As you may know, there are many contributing factors for a website to have a high search ranking.
Fortunately, the fundamental concept is simple; search engine exists for one purpose: to answer questions.
Let’s say you are a restaurant owner in downtown and a couple types “Vancouver classy romantic restaurants” on Google. Your website will show up first if it contains the exact keyword AND that no other websites have a page containing the exact keyword.
But what happens if your competitor’s website also has the same keywords? The answer is: the more credible web page shows up first. To understand how search engine decides which web page to show first, read this post.
Hence, during the website structure planning phrase, you would expect your web agency to study your competitors, so you can make web pages with keywords that competitors don’t have. This will make your website stand out and always show up on the top of search result page.
Here’s a website structure of our client’s competitor:
Here’s another website structure for our client’s another competitor:
By observing these two competitors’ website structure, we understood that they cannot answer many questions due to limited pages. Hence, we designed the follow website structure for our client:
Results? A 24.82% growth in traffic one month after the website launch. This growth is free if your web agency does their homework.
3. Technical Project Scope
To keep everything in place and on schedule, your web agency must draft a thorough technical project scope to avoid negative outcomes, such as: project delays, overbudget, future website bugs ruining user experience.
This seems like a no-brainer, but it is actually the most important preparation step.
Here’s a list of things that should be on your technical project scope:
Objective – How this is new project is going to drive business effectively.
Team – Who is going to work on your project?
Detailed Task Outline – It should be separated by stages from design to development to launching the website. Each task should specify its deadline and effect.
Deliverables – What wireframe (PNG. Mockups), designs (PSD, AI) or code (CSS/HTML) will you be receiving from your web agency?
Requirements – What are you using for hosting? Domain? Is your web agency building the website from scratch or on WordPress?
Supporting Material – What do you need to prepare? This is the time when you have to start preparing for content following the confirmed project scope. It includes photos, videos, text, or any other content related materials that you want on each web page. Please make sure you have this ready before the development stage, so your web agency can confirm the compatibility of design and content length & type.
4. Staging Development Environment Setup
Each project requires its unique staging environment setup for development, testing and quality assurance before it’s officially launched.
Depending on the software (or website) functions, your web agency will need to figure out the best environment to complete the project.
For example, if your web agency uses WordPress to build your new website, they will need quality assurance environment for quality assurance, staging environment for offline development and live environment to launch the website for public view.
The following table talks about different environment for different project stage:
Development is happening on the developer’s workstation.
Sandbox aka development server is where developers perform unit testing.
This is the stage where quality assurance team performs interface testing.
Serves project owners, aka you.
5. Preparation for Accelerated Mobile Pages (Optional)
Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) is a framework designed by Google and Twitter to create fast-loading mobile web pages.
Nowadays, people are more likely to be on their phones, so implementing AMP is inevitable for your website.
AMP is a duplicated version of your original web page with very simple HTML code and content, so there is less content to load.
AMP has a lot of special gauges and rules for certain HTML code or functions that may interfere with loading speed.
To create an AMP page, your web agency needs to plan out the Content Management System (such as WordPress) integration.
Here’s an article for business owners like you to understand the AMP framework better, click here.
Now that you understand what your web agency needs to do before designing your website, you should feel confident about moving forward with the project!
To avoid any pitfalls and time delay, you should actively communicate and work with your web agency side by side to know exactly what to expect and prepare.
Working in Fashion PR & marketing in London, China, and the UK for the past 5 years, Mo focuses on SPOTLIGHT development and coming up with marketing strategies for clients! Do you want to create an awareness for your brand? Ask Mo!