Lenny Ford explains how to prepare for a new website kickoff meeting with a web design agency
Hi, everyone. Another Whiteboard Wednesday. I’m Lenny Ford from Links Web Design. Today’s topic is how to prepare for a new website project. This could be maybe you contacted a creative agency or a web design firm and you want to get a new website or you want to revamp your existing website, and they’ve called you in. You have that first initial meeting, right? They’re going to ask you a lot of questions about your business and about what you want to get out of your website. We figured a short video talking about some common things that might happen in that meeting will get you really well prepared for it.
So first off, who has final say? This is a really important aspect of this. If that person that has final say isn’t involved in any of these meetings and isn’t involved in the decision-making process until the very end, they don’t know why everything was done the way it was done. So it’s really important to identify that person and get them involved right from the beginning.
Secondly, where’s the content coming from? A website is simply a presentation of content. A lot of people like to look at them for their design and how pretty and beautiful they are, but really it’s about content and it’s about the presentation of content. So where is that content coming from? Are you going to make it? Maybe you’re going to have a third-party service make it. Or maybe the web design company themselves offers that service. So either one of those three. You want to know where is it coming from. It takes quite a bit of effort to make sure that your content is good and well done. So think about that ahead of time.
The website goals are also really important. Why are you building this website? It might be that you just have to have one to stay on top of your competition. It might be that you have some unique aspect of your product that you really want to get out and the web seems like the best way to do it. It could be that everybody else has thrown away the Yellow Pages from their houses, and you want to make sure that you can still be found, and a website is probably one of the best ways to do that.
Contact information and as a sub-item to your contact information, how do you want to be contacted? Do you want people to call your office? Do you want them to email you? Maybe you want to get texts on your phone. Highly unlikely, but you never know. You want to make sure you have all that sorted out and that you have a single point of contact for your business. The street address, whether it’s the physical address or maybe you have a post office box. Make sure that that is all together in one place before you head into that meeting.
So some common questions that you’re going to encounter during these meetings are, “Who are you?” That doesn’t mean, “Oh, I’m Lenny Ford.” No. It’s what’s your business name, what’s the history of the business, and what’s your brand? That’s really one of the most important things is making sure that you have a brand identity and that you are very clear on what that identity is, so that you can convey that to the creative team that’s going to be working on your website.
“What do you do? What are your core services and your products?” Probably one of the most important things that you want to get across on your website is what you do and what you offer. So of course, you’re going to want to have a real good hold on that.
“Who are your clients?” That’s, again, one of the really important things. Your website is built for your clients, to engage with, right? It’s not for you. It’s for your clients. So you want to make sure that it’s easy to use, that it appeals to them and to the core demographics that you’re pursuing.
“How do you stand apart?” We talked about this in one of the earlier Whiteboard Wednesdays if you’ve watched that about value proposition. It’s what differentiates you from your competitors. Everybody has good customer service, right? That’s the given. That’s the price of entry. But you have to have something more than that to convince people that they should work with you.
“What do you want your visitors to do on your website?” That kind of ties in with website goals. You want to make sure that you know exactly what you want them to do, whether it’s to make a phone call, fill out a form, sign up and create an account, whatever it is. Again, make sure that you have a firm grasp on that.
“And to blog or not to blog?” A really important aspect of S.E.O. is blogging, fresh content, making sure that your website stays fresh, and that there’s new content added continuously. It’s really important to know whether you want to do this or not because you’ll want to set up a schedule, so that you make sure that you’re writing blog posts consistently.
Finally, design considerations. This is probably the fun part, right?. This is where we get to decide how the website’s going to look. They’re going to ask you for your logo. So it’s really great if you can walk in with that on a U.S.B. stick and give them a digital format of your logo right up front.
Colors. Colors are important, but that ties in to who are your clients, right? The website’s not for you. It’s for your clients. You may love this specific shade of fuschia, but if that doesn’t appeal to the core demographic that you’re going after, it’s not the right color to use. So think about colors as it relates to your clients.
“What are your existing marketing collateral?” That includes brochures, T.V. ads, radio ads, anything that you’ve already put out, you know, to advertise your business. You’re going to want to have those available for that creative team, so they can tie in and make sure that it’s a cohesive message or say, “Yeah, that doesn’t really represent our brand anymore. We want to do something new, and we want to start it with the website.” They’ll want to know that.
Social media. “Are you involved with social media now? If so, what channels? And if you’re not, what channels do you want to be involved with?” It’s important to have a firm grasp on that. Social is a really great thing for business-to-consumers, and it can be useful in certain business-to-business situations too. But know which ones you want to use, have the accounts already created, so that you can just give the link to the creative team and they can utilize it in the website.
And, finally, brand. I repeated this one, again, because it is so important. Knowing what your business is, who you are, what’s your core culture, what do you want people to think about when they think about you and your business is really important. So spend some time on brand and make sure that you know and understand what you want people to associate with your business.
Hopefully this gives you a brief overview of what you might run into when you start a new website project and will make sure that you’re spending your money wisely.