might just be time to ship (as is very eloquently communicated by our hero, Seth Godin). Being nervous about your online image is normal. It's a big deal! However, we promise you are in great hands. If you've followed all of the tips here, chances are you have a great looking, effective new website that will get the reaction you want from your present and future clients. Who, by the way, are the BEST tool you have when trying to figure out what works and what doesn't on your site. Once your site is launched, it's always good to see what's working and what isn't from their point of view. We can always make changes in the future – updates that keep a site fresh are vital!
Happily Ever After!
We know these pointers will be helpful as you start your new website project. If everyone communicates, everyone wins – you get a great new marketing tool for your business, and we get to be a part of the process (while making the internet a prettier place). We look forward to developing a beneficial long-term relationship and can't wait to go through this amazing process with you!