Web Design Process – Working With An Agency

Are you in the process of redesigning your
company’s website or are you near the end of that process? I’m going to show you some tips on how to
get the best product before it’s too late. All agencies do web design processes and projects
differently, but at the most basic level, there’s going to be four phases. Discovery is number one, then design as number
two, then you’re going to develop the website, which means putting the code up there, and
then you’re going to deploy it. Now, the first part of that process, discovery
is extremely important because that’s where the agency is going to ask you for all the
information. Whether you’re just starting out that process
with somebody or you’re near the end of the website and you’ve already gone through it,
that fundamental beginning is going to set the tone for the rest of the project. If you don’t give up all that information
that you have or go through that process with that agency smoothly, then when you get to
the design and develop phase and then deploy, it’s just going to be a bunch of fumbling
and roadblocks. So that’s the overall process that most agencies
go through. Whether or not they call it something different
is going to be up to them, but in general, starting with the discovery phase, you have
to do as much as you can upfront to be like, “This is my vision, this is what I want it
to be like, these are my competitors, these are the things I do and don’t like.” We have an entire process that we go through
here, but we want to try and pull the information out of your mind, but then also grab all of
your assets and all your collateral so we can look at what do you have to work with. We know what’s on the site, but what else
do you have to work with, because your site hasn’t been done in a few years. So starting that process of knowing that you’re
going to have to give up all that information to the company is really the first step. So now once you’re into the design phase,
this is when you’re going to most likely get wire frames, mock-ups, some sort of lay out
in a pdf, whether they did it in Photoshop, Sketch, any Adobe type suite, you’re going
to get something that looks like what they think your website should look like. Now, this step is critical and if you’re already
past the design stage into develop or even right before it’s going to be deployed, the
issue is that you’re going to go to them and say, “Oh, I want all these last minute changes,”
and most likely the agency is going to hit you with a charge to do that change order. So this change order could be a $0 change
order or it could be $500,000, $1500, it depends on how much you’re asking them to change and
how late in the game. This is something that can frustrate companies,
but from an agency standpoint, it protects us from doing work twice. When you’ve already signed off on the design
and the last minute you’re like, “Nope, you know what, I don’t want to do that, or I want
to change this around.” That’s going to be an issue and we have to
account for our time for that. All right, now looking at the design, for
the most part, 2019 isn’t going to be much different than 2018. You’re going to have an above the full section. Now, whether or not that first top section
is a video or an image, whether or not it takes up the entire screen or it’s half the
screen, we’re not going to go into details like that. This is not a design tutorial video, but what
we want to look at is the design of your homepage. People make the mistake of saying, “This my
home page, it’s amazing, it’s got all this great content,” and then they go into the
internal pages and it just flops. It’s not going to be high with graphics, videos,
the organization’s going to be weak. The content, the copy is going to be weak. There’s not gonna be enough there from an
SEO standpoint, but starting with the homepage, you want to try and get across that these
are the general things that you’re going to be, services you’re going to offer and products
or if you’re econ, there’s an easy way to navigate into adding products to your cart
and purchasing that, but you want it to be not super short because that home page is
going to be your main theme or keyword phrase that you’re going after from an SEO standpoint. So basics of SEO, it’s essentially a triangle
with your main theme at the top. That’s going to be essentially your homepage. Then from there you’ve got all these supporting
themes and phrases that support that main theme and whether or not it’s your homepage
that has that and then you’ve got all these supporting pages or main service that you
offer also has this pyramid triangle effect where the main theme is at the top and you’ve
got all these supporting themes below it. You have to be heavy with content. Not insanely heavy, you want to let things
breathe and you want to have room, but don’t think that your homepage needs to just be
like a two second scroll and then you’re at the end. You want to be able to provide enough relevant
information and content to allow them to navigate through directly into other pages of your
site while still thinking about SEO and content. You’re going to want minimum of 750 words
