If website development was easy, anyone could do it

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by Sharon Gillis

JGSullivan Interactive, Inc.

I’m not a web programmer or designer. I’m the person who works with clients to determine what the website should do. I help determine the goals for their websites, ways to meet those goals and ways to measure to make sure their website meets those goals. Only after that work is done can the graphic design and programming work begin.

Why am I important in the process? Because I can help my clients think about their website in ways that wouldn’t otherwise occur to them. And, during our discussions, come up with a framework for the website that the designers and programmers use as a road map to build the website.

A client might come to me and say, “Give me a cost estimate for updating my website. It’s a few years old and it just doesn’t look very fresh.”

My first response would be yes, okay, I can see that your site looks a bit outdated and changing the layout, color scheme, images and font would make it look more modern. But, how is your website meeting its goals?

All of a sudden, their website becomes more than just a collection of pages with images and copy. It’s a business tool that has an actual purpose.

My contributions to this blog will be to share some of the things I think about when helping my clients think about their websites.

I don’t know if this blog’s readers will be people on the client side or on the agency side. My original edit of this post used “you” in places that now read “client” — this may change, depending on the content of each post.

I’d really like to get input from other interactive agency professionals on how you help your clients think about their websites. And, input from the client side would be equally helpful. What can your agency do to help you understand all of the complexities of your website in a non-complex manner.

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