5 Things Your Web Agency Should Do Prior To Website Design Phase

5 Things Your Web Agency Should Do Prior To Website Design Phase

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First of all, congratulations for doing the right thing by hiring a professional to design your website. You are now on your way to building online presence for your company!

So after a few meetings with your web agency, you have a basic outline of your website and you’re ready to go ahead with the proposal.

But now you may be thinking:

So what’s next? What is everyone doing? What do I need to do? I don’t want to have zero control and be in the dark. I am paying for this yo~

Don’t sweat! Let’s keep you in the loop and we will tell you what’s going to happen.

Here are 5 things your web agency should work on while you are preparing content material, such as: text, photos, videos, call to action text, etc.,

1. Acquire Google indexed URLs for your current website
When you are giving your website a new look, most likely the webpages’ URLs are going to change, since it will have a different structure.

Example 1:

Old URL: https://blog.thecodingbull.com/vancouver-logo-design-services/

New URL: https://blog.thecodingbull.com/logo-design-services/vancouver/

Example 2:

Old URL: http://allpaintingltd.com/commercial-painting-services/

New URL: http://allpaintingltd.com/services/commercial-painting/

Search engines don’t index every page right away when your new website is launched, nor will it remove the old website index immediately.

Which means, it is highly possible the old wesbsite index will still be on the search engine and visitors from search engines will see a 404 error page because the old web page no longer exists.

404 pages are bad for user experience and leave an impression that the service is canceled.

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Ah! Also, something to keep in mind, search engines treat a new URL as a new page on your website, which means it will not contain any SEO values from before.

If you have invested a great deal of time and money raising your website ranking on search engines, you don’t want a new URL without any SEO conservation.

Don’t worry though, it’s not the end of the world! Your web guys can easily do a 301 redirect (read this) to direct users to the new page with old URL on Google.

This redirection will transfer your SEO juice from the old URL to the new URL.

To understand how Google Index works, watch this:


2. Competitor Website Analysis
The ultimate goal for all business websites is to drive traffic and convert them into customers.

In order to have web traffic, you have to rank high on search engines result pages (SERP).

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:

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 1.26.59 PM

Here’s another website structure for our client’s another competitor:

Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 1.30.49 PM

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:

Good Sitemap
Results? A 24.82% growth in traffic one month after the website launch. This growth is free if your web agency does their homework.

Screen Shot 2017-04-17 at 12.52.38 PM
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:

Environment Description
Local Development is happening on the developer’s workstation.
Sandbox Sandbox aka development server is where developers perform unit testing.
Internal Acceptance This is the stage where quality assurance team performs interface testing.
External Acceptance Serves project owners, aka you.
Production Serves end-users.
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.

Mo Zhou
Mo Zhou
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!
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