The time will come when you need to build, improve, or replace your website. After over 12 years of providing this service, here are five mistakes I see businesses and organizations make when hiring for the web.
Forgetting All the Features
I recommend knowing what you need your website to do before you even start the conversation with website agencies. Perhaps this seems clear already. Our experience says it must not be. Don’t just guess what your requirements are. Come prepared with a list of forms, integrations, and tools you already use – and ask plenty of questions!
The #1 bit of pre-work you can do to kick off your project right is preparing your content. What do you want each page to say? What is your voice as a brand? Creating this ahead of even talking with agencies will save time and influence the design phase heavily.
Maybe you wish you could be that prepared, but you need help with your content. Bring that to the table first thing. We run workshops for many of our clients to define their audience and, therefore, their content direction. If you need copywriting, mention that upfront – but know that will be a separate and costly service.
Getting Sucked Into a Powerful Sales Cycle
Time and time again, we see businesses get smooth-talked by an experienced sales team – only to be stranded by the project team. Many medium-large web agencies have an excellent sales team. They have salaries to make, office rent to pay, and targets to hit. Overhead like this often means aggressive sales cycles with little to back it up in project management and execution.
To avoid getting charmed by only the sales and executive team, make sure to meet the production team before hiring. It isn’t easy to sift through the sales schmaltz, but being aware of it will help!
In this Corner of the Ring Form vs. Heavyweight Champ, Function
The age-old debate rages on with this mistake. What if one doesn’t have to win? To me, that is a win-win and our goal. If you are having trouble deciding how ‘design’ heavy you want your website, err on the side of function. After all, nine times out of ten, the reason you are creating the website is for usability.
Sometimes making the coolest, cutting edge design can be vital for your brand equity. More often than not, making it easy for users to quickly and efficiently get their desired information while looking great is the better path forward. It would be best if you had an idea going in how to balance form and function.
Not Knowing Why Now is the Time for a New Website
The website is just out of date, isn’t a great reason.
We are launching our product, so we need a website, isn’t a great reason.
Merely having a website isn’t enough to move the needle on your goals – so what are your goals? What are you doing now? Why?
If you are launching a new product, merely having a website will not help you promote it. You need to know what you want the website to do. You need to know how it will accomplish that. Most important, what action do you want the user to take.
For example: we will sell our new product online. The primary call to action will be a purchase. The transitional call to action will be signing up for more information. The website will educate, inform, and ultimately drive a user to purchase.
If you are launching a new website for an existing brand, why now?
For example: during Covid-19, our business model changed from primarily in-person to digital services. Our new website will focus on this unique value proposition while being ready to return to in-person service. The user will be able to book directly online. The goal is to increase bookings without requiring phone calls by 50% in the next two quarters.
There are way more than five mistakes you can make when hiring for your new web project. Avoiding these five is a great starting point to launching an efficient and effective website project!