Every marketing firm has their areas of particular expertise, whether its a niche industry insight or a singular skill in strategy. But when a client hires a full service marketing agency, they want everything to be A-game, from the brand story to the website architecture.
Push some paper
First things first: before you even start delivery, make sure you’ve agreed a clear blueprint of what you’re doing. A statement of work is a must for a web project in order to lay out expectations on deliverables and act as a baseline to measure progress and to keep scope in check. Additionally, be sure to get as much detail from your client as possible in their technical specification and other discovery documentation so you have a clear outline of what you’re creating right from the get-go. You don’t want to hear about a critical module for the first time late in the project!
Keep everything—and everyone—in line on your web project using a good project management tool, such as Asana. This helps clarify the scope and trajectory of the project for everyone involved, which removes any mystery over who is responsible for what and when. It also allows for easier oversight by project managers. Less time checking on tasks means more time accomplishing actual work!
Eyes on the prize
Speaking of project management, take the time during project scoping to nail down how the website is going to be measured. Sorting out all KPIs, goals and events that need tracking in advance will help you and your client understand what success looks like. Just make sure everything is configured into Google Analytics prior to go-live. Tracking tools such as HotJar can help with capturing those measurements.
Plan to succeed
Site architecture is the foundation of the user experience, so it’s got to be right if it’s going to deliver your client’s goals. You can’t rely on your gut. It has to be planned out in advance to make sense in terms of the customer journey. If you’re not on a big budget, there are some online card sorting tools such as Optimal Sort to help you check your approach.
Look great, work great
Remember that design—no matter how lovely—can’t trump the technical capabilities of the Content Management System (CMS). They have to work together. So make sure to involve the tech team in all stages of the UX/design process so they fully understand what they’re going to be expected to deliver later on in the build. It will save everyone a lot of time if these two teams work in tandem from the beginning.
Fix small problems before they get big
On larger projects, be sure to create a frontend walkthrough of the site that is fully responsive. And don’t forget to view it across all potential devices you’re building for. This will give your client a chance to iron out any frontend issues before you go into the backend build.
Definitely review your costs and proposed resources periodically to check that everything is still achievable within the budget. Ideally you should do this once you have your full set of wireframes and then again when you’ve completed the technical specification, prior to sending it to your client.
Test, test, a thousand times test!
You have to test to make sure everything works in a variety of browsers. Firstly, when you’re creating your technical spec, it’s worth including a browser matrix so it’s clear for your client which browsers you’re fully supporting in your testing. Secondly, consider using an external test partner such as Silk Test. Using a partner service will help ensure testing is fully comprehensive for a wider variety of browsers and devices.
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Most builds these days are on CMS, which means there’s going to be a content population process once the build is finished. Make sure you allow for plenty of time for that. That includes ensuring your designers specify the amount of content that their design templates will comfortably accommodate and that the people populating the CMS follow the designers’ guidelines. Also build in a bit of time at the end of the content population process to review the site with a designer. This is to ensure that the design integrity is still intact.
Of course, one of the best ways of expanding your agency’s services is by partnering with other specialists to create first rate deliverables.
If you’re looking for a digital design and technical partner to complete quality web projects for your clients, get in touch. We’re happy to help.