The very start of a website project has you thinking about the
requirements of what you’re after.
Your requirements could focus around specific features that you are
looking to have, for example, the ability for customers to purchase your
products/services online. Or perhaps a Live Chat option, so your
customers can get quick answers from you or your team.
No matter the requirements that you’re after, the most important thing
is clarity. With clear and well-thought out requirements, it helps
everyone to be on the same page. Be prepared to discuss your
requirements with your web designer, as they can help you to
understand what is and isn’t possible.
Sometimes you may have an idea that can’t be feasibly realised in
your new website. Your designer will let you know this and if possible,
they will suggest an alternative. Remember that they’re trying to work
with you, so it’s important to have an open discussion.
TIP: Make a list of 5 key features that you would love to see on your
new website. It doesn’t hurt to look at what your closest competitors
are doing here…after all, you want to do things better than them,
Another thing to consider when thinking about your requirements is that
your needs and the needs of your audience can sometimes be two
completely different things.
Your business website is not for ‘you’ as an individual, it’s for your
customers and potential customers who will be using it. It’s okay for you
not to like a specific colour or feature, but do take a moment to consider
your target audience and what they would think.
It can be hard to get yourself into the mindset of your target audience.
As humans, we’re all built in different ways – it’s one of our wonderful
idiosyncrasies. You may find it helpful to speak to some existing
customers and ask them what made them purchase from your business
and what would influence their purchasing decision in general.
TIP: In one sentence, try to describe how your ideal website would make
your audience feel/think/act.
Every website project needs a budget, however you shouldn’t look at it as
a “budget” or a “price”. It’s an investment in your business. Yes, you might
feel that this sounds like marketing talk, but it’s actually just a mindset
Instead of thinking about how much each element that makes up the
website costs, think about your project along the lines of “what investment
do I need to make in our website to bring success to my business?”
By changing the way you look at the investment needed in a website, you
open the doors to more critical thinking. It’s not about spending more,
it’s about spending smarter.
TIP: Thinking about the investment you want to make in your new
website. What would success mean to you? E.g. “Double your sales in a
year” or “100 new customers in 6 months”.
The role of your web designer is to create a great website for your
business AND for your customers. To do this, they’ll listen to your
requirements and the investment level that you have available.
It’s possible that the budget you have set aside for your project will not
match the requirements that you’ve asked for. In this situation, you would
either need to think about increasing your investment a little or setting
aside some of the less important requirements for a second phase of
design work in the future.
Focus is best spent on key tasks and requirements that will get your new
website live and in front of your target audience. As your business grows
from the benefits of the new website, you can plan the next phase of
development tasks with your web
TIP: Make a list of your requirements and assign a priority to each. Which
of these could be pushed to a second phase of design work,
It’s important to have goals for your new website so that you can measure
the success of your project as you move forwards.
For the website project itself this would typically be that the website is
delivered on-time, for agreed level of investment and with all agreed
requirements in place. Having scheduled, clear goals, allows for easy
communication during a website project. Both the web designer and you
will be aware of any goals for the new website, as these will be discussed
at the start of your project.
Have you ever heard of or used SMART goals previously?
These are goals that are defined as:
SMART goals are trackable goals with definitive results. This brings a level
of structure to your goals and makes sure that you can easily see if they
were attained or not.
Here’s a few quick examples of a SMART goal:
Each of these goals has a specific target, which we can measure,
is achievable, relevant and bound by a timescale.
TIP: Think about SMART goals for your business. What SMART goals
would you like to achieve with your new website? Write down at
least 3 if you can.
The content on your website is one of the most important features. It has
the power to draw people into your site and also the power to repel them
back to the search engines.
Wherever possible, you should work with a copywriter to ensure that you
have great copy on your website. This can depend a little on your
available investment, but investing in a great copywriter will pay for itself
many times over.
It can be tempting to write the copy yourself, but unless you have
experience at doing so, it can be hard to get the tone right. A better option
would be to work alongside your copywriter, sending them over some
notes on your products/services and helping them to understand your
target market. Then, let them create some great copy for your website.
A great copywriter is skilled at turning features into benefits.
For example, back when Creative Technology and Apple were battling it
out with their competing MP3 devices. Creative Technology stuck to
features, telling people how large their hard drives were. Apple launched
the iPod in October 2001, with Steve Jobs simply telling people they could
have “1000 songs in your pocket”, and then pulling an iPod out of his
pocket on stage.
By turning features into benefits, you help your audience to relate to what
you’re offering and you evoke emotional responses.
Without sounding harsh, your customers don’t really care about a new
feature that you’re shipping in your products or how many extra hours
your team worked at night/on weekends, just to get the latest software
version to them. They simply care about themselves.
You have one question to answer for your customer – “what’s in it for me?”.
This single question should control the copy on almost every page of your
TIP: Think about the products or services that you offer your clients and
how you currently promote these. You likely list a number of features. Try
re-framing these features as benefits.
Great communication allows both you and your web designer to get the
most out of your website project. It’s very much a two way street, needing
care and attention from both sides.
Effective communication helps to keep a website project on track and
avoid any time delays. As part of the original proposal that your web
designer sends over to you, there will be a section on the project’s
timeframe. This schedule is drawn out with a typical expectation that both
parties will be able to communicate on a timely basis.
One of the best things you can do for your website project is to ensure
that there is one clear point of contact in your business. This will often be
yourself, but if you have a larger team of employees, then you may
choose to delegate this to an appropriate member of staff.
If you’re working with a design agency, they will have the same processes
in place and will also delegate a single point of contact. The advantages
to these two single points of contact is that they both get to understand
the requirements, needs and nuances of the project in great detail.
TIP: Decide who will be the main point of contact in your company for
your website project. If it’s not going to be you, make sure that person is
briefed on your requirements and any other necessary details.
For any parts of the project that require feedback from your company,
you’ll want to make sure you send back clear and concise feedback to
your web designer. If you have multiple people inside your company who
will be looking at the website work, it’s good to do this together and make
a list of key points that you want to feed back to the web designer. Then,
your main contact person can feed these back as part of the process.
The worst case scenario here would be multiple people in your company
all having their own ideas and sending them over independently to the
web designer. This can lead to confusion and unnecessary delays in the
project, as well as potential work being carried out on changes that you
TIP: If there are multiple people in your business who will be looking at the
new website project with you as it progresses, try and arrange time to sit
down in a meeting with them at important feedback points, so you can
have a roundtable discussion. Make sure they’re all aware of your project
goals and the requirements, so you can give the most valuable feedback
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading through our guide on 5 Steps To A
Winning Website Project.
Your next website project could be the very first one for your new business,
or it could be the latest re-design in a line of successful websites that
you’ve had previously.
It doesn’t matter what level of experience you’ve had with website projects
previously, the most important thing is that you choose to work with a web
designer who clearly understands your business and your requirements.
We’ve got some additional tips and ideas that we’ll be sending over to you
via email in the next few days, offering some additional insight and action
points that will help you with a successful project.
If you have any questions or would like some more information on how we
can help your business, please get in touch.