You Also Need the Right Team
While it might be very tempting to leave all of the hard work to your marketing director, you’ll end up failing to serve the needs of your other teams -- for example, customer service and sales. That’s because an effective website that sells for you can’t exist only as an online brochure.
Instead, your website needs to do all of the different things the employees of your organization do. To accomplish this, you’ll need to involve and solicit input from different teams and players across your business -- not just marketing. We know that this takes buy-in and a lot of time, which are often in short supply, but the effort you put in will be worth it.
You Have to Know What You Want
It’s 100 percent normal to not know what you want out of a new website until you see it start to take shape. We know, from experience, that you may have a clear vision of what you want at the start, but that will often change.
We can’t count how many times a redesign project starts out as, “We just need to modernize the look and feel of the site and all the information on it can really stay the same,” and then turns into, “We need to totally overhaul the site, change the content and rethink how we’re doing this.”
And that’s okay. It’s no one’s fault, and it should be expected. You’re going to be excited and inspired by your strategy. The problem is when these changes happen after you sign your scope of work agreement and contract, because your new ideas will cost more money, since they will be outside the original scope.
Speaking of which...
Scope Creep Is Frustrating & Breaks Timelines
Scope creep is the kiss of death for any project, website redesign or otherwise. When it happens on a website project, specifically, you’re guaranteed to blast through your original timeline and run over budget.
We all know how fun it is to spend more money on a late deliverable -- especially to the tune of 25 to 30 percent more -- but when it comes to websites, there are usually added layers of frustration baked in.
For example, what if your website was slated to launch in tandem with a new product reveal or a major industry conference? What if you have seasonal business spikes, and you miss the opportunity to launch during a low-traffic period, before the tide rolls in?
You May Not Understand the Effort Required
This may not be true for you, but when some companies approach us to redesign their website, they don’t realize that just because you hire someone else doesn’t mean you won’t have work to do.
The best web design agencies support their clients with strategic guidance and analysis, as well as the cutting-edge designers and developers to build out the site. Those are the areas of expertise they are supposed to bring to the table.
While somewhat hyperbolic, we often joke that, “Content is where website project timelines go to die.”
But there’s a kernel of truth in there. When website projects aren’t completed on time, the No. 1 reason is that a client hired us to build their website, we told them it would take three months, and then it takes weeks longer to get their portion of the copywriting responsibilities (interviewing, editing, or writing) across the finish line.
You, however, are the experts in your own industry. So, they will rely upon you, to some degree, for content creation. Maybe just as subject matter experts who provide their insights to copywriters, or perhaps for the copywriting entirely, where the agency is there to optimize -- that’s usually up to you, and is often determined by the type of agency you choose to work with.