Preparing for Success with Your New Website Project

September 28, 2016
- Longform
Author - Nick Dies

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Over the past 5+ years of Funkhaus, we’ve launched dozens of sites year over year and, in the course of that work, we’ve honed our process and learned a lot. Whether or not you have contracted Funkhaus for your potential website re-design, here are some of our takeaways that are key to a streamlined and successful project.

PRE-PROJECT

Are you satisfied with your existing logo and brand?

If you feel it’s time for a full refresh of your company aesthetic, an independent identity redesign project should be considered before starting the website. Relaunching your digital home is an enormous opportunity for self-promotion and reinvention. Now is the time to leverage the momentum, rebrand, and have it be a full evolution. If you’re not sure, please lean on us to consult you through what might be the proper approach – that third party POV can be really elucidating.

If you’re indeed happy with your brand, then we can’t wait to breathe new life into it when it comes to its digital application!

Have you thought about website structure and required content sections?

Performing an internal audit of the content sections needed for your website is helpful for establishing a baseline scope for your project. More importantly, however, it’s a valuable exercise for your team to begin the discussion of how you want to present your company to the outside world. Of course, we’re here to propose the answers for how that presentation ultimately takes shape – in terms of the architectural sinews and design layout – but getting the rough outline, even in bullet-point form, will be a great process of introspection.

Also, be honest with yourself about what level of upkeep your organization can maintain on a website. We often see clients unable to maintain a blog, produce a video for their about page, or generally over-engineer a site. And we get it, you’re busy – we just redesigned our own website and were our own worst client – but we’ll help guide you through our professional recommendations.

When it comes to long-term content writing, we can be your partner with our Content Division, which I touch on in the post-launch suggestions.

Messaging – who will be doing copywriting?

Along with design, do you feel that the copy on your website and company social channels can be updated? If so, it’s a good time to include that component in our website process. Our Content team will be involved in all meetings, working in tandem with design to ensure the company voice is on point across the entirety of the web.

DURING PROJECT

Who will be involved in the project as your go-to ambassador and Funkhaus’ point of contact?

We have a process that has worked incredibly well to deliver a final product that is exactly the dream site you envisioned. Ensuring that all team members necessary are involved from the very start is tantamount to that success. It’s no secret that the smaller the decision-making team, the more streamlined the process. We can help you obtain input from extended team members before a project by circulating a brand questionnaire, submitted to us online, that can then be reviewed by the smaller executive team to ensure all voices are heard. However, the ownership of final decisions should be focused.

Founder and co-editor of TechCrunch, Michael Arrington, put it succinctly:

“When there are too many cooks in the kitchen all you get is a mess. And when too many people have product input, you’ve got lots of features but no soul.”

In addition, if someone is to be involved in the decision-making process, they should be in all meetings from the start. You will avoid curveballs and overages later in the project by making sure this is the case.

Set accountability to one person to gather feedback and shepherd the process on your end.

One of the best ways to keep a project on track is to delegate a team member to be “the wrangler” of your team when it comes to feedback. The single biggest cause of project delays is large periods of time between a design presentation and when we receive feedback. Here are some good guidelines:

  • Commit to providing feedback within the same week designs are presented
  • When presented with a working beta site, commit to interacting with that site within the week and providing feedback

Set accountability to gather site content.

Once we’ve moved through the design process and begin our programming, we’ll activate your team to begin sharing site content with us – images, videos, etc. It’s very common to underestimate the time this will take, so we’ll make sure we advise on best practices and you should plan to begin sooner than later.

As we get underway on your project, you may want to activate us to perform an immersion program where we send a team member to your office, sit with your team in person, and fast-track this effort.

POST-LAUNCH

Make sure that you fuel your new vehicle with consistent, original content.

We do a full training with your team to make sure you feel fully comfortable updating your website and keeping it fresh. Make sure to pay heed to style guides and rules of formatting to ensure long-term consistency.

You should be updating your blog no less than once a week, and ideally more often. This is your best opportunity to put the heartbeat of your company on display, and you’ll see huge ROI when it comes to attracting prospective clients, employees, and general fans. Not to mention, original content will be the biggest success factor when it comes to sustained performance with search engine optimization (SEO).

We understand that updating your company blog sometimes isn’t at the top of the to-do list, so let our Content team be your partner in content creation and dissemination.

Budget annually for improvements.

Just as a brick-and-mortar office space changes, adapts, and needs new furniture purchases every now and then, your website will inevitably need small adjustments alongside your business as it grows. Make sure that you budget each year for this possibility – it’s no different than making sure kitchen sundries are stocked and that there are enough desks to fit the team.

As your digital partner, we’ll be holding your hand throughout the process and committing ourselves to deliver exceptional work. With every client, we hope that this is the start of a long-term relationship, so getting on the same page at the outset will be a great springboard for our collaboration.

– Nick Dies, Partner + Head of Client Services