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What you need to know before you engage a web company

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When it comes to having a new website built, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the first thing you need is the designer.

You could also be forgiven for thinking ‘Budget’ might be pretty high on the list of considerations.

Actually, what you need to know, first and foremost is;

What does your website need to do for your business?

The reason that this matters most, is because, if you’re not sure about what you need, you can’t plan anything else.

Of course, you could just enlist a design agency recommended by someone you know and trust. But if their business needs aren’t identical to yours, you still won’t know they are the right team for the job.

It’s true that there are lots of things to consider when you embark on a website project – and those things will be looked at in turn. For now though, focus on what you need to do before you really get started.

Your perfect customer

When you think about your business, who is your ‘perfect customer’? It’s really important that you know the answer to this because you need to think like your ‘perfect customer’ every time you think about your website.

You also need to know the answer to the following questions:

  • What is the product or service offering you want your perfect customer to know about?
  • Will your perfect customer want to buy online through your website? Is that a business to business relationship or direct to the consumer?
  • Would your business be more efficient, and therefore profitable, if time intensive business processes could be done online?
  • Who needs to access the information in your website? For example, do you need to share sensitive information securely with suppliers or partners?
  • Do you have a brand you need to communicate, or a re-brand to communicate?
  • How does your perfect customer want to contact you?
  • Would more customers take positive actions if they would book an appointment with you direct from your website?
  • What performance information will enable you to determine that your website is working for you?

What if you don’t know all the answers?

Based on the questions above that you’ve already thought about, the first step is to define your website strategy and how it will uphold and grow your business. For now, you don’t need to worry about what colour or font size your text might be.

You may need a little help in answering all the questions in detail but thinking about them and the outcomes you want to achieve will reduce the risk of you losing control of your budget further down the line by needing to make changes.

Is it all a bit overwhelming?

It may well feel that way, but you are at the critical stage which will influence everything you do from here on. You might be tempted to overlook this part and ask some designers to show you some designs. However, a reputable web agency should offer you a free, no-obligation initial consultation to explain to you how their process works and why that process doesn’t start with page design.

What next?

If you have clearly defined your business requirements and have a clearly defined web strategy - you can now start looking for the right team to advise you, guide you, and, ultimately, build the perfect site which will meet your objectives. 

You can read more about how to choose your winning web team here.

Do you need help with your next web project?

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Barry Fisher - Director

Written by

Barry Fisher

Technical Director

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