on that page for SEO reasons and that’s what’s going to help it rank higher. Don’t just put four images unless you’re a
massive company and your SEO is ridiculously good, then you can get away with that. Any sites that you see where it’s like, you
go to the homepage and it was just like two things to click with no text, their SEO and
their brand recognition is so massive that they don’t need SEO for the homepage because
they’ve got so many back links and supporting pages and thousands of pieces of content that
are pushing towards that main homepage theme and the keyword phrase. So you want it to be a little bit lengthier,
be able to link to your internal pages, have your blog on there, have a call to action
on there, newsletter signups, whatever feeds you can put in. You want to have everything on that homepage. Then when you go into the internal pages of
services, big mistake people make is their menu is far too in depth. It’s, you’ve got level one which is at the
top and then anything that’s below that is going to be level two. Sometimes people go into level three, so it’s
like dropdown on dropdown on dropdown, and it’s just insane. From my standpoint, I personally prefer that,
I want to try and control the direction that people can go into. I don’t want them to have all these options
to be able to go directly to something, I want to control the story. So I’m going to force them to go to a page
and then from there they’re going to have to go through content to then maybe pick where
they want to go from there. So you can do it to where they can go direct
if you’re just looking at a second level or second layer of the menu structure, but don’t
go into three and don’t make that second layer 50 sub pages and then every single main layer
has second layer below it and 50 sub pages because it’s just going to make people confused
and lost. Make it simple. Keep the menu structure simple on all of those
internal pages. They need to be just as good as your homepage. Do not let a web design agency say like, “We
don’t want, we don’t need something above the fold. We don’t need images, video graphics, we don’t
need anything that’s full width.” That’s 100% incorrect. Also, each of those pages, 750 minimum words
on those pages to support those pages’ keyword themes and phrases. If it is just a bunch of videos, images with
minimal content on it, you’re not going to rank or you’re not going to move up as quick
as you need to be. When you get into the blog feed, articles,
white papers, make sure it’s easy so people can get to it. The contact us page. One thing that we’ve been doing internally
is instead of having a form, so somebody fills out a form of your site and they’re saying,
“I want to do business with you or I want to talk to you,” you then get that form via
email. Even if that goes into a CRM and you’ve got
automation set up to then send them an email and all these things, something that we’ve
been doing that’s been amazing is linking directly to a calendar of a salesperson. If you want to demo something, if you’re dealing
with software, if you’ve got a service and you’ve got a sales guy that’s there. Besides products, we’re specifically looking
at services, having your salesperson or your company’s calendar up there so they can directly
book time. And then in the time-booking feature we use
Calendly and personally internally, you can ask them eight questions that they have to
fill out and then those get pumped into your CRM by using Zapier to funnel that information. That’s basically missing out on a couple of
steps that you can be more efficient with. You don’t have to then reply to them, say,
“Hey, when are you available? I’m available this day,” and it’s just that
back and forth. Or maybe you can’t even get them to respond
cause your response email goes into spam. You need to try and make it as simple as possible. Using Calendly or something like that, integrated
into the website is going to be super efficient and your salespeople are going to love it
because all of sudden they got, you know, they look at their phone and like, “Oh look
at all these appointments I have,” and they can start to do some research on it. So having the person go directly into it is
the most efficient way to do it. Once you get these design things done, if
you’re already in the process of finishing a website and you see something huge that
I’ve mentioned here, just talk to the website agency and be like, “You know what? I’ve changed my mind. I want to have this, or I need more content.” It may delay it a little bit by a couple of
weeks, it shouldn’t be insane, but you’re only gonna get one chance in this. As soon as it’s deployed, they’re going to
hit you with so many fees to redo things, it’s going to be ridiculous. At the end of the day it will be cheaper for
you to change it now than wait until after it’s deployed. All right. Now you’re in the develop stage. The develop stage is basically functionality. After you get design approved after they,
after you approve the design from the agency, they go into development. This is when they’re going to most likely
put it into a sub dot domain of your main domain or something on their server, where
you can physically see the website and interact. It’s strictly functionality. When you’re going through the functionality,
