Redesigning and building a website can be time consuming and expensive, so when you’re enlisting the help of a web design agency, you want them to get it perfect. Finding the right web design agency for you is important, along with asking them the right questions. But what you as a client bring to the project is important too.
From how open you are to ideas and the brief you provide, through to how you approach the project: we have some tips for how to get the most out of your web design agency.
The brief you provide for your new website is where it all begins. Your brief needs to tell your agency exactly what you want and most (good) agencies will work with you to put a brief together. The brief should be focused. Having a brief that says “well I like a white background, but I’d also like a black one” is unfocused and leaves the designer no better off than if you’d said nothing at all.
The best way to go about organising your brief is to look at lots of websites, preferably in the same or similar industries to your business but others can work too. Find the ones you like and think critically about why you like it. This can help your web design agency understand the style of design you like. Sending through 10 examples of websites you love that all look completely different can be really conflicting. Sending through five, but each with an explanation is much better. Point out specific things you like: menu bars, layouts, use of images, block quotes, etc.
Your new website’s brief should include a lot of information about your business too. They need to know who you’re trying to target, which of your services are the ‘primary’ ones, the point of your website. What your vision is for your business moving forward, how do you want your business to be perceived? The more information the better. The more examples the better. The more focused the better.
Sending them all the things you like will be really helpful for them to create their own design. Remember that you shouldn’t expect them to just copy the elements or websites you like and trust their instinct with design.
Let your web design agency know where you’re hoping your business will go. Do you want to launch a new service in six months? Mention it now. Let them know what you want the new website to achieve and what you think success will look like. This helps your web designer think critically about the layout of your website. Maybe you feel like you’re best at closing a deal in person. Tell your designer you want to schedule as many free consultations as you can. The agency will work to make it your key call to action, rather than just mentioning it on your contact page.
The design process isn’t one you can entirely palm off to your web design agency. They need to communicate with you and your input is needed at a lot of key stages. Sometimes your web design agency won’t be able to move forward with your project until you send through what they’ve asked for or answer their question. Do your best to keep in touch with them and reply promptly to keep your project a priority and maintain your timeline goals.
We touched on this in the briefing section, but you can’t give too much information. If you have old branding positions, previous mockups, previous professional photos, hand them over. Give them any old mission statements, your values, your own attempt at your copy. Anything you can supply gives them a better idea of you, your business, and the direction it’s travelling in.
Being open to your web design agency’s ideas is crucial. They’ll be able to recognise opportunities where you may not see them. Often when you’re really excited about an idea it can be human nature to feel kind of jolted when someone mentions something that wasn’t a part of your plan. Remember that your initial idea will grow and evolve with your web design agency and that that’s a great thing.
Honesty is key too. If you don’t like something about their design or their idea talk to them about it and try to be specific about which elements you don’t like. Sharing your feedback is necessary to create something you and your agency are proud of — but your feedback needs to tell them where they should go from there.
The key to getting the most out of your web design agency is basically to work alongside them. Answer their questions thoughtfully, share your ideas, and listen to theirs.
The saying many hands make light work does not apply in the web design process. There should be as few stakeholders in this process as possible. Don’t get feedback from everyone in the office, your best friend, and your neighbour. Everybody has different ideas and different tastes and it can confuse the design. There can definitely be too much insight and you don’t want it in your redesign process. Read up on common web design mistakes here.
Getting a new website, or kicking off any new marketing campaign should be super exciting. It’s like a little makeover for your brand and business — so be enthusiastic and keen. Showing passion and excitedly telling your web design agency all of the things that make your and your business great will help them share the excitement. The more excited the team on your project are, the more thoughtful and creative the end result will be.