One of the biggest challenges we face when working on client projects is ensuring that everyone knows who is responsible for each stage.
Websites are often a lot more complicated than you might anticipate, so establishing roles and responsibilities early on will help the project get off to the best possible start and help avoid bottlenecks later down the line.
We specialise in the design and build of client sites, so we know that there are many components to consider. Without defined responsibilities, it’s easy for things to get missed and assumptions to be made; resulting in delays and bottlenecks which could have easily been avoided.
Below, we’ve clearly defined the different roles, responsibilities and stages for you to address at the start of your project.
If you haven’t already, take the time to identify the person assigned to each of these roles to give you insights into who is responsible for which area of your website design and build project:
This is someone that works for your company. It’s vital that someone internally is accountable for the delivery of your website. The Website Owner is the primary contact for your agency and the person who knows who is responsible for which task – they assign, chase and sign off each stage of the process.
This is the person that owns the delivery of your project within the agency. Often client-facing, your Project Manager schedules the work to deliver each activity with the right member of the production team (website designers and developers).
Your main point of contact and the person responsible for ensuring the project runs smoothly. Your Account Manager or Client Success Manager will work alongside the Project Manager and is be your inside eye to the project. They guide you through the process, providing you with advice and consultancy where required. They are the first person you go to for an update or when a question or query arises.
The Production Team includes the designers and developers within the agency who are responsible for creating your website. They produce the stunning designs you’ll see at the early stages of the project and who will then build it to your specification later. Rarely client-facing, these individuals will sometimes join project calls alongside the Project Manager or Client/Account Manager to provide technical insight and answer your burning specification questions.
The design and development of your new website is just one part of the overall process. You may also need to consider other important tasks (explored in more detail below) but may not be something that your web agency would deliver so you’ll need to factor in if you need to hire additional support.
The design and build of your new website should be the responsibility of your chosen web agency. However, you will need to sign off certain aspects of the project; your involvement will depend on the level of customisation requested.
Your web design agency can usually organise hosting, but not always, so it’s crucial to find this out at the beginning of the project; otherwise, you may need to source your own.
Content creation, i.e. the words and images for your website, can often be a grey area. Establish early on who will be responsible (you or your agency) as typically, content is the biggest cause for delayed launch.
There are advantages and disadvantages to who creates your content; you know your business best, and therefore this is usually the better option. However, you may lack the confidence and skill required, in which case you might want to hire a copywriter. Either way, be sure to have this conversation at the start of your project, as you may need to hire additional support.
Once your content is ready, someone will need to add this to your website; again, this can be completed internally by yourself or your team to save money. This stage can take a long time depending on how complex your site is and the volume of pages, it’s also often the biggest bottleneck of a project. If you want your agency to input your content, ask them about this early on as they’ll need to add it to the schedule and create an additional quote.
Ideally, you would use this stage as an opportunity to familiarise yourself with the admin of your site, following some extensive CMS training from your agency.
Again, this may or may not be something that the web design agency offers. To ensure it doesn’t get overlooked, be sure to ask about this at the beginning of the project or bring in an external SEO or PPC specialist to work alongside your web agency if needed. If you’re doing this yourself, there are several things to consider:
SEO and PPC are used to help your website rank on Google, and ensure you get found! Without them, your site might never appear in search results, so it’s important to factor them into the overall project process to ensure the best chance of success.
Now that you have a better idea about all of the parts that go into making a successful website, this will undoubtedly open up questions about who should deliver your new site. Should you try and source an all-in-one agency that can handle website creation and content, SEO, and PPC? OR, should you choose separate specialists?
All-in-one or ‘full service’ agencies sell themselves as being a one-stop-shop. However, they are often generalists, which means they’re unlikely to deliver each stage to the same level that a dedicated specialist can. It’s an important decision to consider when purchasing your new website, and we’d always recommend meeting and getting quotes from a range of providers so that you can get a feel for which one is right for you.
We hope this blog will help you ensure that your next website project is well planned with clear roles and responsibilities to ensure its success! If you’d like to hear more of our insights, please register for our newsletter.