When clients come to us for a new website, they are usually VERY excited to get started right away. It is easy to overlook the things they could have been preparing in order to avoid delays in the process. Part of my job to review these items with clients in our kickoff meetings, so I thought it would be helpful to share some so that you may start preparing in advance of your new website.
Content is easily the #1 hold up we run into with clients. There are basically two different types of content issues we see. The first is with brand new websites. With new websites, there is no existing content which means it all needs to be created before going live. Even if you do not know EXACTLY what pages you will want or what the pages will look like, it would definitely be helpful to start preparing some content that you know you will need; History, about us, staff bios, product descriptions, project details, etc…
The other type of content issue we see is with website redesigns. These are websites that already exist but it is time for a new website. Typically these are a bit easier since moving over the existing content is straight forward. However, we often see people who forget that this is a REALLY good time to review that content, that was written 10 years ago, until they are getting ready to push their new website live. We also see clients who forget they are adding new features, such as a project gallery, and forget they need images and descriptions for it.
2. Navigation Changes
Most clients rely on us to streamline their navigation to become a better user experience for their site visitors. The first question we ask them is, “are there any pages that are not needed or pages that can be combined with another page?” It is good to start thinking about what content is important and what content can probably go. Whether the content is outdated, repetitive, or should be added to an existing page. Typically websites with very lengthy navigations with too many options are hard for users to navigate.
3. Hosting / Domain Information
This is another very common one we see clients overlook. Clients come to us from all sorts of different hosting set ups. The hosting could be set up by the old web developer on a server with a bunch of other clients, in which case it could be a lot harder to get access. If your domain was registered by your old web developer, it will and SHOULD be transferred into your own account so that you have total control and ownership over it. This process can take a couple days so it is best to get that sorted as soon as you can. Typically your new web team will need access to your hosting and domain accounts, so getting that information before-hand can save a lot of time.
4. Agree on What You Want
Designing for an individual vs designing for a committee or board can be very different when it comes to change cycles in the design phase. We often see people go over budget or delay their project in the design phase because they did not agree as a group on what they where looking for in a new website before they started. Giving your website designer clear direction before they get started will help them knock it out of the park on the first try. It can be problematic to design the new website based on 1 or 2 people’s ideas and then have to change everything once they present it to the other board members and get 5 more opinions. It will save you money and time if you agree before hand on what you like, what you don’t like and make sure to consider your brand guidelines if you have any.
5. Be Ready to Give Feedback
A new website is a VERY collaborative process. Throughout the process your web team will be seeking feedback from you in order to ensure they are meeting your expectations. Being prepared to be available with feedback is important. If you are working with a committee or a board, agreeing before-hand on what you want, and designating one person to handle all feedback, will make the process much more efficient.