Know Your Goals and Strategy
I know, I know. This seems obvious. But the line between obvious and overlooked is sometimes erased. Put some thought into this.
Before you being, you need to figure out your goals:
- Who is your audience for this campaign?
- What quantifiable objectives are you trying to achieve with this campaign?
- How will you measure success?
You next need to figure out your strategy:
- What is the most effective way to achieve your goals?
- What media will you use? Web? Social Media? Print? Etc.
- What’s your budget for doing this?
These are hard questions! Marketing agencies exist in no small part just to help you answer them. But you have to have some kind of grip on the answers before you can make an effective site.
Think About Content
A lot of tech types think of content as something secondary. First you design the architecture, and you can fill in the content later.
This never works.
The strength of a website is in how well it communicates to users. You have to have some sense of what you’re saying before you can gauge whether the site is expressing it well. If you don’t have content ahead of time, developing this material should be considered the first stage of the web design process.
I can’t tell you how many bad websites have gone up because they thought comps made with sample copy and sample artwork looked great. Of course they looked great — the visuals were picked for no other purpose. But when they actually inserted the final copy and actual artwork, the whole thing ended up looking like a dog’s breakfast.
Speaking for SCG, when we design your homepage, we want the headlines and main artwork on the comp to be pretty close to final. (Body copy can be written later.) That way, you can see if we’re on the right track.