look at when things flip, if there’s a box that flips and text comes. What are the buttons doing? What are the buttons leading you to? That’s where you want to go through it and
make sure it’s super efficient to test out the forums, hitting the tab button, clicking
the buttons to see where they lead you to, looking at the whole mapping of that. That might not have been covered in the design
phase, so you want to make sure that that is as efficient as possible. You want people to be able to a certain degree,
go from point A to point B in the fastest amount of time without saying, “If you want
to go from point A to point B, here’s a third level menu like we’ve talked about in design
phase.” So you want to go through that and look at
the scrolling. Is it smooth? You want to look at the, you know, are there
certain actions or features that you have on the webpage of the design agency put in
that you do or don’t like? And if you don’t like them, now’s the time
we get them changed. If you have to bring in the rest of your team
to go through it and test it, then do that, but you need to make sure that if there’s
extra functions that you want, if there’s something that you don’t like, change it now. It’s a lot easier to change later if you miss
it before you get into the deploy phase, but you want to think about, put yourself in the
mindset of your target demographic persona and say, what are they going to want to go
to? What are they going to want to see when they
click this? Should it pop up a box for them to fill in
something, should it just lead them to a webpage? And go through that. It should be a relatively smooth process. The majority of the time is going to be spent
in a overall web development process of the those four phases in the discovery and the
design phase because that’s going to take the most amount of time. The agency will spend the most time developing
it because that’s when you’re actually coding and everything in, but from your standpoint
from a review, you’ve gone through the process and told them what you want, now you’re basically
just checking to make sure that what they showed you in design is actually in the functionality
of the develop phase and now’s the time to make any minor tweaks to that function. The deploy phase is when the agency is going
to basically take over your existing site and push the new site live. There’s a lot of different ways to do this. None of them are exactly the same. Everybody does things a little bit different,
but for the basics, they’re going to temporarily take down your site, take the development
site, put it onto your URL and then do all of the redirects to make sure that everything
is pointing back to it. This is when SEO starts to, things start to
get re-indexed with Google, SEO starts happening. Once it goes live, they’re going to ask Google
to re-crawl the site, re-index it. Your site map has to be set up. There’s not much that it’s going to be involved
from your standpoint. If you’re hiring the agency, the agency is
going to kind of do their thing over maybe a week to two weeks to really push this out
and work out all the bugs. Once it’s launched, now’s the time to test
it to go through all the features. Once the agency says, “All right, we’re good
to go,” then you can go in and check to make sure that everything that you saw on the develop
phase, nothing got broken, everything looks exactly the same, and that the functionality
is there and that the images are coming through and then start making sure that it’s tied
into Google analytics and you can start to see the traffic coming through and where are
they going. You’ve hopefully got new pages, you’ve hopefully
got new content, you can start to see here’s how the site was and here’s how it looked,
and here’s how the site is now. What’s the new flow of traffic and the behavior
of that user? And you can start to really start jumping
into the data and the analytics behind it. One thing that we’ve done from an app standpoint
or an additional plugin feature is, analytics gets you so far, but looking at heat maps,
scrolling and heat mapping with a plugin called Crazy Egg. Crazy Egg is great because not only can you
look at how far down do people scroll, where do they click. But then released at the middle part of last
year is they actually record every session to where you can see a one minute video of
when somebody came to your site, what did they actually do, and it’s just recording
their screen. So Crazy Egg is great, it’s not ridiculously
expensive, but it is going to be costing a little bit of extra money. Having a development company throw that in,
it can give you further depth into the analytics than just what Google will give you so you
can really look at that user behavior. So if you guys are in the process where you
just started working in the agency or you’re about to finish, hopefully there was something
there that allowed you guys to say, “Wait, you know what? This is some good content.” Give it to your agency and say, “This is something
that I want to implement.” It’s never too late until it’s deployed and
then you’re going to get hit with those fees.

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