Each client comes to us with a different reason for needing a new website. Sometimes the Director of Marketing comes to us looking to supplement a full rebrand or it can be the CEO of a new startup. While they may be focused on all the bells and whistles of a new website, the choice of who should manage that project on the client’s side doesn’t really come up. We usually work with whomever the client decides we should work with (and that is completely fine!). However, asking yourself “Who from my company really needs to be involved in this new website?” is a pretty important question.
Prior to becoming Director of Operations, my role was to manage our ongoing web design and development projects. During that time, I learned quite a bit about the common pitfalls that clients run into if the right people aren’t involved. Your web design firm is a big choice, but it is almost as important to make sure that the right people are on the other side. If you put some thought and decision-making trust in a few key people, I promise you that your new website build will be a much smoother process.
To start, I cannot emphasize this enough – you want to keep most of your company out of your new website project. Period. Read on to learn about the 3 key stakeholders you want to have involved during your new website design (or redesign).
Director of Marketing or Marketing Manager
Your new website will be a major component of your online and offline marketing mix. As such, we recommend that the lead in your website project be your Director of Marketing or your Marketing Manager (since titles vary between companies). This person may also specialize in sales/marketing and should have an idea of what is going on in sales at your company to know what issues new prospects are facing.
This person will be responsible for coordinating with your web design agency’s team and will need to be available for meetings. Also, they should be able to have a clear enough schedule to approve creative quickly and make thoughtful decisions (no rubber-stamping). We’ve had projects extend for 9-12 months because the main point-of-contact on the other end was just too busy for phone calls and approvals. Approvals will be a large factor in how quickly your website moves and as such, please do your web design agency a favor and get back to them quickly.
Marketing Assistant or Marketing Intern
Depending on the scope of your project, you’ll likely want to have someone serve as a backup to your Director of Marketing to help pick up any missing pieces. This person should also be available for phone calls, quick email replies, and perhaps even assist with content creation for your new website. Most agencies (ourselves included) are fully capable of writing copy for websites, but we’ve had many clients that prefer someone on the “inside” taking care of that.
CEO or President
The last person that needs to be involved in your new website project is the CEO or President of your company. This exact title may vary, but nonetheless, the top person at your company should have a say in the website (especially if he/she is funding it).
C-level executives don’t need to be involved in the day-to-day, but it is vital to ensure that your Director of Marketing is communicating with the CEO on the website. The CEO should see the designs and approve them to avoid any surprises later down the road.
We’ve had many projects go awry because the person in charge of the website wasn’t informing leadership on the other end. We were working on a website build for months and as we got to the finish line (literally a week before we thought we’d be launching the website), the Owner saw the site and was livid. It wasn’t her vision, she hated the design, and wanted us to start over – and she wasn’t willing to pay for overages since the project was at the budget.
As a professional services company, we work based on hours and if those hours are misused by the person in charge on the other end, we must have a very uncomfortable conversation with the client. Nobody wants to do that, so again, it’s important to make sure that the CEO, President, whoever signs the checks gets to see and approve the site.
Who Should NOT be Involved with Your Website Redesign
When it comes to building a new site with a web design agency, the concept “less is more” applies. As I mentioned, we will work with any points-of-contact the client chooses, however, the more cooks you add to the kitchen, the more time-consuming and frustrating the website project will be.
To tie everything together, there are people you probably should leave out of the overall process and decision-making authority:
- Legal – unless they need to provide certain terms/conditions, privacy policies
- Office Assistance
- Project Managers
- Foundation Members
The list pretty much extends to anyone that doesn’t really belong in marketing. They can certainly see the finished product, but I do not recommend garnering opinions on designs, sitemaps, or content from anyone outside of your small team. “Death by committee” is no way to begin your website project and your CEO and web design agency will be thanking you.
- Keep your website team to 3 people (5 maximum)
- Your Director of Marketing needs to be available for meetings and quick approvals
- Don’t involve non-decisionmakers