Designing a client's new website is a complicated, yet rewarding task. You are after all defining their brand online and setting them up for either success or failure in the digital environment. Their website will help them compete, attract customers and sell their products or services.
In many cases, choosing to design a custom website for your client means that you can meet their strategic needs and create something perfect aligned with their business needs. Custom websites are a more difficult build than a templated website, they take more time, require extensive coding and need to be built on the back of a heavy strategy. If you need to refine your approach to developing your client websites use these five secrets to success for your custom website.
Do your research
Having a core vision for your website is important, and establishing it with the assistance of the web design agency can help ensure all parties are on the same page with what this website will achieve. A great way to establish the core vision together is through the use of a questionnaire. A questionnaire can help your client to figure out what they want website visitors to do, what they find aesthetically pleasing, what they like about competitor sites, and can help you to discover what parts of their current website operate successfully.
Determine specific technology needed
There are many ways you can go about developing your website, so it’s important to know what is needed to keep your strategy aligned with your vision. Will you use open source technology to develop your site? Will you use a template and then manipulate that template with coding to customize the design? Does your client require ecommerce, databases technology or perhaps a specific listing tool? Once you understand what exactly is needed then you can concentrate on your development needs. We recommend connecting with web development partner to discuss what technologies would work best to meet your needs and your budget.
Design first, code later (and don’t forget mobile)
Setting expectations at the start of the project can help ensure the website is complete on time. Having the homepage and all the templates designed for all the inner pages before any of the code is written gives room for error and changes can be made easily. More and more people are using their mobile devices to browse the internet, so remembering to have mobile optimization at the forefront of your website design, even before your desktop design, this can help save some time when corrections need to be made.
Remember to focus on hosting
Hosting, uptime, and upkeep of the site are features that often go overlooked resulting in websites that have the problem of going down, getting hacked, or just being too slow. Rather than focusing only on the creative aspects, ensure that you know who currently hosts the domain and website. Keep this information handy so that you have time to change the DNS as needed prior to launch. You clients hosting may need to be moved, better hosting will help their search rankings as a bonus.
Make sure to migrate all of the content from the old website to avoid broken links. You can use 301 redirects to point search results back. You can also migrate it over and not link it in your navigation, giving you the search credit even if your visitors aren’t seeing it. Doing a soft launch prior to the big launch can also negate any issues and give you the chance to fix up any errors.
There are many things to do to ensure your custom website is successful. At the end of the day, your goal is like any other business; to achieve a high ROI from your digital efforts.
We recently released a free ebook aimed at helping marketing agencies and departments improve their website redesign process. Our expert web developers put together their top words of advice so that marketing agencies can grow their custom web design business by improving the quality of their service offerings. Get your copy below.