Three Steps to Ensure a Successful Web Design Project

Throughout my career in various in-house, freelance, and agency roles, I’ve had my hands on pretty much everything, including managing clients and developing websites in various industries. One of the biggest things I’ve learned over the years is what to expect during the web design process – things that can exhaust the project’s budget, running behind schedule, and other common issues that can derail a project.

Although each website project is unique, there are many commonalities in the issues they could face. At Exult, we do our best to be proactive at avoiding any issues that would compromise any of our clients’ time and budgets. Here are some things to take into consideration before you start a web design project.

Put the Right Person in Charge
When you hire an agency or someone else to build your website, you must keep in mind that it is a collaborative effort by both parties. Occasionally, there are clients with the mindset that the agency is simply another vendor doing work and expect the agency to be responsible for everything.

While there are most certainly agencies out there who don’t care about much aside from making a quick buck with a “first in, first out” mentality, a successful web design project is truly a collaborative effort, especially in the beginning stages. To lay the foundation for a successful web design project, we need to have a point-of-contact that should be engaged, communicative, organized, and understands the broader goals of the project.

Here’s an example: if you put your part-time receptionist who has a three-week vacation coming up as the main contact for your project, you’re probably not going to get the website you were hoping for. Putting the wrong person or people in charge can be extremely detrimental to your budget and timeline.

The more time we need to use to communicate because the person in charge is not doing what they’re supposed to do is time away from creating a visually pleasing website that converts visitors into new clients for you.

Provide Timely Feedback
It’s common for web design projects to have milestones, or steps that need approved before moving on to the next phase. For example, we generally start a new project with a sitemap and wireframe. Once these items are approved, we move on to a rough homepage concept, and so on.

Because Exult only takes on so much work at a time, we’re ready to hit the ground running once we bring a new client on board. Unfortunately, it’s typically the client that holds up the project’s timeline. If you’re beginning a web design project, you should make sure you’ll have the time necessary to give your agency feedback on the items they’re producing. Otherwise, you’re holding everyone up and it might take longer to complete your project.

On the flip side, we don’t want to see our clients simply approve drafts without taking the time to review them. Usually when a client is too swift to approve something, it’s typically a red flag that they didn’t review it, which will possibly result in them to be unhappy down the road and requesting changes that could have been unnecessary if brought up earlier.

When you’re reviewing any work from the agency you hire, make sure your review is thoughtful and specific.

Pay Attention to the Budget
Discussing the budget is always one of the trickiest subjects to deal with. Some agencies prefer the billable hours method, often resulting in agencies going over hours and costing more in the end.

At Exult, we structure our projects based on a set number of hours we think it will take based on historical data from previous websites and our extensive experience. We estimate we have x hours for design, x for development, etc. This is why we feel confident in offering a flat fee instead of billing by the hour. Billable hours aren’t necessarily bad, but if you do work with an agency that’s using them, be sure to pay close attention to your budget. Make sure your agency doesn’t eat up your budget quick in the beginning and then asks you to increase your budget because they’re out.

We don’t want our clients to have any unpleasant surprises. We’re not one of those “big” agencies that quotes $6,000 for a website and ends up charging an arm and a leg beyond that because they “went over on billable hours”. Going significantly over on hours is one of the biggest red flags that the agency you’re dealing with is mostly clueless.

This blog post by no means intended to scare you away from starting a web design project. We simply want to make you aware of some of the most common pitfalls so you can avoid them. we’ve successfully designed dozens of websites for clients throughout Youngstown and the rest of the Mahoning Valley. We genuinely want all of our clients to have a successful website that produces amazing results. By working together, we can accomplish this.

If your business could use a new website and you’re interested in learning more about how we can work together, contact us today to schedule a free, no-pressure consultation.

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