7 Pro-Tips: Get the Blueprints Right Before Your Website Contractor Starts Working

House and town plans on lawn (digital composite)
 
Building a website is much like building a house; every little detail matters. Long before you watch contractors pour the foundation concrete, you go over the blueprints with your builder to ensure you get what you want and stay within your budget.

Imagine this: “I want a 2-bedroom 1300 sq. ft. house with 1 bathroom and an open floor plan. I’m on a tight budget, so I want simple, functional, and efficient use of space.” Cool. The builder drafts up your house plans. They’re exactly what you asked for, they fit the lot, and the build falls within your budget. The builder goes to work. He lays a precise foundation and puts up the walls. Plumbers and electricians come and go.

And that’s when you decide you need an extra bathroom. Two bedrooms should have two bathrooms, right? What if you have guests?

You wouldn’t really do that to a builder (we hope)…or if you did, you’d understand that changing something that significant is going to cost a lot more. Walls will have to come down and be rebuilt, the plumbers and electricians will have to come back, and the whole project will take more time.

A Beautiful Buildout is in the Blueprints

Much like building a house, when it comes to building your website, you’re going to want to avoid all the headaches and hassle.

The answer lies in the planning stages. It’s all about crafting blueprints that take both your short-term and long-term marketing strategy and website goals into account. Ok, ok, adding a webpage isn’t like adding a bathroom, but what if you suddenly realize…

So how do you know what to include? How do you even start crafting website blueprints that include everything you need for a site that fits within your budget?

Follow These 7 Tips for Website Blueprint Success…

 

#1: Pick the Right Web Development Team

Trust is everything. An experienced web design/development team has the real-life experience to go over all the pros and cons of your website design, structure, and feature options…before you begin your build. Find a team focused on marketing strategy, rather than website design alone.
 

#2: Be Prepared

When you have that first conversation with your website development team, have your ideas, questions, and budget organized and ready to go. Start with the basic framework, which includes all the must-have items on your list, then go from there. If you’re entirely revamping your website and/or your brand, showing examples of what you’d like to see can be helpful. Note what you like about each example: the colors, layout, speed, features, clean lines, striking images, etc.
 

#3: Be Honest About Your Budget

It’s human nature to lowball, but your contractor needs to know what they’re working with, so they can help you think forward and build out a plan for achieving your goals in affordable steps.
 

#4: Share Your Ideas…ALL of Them

What does your dream website look like? What are all those “it would be SO COOL if we had that” features you’d love to see? Spell everything out to your dev/design team up front. If you have big website dreams, there’s no reason you can’t unfurl them over time so they fit your budget. However, it’s important to respect the scope of each phase of the project. If phase one is building a 2-bedroom house on a budget, don’t be surprised when it lacks a grand entryway with Italian marble tiles.
 

#5: Avoid Committing to a Proprietary Site

Some creative teams will insist you commit to their homegrown web solution…but what you’re really getting is a huge pain in the you-know-what. If your website is built on proprietary software, you’ll have to hire that same development/design team ANY time you want even the smallest update. (That’s how they getcha.) Plus, down the road, when you want to move your website off their servers or software, it’s really going to cost ya. The answer? An open-source CMS platform you can update in-house, any time you want, without permission or help from your web dev team. In most cases, this means working with WordPress, Joomla!, or Drupal.
 

#6: Demand Responsive Design

First and foremost, your website should always be designed with the customer in mind. User experience for both desktop and mobile is your strongest asset. So you need a website that will render beautifully on any device, now and into the future. Mobile is a must these days, but you have options for how to build out your mobile-friendly site. We recommend responsive design. It’s easier to maintain than some other options and much more budget friendly as well. (*Psst: Google recommends responsive design, too!)
 

#7: Again: Plan, Plan, PLAN

Maybe you can’t afford a finished basement from the get-go. However, smart homebuilders lay in the basement electric and plumbing so you don’t have to tear the house apart when you’re ready for that fancy basement. Same goes for your website. Lay the foundation now and build out your website over time. Get the details right up front and you’ll be able to craft a strong website that grows with your business.
 
…and hey, please don’t be this guy.
 
Questions? Comments? Leave a response below!
 
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Not sure if your site is mobile friendly? Use the free and easy Google Mobile-Friendly Test tool to find out. Now’s the time to go mobile, but how? Check out this handy and comprehensive FREE guide to making your website mobile friendly.

Download: The Smart Marketer's Guide To Making Your Website Mobile Friendly
 

Why Your Website Must Be Mobile Friendly Right Now

Transitioning to a mobile friendly website is no longer a maybe--it's a must. Learn why and how to go mobile friendly here...

Mobile users have taken over the Internet—so if your website isn’t mobile friendly, you might already be in trouble. The days of being chained to a desktop are long gone. Users have more options than ever before and what used to be downtime (commutes, a stop at Starbucks for an overpriced latte, or even a relaxing day at the pool) has turned into time spent browsing, checking emails, and making purchases.

Google responded to this mobile tsunami in a predictable way, by changing its search algorithm last April to prioritize websites optimized for mobile devices. What does that mean for non-optimized websites? Say goodbye to up to 60% of your traffic. No wonder marketers were quick to dub the change “Mobilegeddon.”

Don’t know if your website meets Google standards? It’s easy to check using the Google Mobile Friendly Test tool.

It All Comes Down to Enhanced Customer Experience

Repeat web traffic is all about great user experience. Customers who find themselves on a site that’s not mobile friendly bounce…and buy from your competitor.

You only have a few initial seconds to get a visitor’s attention, so if your website doesn’t fit on their screen or your links are difficult to click, your visitor will never get to the next page…or click your call to action (CTA). They certainly won’t sign up for your mailing list. Every visitor you lose to poor mobile display is a lost opportunity.

Load time is another argument for mobile optimization. Non-optimized sites load excruciatingly slowly on a mobile device. You have about 6 – 10 seconds (if you’re lucky) before visitor patience is strained to the breaking point.

“But I’m B2B…Why Bother?”

This is a surprisingly common argument—and the answer is just as simple. Corporate decision-makers act exactly like other human beings. The 2014 State Of B2B Procurement Study by the Acquity Group found that 94% of them research purchase online before making a decision. More to the point, 44% have used mobile devices to do their research.

Sounds like the move to mobile is essential for B2B and B2C businesses alike.

Advertising Benefits of Mobile-Friendly Websites: The Push

A “push” is a message sent directly to a user’s phone. With integrated social media and a team that’s on top of it, you can offer information, special pricing, or coupon codes while customers are doing product research.

Mobile advertising offers businesses the opportunity to tailor ads to personal browsing habits and social media cues. Research by Neustar shows that targeting an engaged audience can lead to a huge increase in conversion rates, ranging from 6 times more conversions in the health industry to 56 times more conversions in the retail sector.

Mobile-friendly websites are no longer an option for business owners who want to remain competitive. To improve your mobile ranking, attract a larger audience, and gain more sales, ensure your website is easy to browse from any device.

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Have questions about going mobile? No problem. Download this FREE GUIDE, The Smart Marketer’s Guide to Making Your Website Mobile Friendly.

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You’ll learn how to:

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  • Use your mobile-friendly website to gain big-time lead generation and superior SEO
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  • Create a mobile-friendly website designed to grow with your business
  • Go mobile-friendly without breaking the bank

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