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(Part 2 out of 3)

Foundation (n.): The lowest load-bearing part of a building, typically below ground level.

I remember going to the beach when I was a kid (okay, maybe it was only a year ago) and I would build sandcastles. They would look great and reflect the vision I initially had for it in my mind. Through hard work and sunburn, I was actually proud of what I had managed to create. I would come back the next morning to admire my work once again, only to find a small mound of sand sitting in the exact area where it was only a day ago. Over the past 10 hours, my creation had been trampled on by people and the high tide had practically flattened everything else. My creation had crumbled.

Websites are the same way. Most agencies can create a great-looking website but without a strong foundation, it will not outlast the elements of technology or the growth of your company.

Our new website process solves this exact problem. First, this is part two of our new website process blog series. If you haven’t read our introduction yet, you can check it out here.

Phase 1 of the website process:

The Discovery Phase

The foundation of a website can mean a lot of different things to different people. Some think in terms of what the site will be built with (WordPress, asp, javascript, etc…) while others think of it as the individual pages on the website, or a sitemap and wireframe sketches. While all of these are important factors that make up any website, the foundation we are emphasizing is the foundation for your company. We cannot build a website tailored to your business if we don’t fully understand what your company does and what your company is built on. What are your goals? What is your mission statement? What are you trying to accomplish and why do you need a website?

As part of our new website process, we have put together a website questionnaire that we go through on our client kickoff meeting to tackle these specific questions. The questionnaire is built so that we can gain a better understanding of your company as well as understand and get to know your branding and voice of your organization. Throughout the questionnaire, we will ask you questions like, what is the goal of your company? While this sounds like an easy question that you would think any company could answer without reservation, you would be surprised by how many people stop to think before answering. Usually, it’s not because they don’t know the answer, it’s because they are making the connection that their website will be built around these answers so they want to provide the most detailed, yet specific, answer they can. The questions we ask are to engage the client in the process and build trust so that we have a solid understanding of the company’s foundation and where they are headed.

Once we go through this in-depth questionnaire we can move on to the next step:

Art Direction and Content Structure

Once we get past the initial questions, we move onto branding and design elements. This is usually the more exciting part of the meeting because we can dig into your company’s brand and determine a plan of action for design. As a creative agency, we may already have an idea for certain design elements, but the client might have an idea as well. This is our opportunity to discuss designs we love, but just as importantly, designs and web concepts we don’t like. As an agency, we will do more research after this meeting on best practices for your company, but we can usually hammer out some general do’s and don’ts for your website. Maybe you want a video on your homepage or maybe you don’t want a slideshow (trust me, you don’t need a slideshow).

The bottom line is this: Your website needs to represent the voice of your company and that can only be done successfully if your agency knows your foundation.

Stay tuned for the final edition of this series!