What do I do before I engage a web design agency, developer or designer to design a website?
5 things to remember when starting on a website project
1. Why get a website – Determine why you might want a website in the first place. To promote your products or services, to sell online, to educate etc. Have you done your projections and research to determine that there is a demand or a market for whatever you plan to offer? To sell something, to tell some story, to save time, to advertise, to educate or what exactly. Write this up in a Brief or website strategy document to get agreement from your team. This ensures that everyone is on the same hymn sheet, including the chosen web design agency.
2. Platform for your website – Decide what type of website is required at this time, as in size and quality of design input. Is it to be bespoke development or open source, small or enterprise, purchase outright or SAAS Software as a service. Is it an open source platform like WordPress with loads of plugin options to add functionality, now or in the future. This is ideal for an established business. Or is it a proprietary one like Wix or Squarespace where it is very easy to set up, with lower initial set up costs, but you have a lot less control or options. This is ideal for a hobby website, maybe a very small enterprise or start up. Who will know how to use this new website platform, whatever it may be? Someone has to manage it, edit it and keep it updated & secure.
3. Plan for your new website – Create a wireframe or layout, a site structure and a navigation structure. This allows visitors find their way around the site with ease, even on a mobile device. When you draw this up you will see the flow, from the home page to the interior pages, much like a retail store layout. You can plan the customer journey from entering on any given website page to taking action.
4. Content for your website – Create whatever original content is needed, in terms of text, images/photos, video etc. All the content needs to be prepared before you get started. Much like furniture for a new house. Once the wireframe is in place start talking with the graphic designer and put some flesh on the bone, before moving to the developer, who will want the design and content before starting your project.
5. Budget for the website – You will need a budget, before engaging any professionals. Get a guesstimate or estimate for the investment needed for the entire project. Include Discovery, Brief, Keyword Research, Design, Development, SEO Search Engine Optimisation, Digital Marketing, Training and Maintenance. If the cost is more than you can currently afford, consider doing the project over a number of phases, to stage the payments. Or get enough investment to allow you do it right.
If you were building a house you would do all these things, so why not do it with your website? Look for a local web design agency, one you can talk to, you decide you like and feel you can trust. Pick a web design agency who can bring together all the things you need, planning, design, development, search engine optimisation, digital marketing, training and maintenance. Most web design agencies in Dublin will not offer all these services competently, unless you have the budget to use a huge agency, which is not always a good option either. A good web design agency will do what they are good at and bring in the other local Irish talent to ensure the success of your project. Now that you know the initial steps to take before designing a website, take a look at our free guide for designing a website here.