Taking on a web design project is no small feat. There is so much to consider as you begin to map out your project and look at the road ahead. Rather than get overwhelmed, step back, collect your thoughts and use this checklist as a guideline to get your project rolling.
1. Identify your primary objective and stay true to it.
It’s difficult when it seems like so many things are important, but if everything is important than what really matters? Focus on the primary business objective whether it’s lead generation or client retention or driving sales. Use this one objective as the grounding rod for the project and be sure to ask throughout the project, “Is this supporting my primary objective?”
2. Know your audience and craft the website to align to their goals.
So often when we start talking to prospective clients we hear about how their current website is underperforming because it was designed from a company standpoint and not for their target audience. Strike an effective balance between the organizational goals and the users and always be sure to address the audience needs. The first step to this is identifying the audience; who are they and why are they visiting your site? From there, take the time to understand what that audience is looking for and how the website can support those needs.
3. Define the technical requirements.
Once you have identified the key objective and the audience, be sure to consider some of the technical requirements as well. Does it need to be optimized for mobile? Should it integrate with your internal business systems as Salesforce? Marketo? Hubspot? Take a close look at your business processes and see if it makes sense to streamline and integrate these systems with the new site.
4. Design the site with an eye for the future.
Ok so you know your business needs for today but what will change over the next few years? Will you have more products? Will you be acquiring more companies? Make sure that you plan for future growth and make sure the site is scalable and flexible to grow with your needs over time. In a similar vein, consider how your design objectives will translate in years to come. Try to filter out the trends and focus on what will age gracefully. (See our Lead Designer’s post on timeless design and creating a modern, yet classic website.)
5. Be selective about your CMS and make sure it meets your needs.
Be sure to see what the on-going licensing and maintenance fees are after the first year post-launch and be prepared to include that in your budget planning. Even better, opt for an open-source CMS like Drupal, Craft or WordPress which won’t incur any on-going fees just to keep your website up and running.
Use these five tips as the grounding rod for your project an you will be able to establish a solid and successful foundation for your next web design project.