Developing a new website is a major undertaking. Whether you are designing a new digital presence or looking to revamp your current website, the process can take a significant amount of time for your developer and designer.
If you're not careful, this complex project can easily go off the rails and surpass your budget. Fortunately, there are proven ways to prevent this disaster from happening. Here are 6 tips for keeping your web design project on track:
1. Develop A Relationship
Picking a web designer should be your first step, even before a new website is conceptualized. By not developing a relationship with your agency early on, you run the risk of going into the project with a website that doesn’t accurately represent your brand.
Developing a relationship is a vague term, but crucial nonetheless. It should include getting in touch with the agency and getting to know their design philosophy, as well as past projects. It also includes the next tip:
2. Set Expectations And Goals
Web design is much like any type of business; if you don't know where you're going, you have no way of staying on track. In other words, establishing specific expectations and measurable goals for your web design project is key for keeping it on schedule.
If you have established a relationship with your agency, they can help you in this process. Experienced web designers can accurately give an estimated timeline and advice about what is best within your budget.
3. Establish A Clear Timeline
Next, it's time to set your project timeline. Rather than simply focusing on an arbitrary launch point, build it from the bottom up, including regular benchmarks and milestones at each step of the process. Your web design project can only stay on track if both sides know what steps to take.
4. Agree On Boundaries
Depending on your managing style, you may be tempted to work closely with your web design professionals to ensure the project remains focused at all times. And make no mistake, for the final product to be successful, client involvement is both valuable and necessary.
At the same time, you can easily go too far. Micro-managing can lead to delays and increased costs, which can derail your project. Talk to your web design partner before they start the process to establish how much feedback is valuable compared to excessive. Make sure you always have input on major decisions but also are flexible to consider giving up control on minor touchpoints.
5. Schedule Regular Check-Ins
Another vital step to keeping your project on track is to schedule regular check-ins with your agency. As they move through the project, they will have questions about specific items that, until answered, may slow or delay their work. Regular check-ins can also help you keep an eye on both your budget and deadlines. Determine how frequent these check-ins should be to remain valuable and not distract the process.
6. Finalize Your Launch Framework
Throughout your project, the launch date will become a point of focus. This is when your website goes live, so you and your agency will do everything they can to have the website ready by then. But don't ignore that launch point itself as a major contributor to your new website's success.
When your new digital presence first goes live on the server, unexpected issues may pop up. When the site launches users may run into problems that you did not foresee. So as early as possible, sit down to discuss just what will happen at launch, and how your agency can help solve potential issues after launch.
Above all, your web design project should be built on two pillars: strategy and collaboration. Only a combination of the two allows you to reliably keep it on track and launch a successful new website.