Ever had a fortune cookie predict your future? Maybe an ancient proverb really resonated with your home or work life. Personally, I’m astonished how “You will be unusually successful in business” can be true year after year.
To celebrate 2014 and a fresh start, let’s follow the cookies through each step of the web design process.
I don’t know what it is about January 1st, but our phones ring like crazy with small business owners asking about websites just as soon as the ball drops and everyone recovers from their long winter’s nap. Maybe it’s the eggnog.
Whatever the cause, the cookie says a new perspective will come. Make this fortune true by reviewing your current website. Is it still providing value to you or your customers? If not, get ready to talk with a web designer. Then call one. This is the true first step in the web design process.
At Roundpeg, the initial web design meeting is called a kick-off. It’s kind of like a brainstorming session, guided by some important questions about function and vision. One of the most important questions asks you to look at your competitors’ websites.
While it’s hard to say what success your bitter foes are having with their site, it’s good to keep tabs on what they’re doing. Is there a special feature that catches your eye? Who do you wish you could be? What designs and features do you want to avoid?
If you don’t often look at websites besides your own, spend some intentional time searching for your competitors and kicking the tires on their sites. Click the buttons, fill out the forms, see if there’s a mistake you can avoid or a trick you want to emulate. Getting inspiration from your enemies is a great way to build your own web design wish list, something your web designer will appreciate.
After the kick-off meeting, I start building a development website. And real web development, whether it’s fully custom or a theme customization, is defined by risk taking. Signing the contract is the first risk. The rest is taking chances on ideas, tools and tactics to meet your marketing strategy goals. Some of them will work great, others will fail. Chance and failure are scary words for some folks. But if you’re not willing to take a chance in something, why are you in business?
Feedback and Review
Fortune from Huffington Post
Depending on your situation, we could ask for feedback at every step, or at the very end. I prefer to schedule a weekly progress report. Even though it shows the mess and many loose ends of the site-in-progress, I’d rather spot a problem early than have clients scrap everything at the end.
These reviews are important times for you to be honest. Did you like it? What did your boss think? It’s okay if you’re not sure what’s wrong, just tell me you hate it. The web design process is better when you can talk about your likes and dislikes. And if you don’t have an opinion on the design, get one or two people you trust to share their thoughts.
Once the site comes together, and you’ve approved every element, it’s time to take ownership of your new site. I train clients to keep tabs on their software updates and make changes to the site’s text and images. Then we schedule a launch date and your new website is up and running within hours on that day.
Seem like a lot of work? It is. Kick-off meetings, progress reports, training, and launch dates are time consuming, and they are the most important part. Cut out all the humans and a computer could make something in minutes. But no-one wants a cookie-cutter website. That means web design is work and requires personal investment.
Find favor with the cookies and start your new site today. Take ten minutes to click through your current site, Google your competitors and make some notes. Maybe finish off the ‘nog while you’re at it.
Done that? Great. I think there’s one last fortune, just for you.
Fortune cookie fortunes from JoshMadison.com.
photo credit: shaire productions via photopin cc