Business websites frequently need updating, and on a less frequent basis, they need redesigning. Unless you’re tech savvy enough to build and update your website on your own, you’ll be working with a web developer to keep your site up to snuff. A good developer will be able to do the lion’s share of the work on his or her own, but if you’re the client, you’ll still need to provide direction — and a surprisingly large number of files.
Website design often takes longer than necessary because the developer doesn’t have everything he or she needs ahead of time to get the job done right. Is this always the client’s fault? Of course not; many clients simply don’t know what goes into a website, and many developers may not have the forethought or communication skills to ask for everything in advance.
What can you, as a client, do to expedite the process and make sure everything runs smoothly? Mainly, provide everything the developer needs to do the job right. And what can you do if you’re a developer and want things to go well on your end? Clearly ask for everything you need upfront.
No matter which side of the equation you’re on, understanding the different parts of a site is paramount to a good experience for everyone involved. With that in mind, here are six key components of a website that need to be discussed and shared for a smooth client-developer relationship.
1. Your business’s visual identity. Your logo and all of the colors that are associated with your business and your brand need to be provided to your developer. A high resolution version of your company’s logo should be given to your developer, as should things like your company colors, preferred fonts, and anything else that will help to consistently identify yourself to customers. These elements are especially important because they’re prominent on every page of your site.
2. Images. The web is a visual medium, and as such, you’ve got to have photos — lots of photos. Whether they’re photos you’ve taken yourself or high quality stock images (see our post about great free images here http://modernworldconsulting.com/keep-photos-legal-6-sites/), you’ll need many of them for use on your site.
3. Written content. For most business owners, the good news is that written content on the web is typically shorter and more streamlined than writing for, say, a newsletter, press release, or magazine article. However, it still needs to be written, either in house or hired out. However you create your written content, your web developer will need it for the various pages on your site. Keeping different sections labeled and organized will help ensure that the right copy goes on the right page.
4. Ecommerce elements. Whether you’re selling a business service, an online course, a more traditional product, or something else, your website is your virtual storefront. To make it work properly, your developer will need access to any payment accounts and storefront tools you already have established. If your business is new to ecommerce and doesn’t have anything in place, your developer can work with you to get it all set up and running smoothly.
5. SEO details. If you build a website and no one can find it, does it really exist? Good SEO, or search engine optimization, is essential for getting your site to show up in Google searches. Knowing the right keywords to use can make a world of difference. If SEO is a new concept for you, your developer can work with you to determine the right keywords to include so your site shows up high in the rankings.
6. Your vision. This is maybe the most important component to share with your developer: what do you think your site should look like? You don’t have to be an expert on this topic to have an opinion; surely you’ve spent lots of time looking at other websites, and you have an idea of what works well. If you have favorite sites, share them with your developer so he or she has some examples of what you’re after. But also, as a client, you’ll want to listen to what your developer says is feasible and what is best for your specific business and budget. With good communication on your vision for your site, everyone will come away from the experience with what he or she wants. For the client, it will be a great website; for the developer, it will be a satisfied customer who can refer other clients and increase business.