Our sales process for a new website client often starts with the client planning to update an outdated and/or ineffective website without knowing what they should really expect of the new website design. In an ever-evolving digital world, that’s perfectly normal. Those expectations are not only abundant and shifting, they also tend to vary immensely based on industry, audience, goals, offerings, model, and scale. However, broadly speaking there are certainly wide-ranging expectations most if not all web design clients should have. With that in mind and based on our shared experience working with hundreds of clients across dozens of industries, here are just a few of the most universal expectations you should have from a business perspective as a brand in the market for a new website.
Expect To Own Your Website
Make sure you’re not signing a contract that grants ownership of the website you’re paying to have built to the agency that’s building it. This might seem like pretty simple advice, but subtle language in a fair percentage of digital agency contracts can grant them ownership of a website you’re paying them to build for your brand and sometimes even a domain you may have purchased and given them access to. This can be a costly mistake from a legal perspective, is more common than you might think, and can prevent you from having a new team make necessary updates to your site should you no longer desire to work with the agency that built it.
Seeing a few clients and friends battle their agencies in court for digital properties which for all practical reasons should be assumed theirs is only one of the reasons we decided to start and continue building Nuera from the “client-side perspective.” You should expect to own your website and your domain–they belong to your brand unless you sign them away.
Expect Your Website To Be Built For Your Audience
If you’ve read a marketing-related post from me before, it likely contained something similar to what I’m about to share, but I’m consistent in citing it as it should be central to any marketing project a brand plans to pursue. You should expect your new website to be built exclusively for your audience—not for you, not for your agency, and not for your friends and family. This website isn’t for you, it’s for your customers, and an effective user experience that delivers on your goals starts with good audience research. Everything on your website from color usage, page flow, and copy to font selections, imagery, and calls-to-action should work together to positively influence your customers’ buying behaviors and increase your website’s odds of delivering on your goals.
Don’t build your new website based on your agency’s preferences, your preferences, or anyone’s personal preferences alone. Build for your audience(s) and make sure there’s dependable data behind every decision or, well, save your money.
Expect Your Website To Deliver Beyond The Homepage
You should expect your website to deliver on the measurable goals you defined at the outset of your project, and every page of your new website should be designed with that in mind. All too often, we see a generally well-designed homepage followed by subpages that fall flat sitewide due to careless copy, deficient design, and little-to-no opportunity for users to convert. From first impression and points of conversion to copy and on-page search optimization, the amount of strategy invested into your homepage should be replicated on every page of your site whether it’s as simple as an about or locations page or as complex as a products/services or employment section. Make sure every page of your website is built so the audience it needs to engage can find it through search and once they do, that it can serve as a reliable conversion point.
Now this post wasn’t intended to be exhaustive nor does it speak to fundamental elements like SEO, hosting, SSL, platform, CMS, or even the important role your visual brand plays. It was written to provide a few critical checkpoints from a business strategy perspective, but if you have more detailed questions or points you’d like to talk through concerning your own impending, in-progress, or even theoretical web build project, I’d be happy to speak with you–just say hello.
Got questions? Good! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for answers.