- Understand the ‘Why’
- Where to start
- What to look for in an agency
- How much should you pay?
- What to expect
- Enjoy the ride
Embarking on a website build/rebuild for your business can be a daunting prospect without previous experience of managing this key piece of the marketing machine for your company. After all, your website is typically the first engagement your audience will have with you and your brand and we all know ‘First impressions count’.
The good news is the process isn’t as daunting as it may seem at first. It’s important to remember you are hiring design & web specialists who’s job it is to synthesise your backstory, content & services and structure them in a way to make it commercially appealing and ensure your customers/users can digest it and fully understand your unique value proposition.
Understand the ‘Why’
Building a new online presence is an exciting project to be working on and you’ll be raring to get going. But before you do anything you need to answer one simple question….’Why?’
Why are you looking to build a website in the first place or redesign a current website? What problem does this provide an answer to and is this the best solution? Once you have identified why you are building a new website, you start thinking of things like:
• How do we want to be perceived by our audience?
• What content are our key audiences interested in?
• What do we want this website to do for us – drive leads, communicate, educate?
• Who are our audience and what are their key users journeys ? (Ie what are the goals each audience would typically look to undertake on your site).
Where to start
As with most things in life, the hardest thing is knowing where to start. Before you start thinking about hiring an agency to build your amazing new online presence, you need to look internally and start documenting key project elements (this will form the basis of your brief) Download our Free web specification document that considers aspects such as
- Project Phases & milestones
- Content types/Structure
- Technology & Functionality
- Project teams
This will give you an instant kick off document that you can share with agencies that will enable them to fully understand your needs and expectations. The more detail you provide upfront will ensure a smoother project as this will serve as a single point of truth between your business and an agency, and will reduce the chances of an external supplier misinterpreting your business needs.
At Hijack Creative we work on a variety of websites, so specifications may be different for each project. For example, some might include both design and development, whereas another project might be a build only, with designs etc already completed. However, there are some sections of a specification that will be common to most web projects, and you can use this document and tailor it to your own project.
What to look for in an agency
So, you have an understanding of why you need a new website and have key information documented in a brief – now it’s time to start researching agencies to undertake this project for you. Having been on both sides of the fence there are some key criteria and considerations we recommend when deciding to appoint an agency:
- Social proofing – evidence of previously working with a range of customers
- Style of work – Design is subjective so ensure the style of work the agency delivers is inline with your exceptions of your new website. Don’t hire a primarily elegant designer who specialises in detailed intricate design if your looking for a bold, service-led commercial website.
- Process – every agency runs their ship differently, so you need fully understand how a project with them would work – how do they run your project and what is the path from initial kick off meeting through to launch.
- Is there a connection – at Hijack Creative, we do great work for and with great people, and the importance of working with people you connect with is vital to enjoying the journey not just the destination. Talk to agencies and get a vibe of their personality – again there are many different types of agency and people out there. Understand who you are and how you like to work – if you are methodical in your approach to projects then try to align with people who you think you could work with.
How much should you pay?
Ah, the age-old question. Unfortunately there isn’t a one size fits all answer here. We recommend establishing a budget that you are happy to ‘invest’ as you should see it as adding value to your business and not just an expense you need to absorb. Once you have a figure then this will help manage yours and agencies expectations and help define what is possible within that budget.
Also consider what you need to get started – do you need every single page/element of the site to get you up and running? What does an MVP (minimal viable product) look like and you could also define a multi-staged approach that can be spread over time to help maximise your marketing budget. We believe in flexibility with our clients and work with many business in various ways to help in these hard economical times:
- Multi-staged – Projects broken into phases and delivered across a period of time
- Retainers – Many of our clients choose to pay a fixed monthly cost for a set of hours that helps them avoid an initial financial outlay.
- Staggered payments – We understand times are hard for people and business but we are committed to helping our clients win. We work with customers who can’t afford the full cost up front to pay the cost over a defined timeline.
What to expect
Once you have found an agency that you feel comfortable enough to commission for your new website, it’s time to get going! You should expect a few bumps along the way as it’s natural for these types of projects, but you can limit these by doing your due diligence to try and identify problems before they occur. Also, never assume – always clarify your expectations to make sure both parties understand what needs to be delivered and by when.
The best bit of advice we recommend is have great communication as this is the cornerstone of every successful project. This is why it’s important to work with people you can get along with as you’ll be talking with them a lot and spending large amounts of time communicating.
Finally, enjoy the ride – building your new website should be a great journey. Think of it as starting with a lump of clay that you mould and shape into the picture you see in your mind that clearly communicates your service offering, your unique selling point (USP), talks to your audience and enables them to find information easily and achieve their online goals.
Good luck and see you out tin the Digital landscape !
Need help designing and building your company website?
If so, contact the team at Hijack Creative to discover how we can help your business.