How We Decide Where to Start on a New Web Design Project?
Posted by fusionbox on Aug. 14, 2014, 6 p.m.
Sometimes, one of our Denver web design clients will come to us with a clear idea of what they want their new website to look like. We have had clients approach us with sketches of pages they want, or lists of elements they need to have on certain pages. All of these things are great, because they give us a sense of what is important to the client.
More often than not, though, a client comes to us with relatively few ideas of what they are looking for. They might have some ideas about what they don’t like about their current site, but perhaps they aren’t sure what they new design should comprise. This is perfectly fine as well, because this allows our designers more freedom in their first drafts of the new website.
But where do you start, if you aren’t given direction?
Every project at Fusionbox starts with a client discovery meeting, where we try to clarify our client’s goals, along with a whole host of other details that will help us get started. If the client is an established company with an existing website, one of our first questions is about where most of their business is already coming from.
Sometimes, a majority of their business will be coming through their existing site via organic search. If that is the case, we know that preserving SEO will be a high priority for them. For an idea of how this is done, see our previous blog post on holding on to SEO rank through a website redesign. For some clients, SEO just isn’t as high a priority, because their potential customers aren’t searching for them on the web.
If they are getting leads through a paid search channel like Google Adwords, we will consider designing custom landing pages as we create the site. Any PPC specialist will tell you that directing all your paid traffic to your home page isn’t a very good idea. Custom landing pages that respond to user expectations, meet needs, and provide quick opportunities for conversions are necessary.
This question can also help us determine how important a mobile or responsive site is to the client. If a significant amount of their existing traffic is coming from mobile devices, then they need to serve those users a coherent experience that is consistent with the desktop UX.
With new sites, or with existing sites that don’t have this information, our marketing department does a thorough examination of potential customers’ online activity, determining where emphasis should be placed. For a stronger SEO presence, we consider the amount of text on each page, consistent keyword targeting, etc. For paid search landing pages, we focus on clear conversion messaging and a focused action funnel.
What about branding?
If a company has an established brand, this will influence the ways our web designers approach their wireframes and mockups. We strive to produce innovative and imaginative designs that stay true to the essence of each individual brand.
However, if a company is looking to establish a new brand, our designers will work with the client to discuss exactly what that will mean for them. Our designers will help create a logo, choose a website color scheme, while the marketing team will work with the client to establish a branded voice for communications and website copy.
In addition to this talk of branding, we also think about what makes each company unique, as this will help determine goals and priorities for the web design. For example, an art gallery may want their website to display large images of the gallery and the works therein. However, a company that offers some sort of complicated service may require more text to explain their offerings and some custom iconography to present information in a digestible way.
One thing you may have noticed throughout this post is how integrated our design and marketing departments are. From the beginning of every web design project, both teams are heavily involved in making decisions in the client’s best interests. SEO isn’t something that can be “done” to an existing site; it needs to be woven into the design and coding process, as well as maintained through consistent content marketing and link building.
So to answer the question in the title, we start with a holistic approach, and by gaining an understanding of the unique company and their goals. If you’d like us to get started on your website design project, give us a call.