Everybody loves a new website. A new place to shop, a new way to communicate with friends, or even a new look for an existing real-world business. No matter how big or small, people like to show off new websites like they show off new cars. It’s been my privilege and good fortune for many years to be able to make that happen.
During this time, the clients I’ve most enjoyed working with had one thing in common: They did their homework. Below are three ways you can get the most out of your web agency. Generally, we can break it up into three points: know what you want, know your needs, and help us help you.
The Big Idea
Know what you want. Sounds simple, right? But ideas are the easy part. The hard part is planning out how to put that idea into action. It’s difficult for a web agency when clients come to them and say “I want something that’s like Facebook for horses, only more Google-y.” This sounds great, but no one can design or develop anything for you until we have an idea of what, exactly, your website would do.
Showing your developers examples of existing sites that do some of what you’re looking for are a great place to start. Maybe two sites do similar things but you’d like for yours to combine them. Maybe you like one site, but have an idea of how to make the same idea better. Maybe there’s just a site you’d like to be better than. Now you’ve got something we can work with.
At this planning stage, communication with your developers is essential. While it’s true that great minds sometimes think alike, this isn’t always true. As you’re talking to your development team, make sure you state plainly what it is you’re looking for, what you need your site to do. Web developers are generally very smart people, but most I’ve met are unable to read minds. And there’s no more sinking feeling for a developer than delivering a product on time and at budget, and having you say, “Well, that’s great, but why doesn’t it do x?” It’s possible that x was never communicated to us, making it difficult to know that you needed it.
Once the site is built, you’ll most likely be shown a proof version of it. In a perfect world, everything would work great, nothing would need to be changed, and we could launch it that afternoon.
As you may have noticed, we don’t live in a perfect world. There are bound to be unexpected things that come up that require last minute tweaks. The best thing you can do for your developers is to map out exactly what isn’t right. If there are visual elements that need to change, capture a screenshot of the page they’re on (here’s how to take a screenshot http://take-a-screenshot.org/ ). If there’s an error in how something functions, the most important thing is to be able to re-create that problem. Tell the developer where you were and what you were doing when you got the error. This will be an immense help in tracking down the issue.
Web developers aim to please. We love to build websites, and we love it even more when websites serve our clients’ needs. Keeping these pointers in mind as you’re dealing with your web team will get you the web presence you need.