Planning is Everything.
Start at the Beginning.
First, let’s define what’s important.
The primary things your site needs are:
- Functionality: with few exceptions, this is MORE important than how your site looks.
- Relevance: what’s in it for the site visitor? Why should they spend time here and why should they come back again? Think useful content here.
- Aesthetics: the visual communication of your brand.
- Strategy: what are your business goals, and how will the site support them? Examples include collecting information on prospects, showcasing your work, or answering frequently asked questions.
- Adaptability: the web is ALWAYS changing. At some point in the future, your site must change or you will have to start over. Right now, you are choosing between an investment or a one-off cost. That can make a big difference in the price.
To choose a partner to help create your site, look for these things:
- A portfolio of work you like. It doesn’t have to look like the site you envision for your own company, but you should think it looks good and functions well (ask for url’s of live sites).
- Reliability. Ask for references.
- Interest in understanding you and your company.
- Price: What can you afford? If the ultimate goals for your site are currently out of reach, will your partner work with you to create an incremental investment that can build towards your goals?
- Personality. Do you want to work with this person or company for up to several months?
And here’s what you should bring to the table:
- The authority to make decisions. True market research is invaluable, but opinions from “around the table” are subjective. Design by committee never produces the best results.
- Trust. When you’ve made your decision to work with someone, allow your partner to use his or her strengths and expertise to help you. Micromanaging wastes time and energy you could be using to run your business.
- A commitment to your timeline. In order to make a schedule, you’ll need to deliver content on time and be available for meetings and reviews of architecture, designs and test site versions.
- The ability to communicate clearly about your needs and concerns. Your web team doesn’t know you are afraid you’ll need extra training unless you tell them.
- Willingness to make a financial investment equal to the level of quality and usefulness you expect.
YOUR STRATEGIC WEB PLAN should take into account your business or organizational strategy, your site’s functionality, and your brand aesthetics. When I make a plan for you, I also look at and define:
- Your target audience
- Your positioning strategy
- What your audience wants and needs from your site through some conversations with your best customers
- Recommendations about the kinds of content that will communicate your positioning and serve your audience
- Call to action recommendations based on what you want from prospects
- A plan to create and refresh content
- A detailed site map
- A content by page document outlining what goes where, throughout your entire site
Ready for a plan?
A Strategic Web Plan is a mandatory first step for a complete site (re)design. However, starting with just this piece allows us to learn about each other and form a working relationship. It also provides a solid foundation in the form of written documentation for your new site, that you can take to whomever you choose to design and build it for you.
Call or e-mail within the next 30 days, and you’ll get $250 off the price of your Strategic Web Plan (regularly $2,000). If you choose to continue to work with shu shu design, we will also deduct the price of your Strategic Web Plan from the cost of a complete site (re)design.
Still have questions?
Contact me to set up a time to talk.
Photo by Steven DePolo. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.