If you’ve ever hired a developer or agency to build your website, you’ve probably been through a “discovery” phase. And if you haven’t, you probably should have been. Building a website without a discovery phase is like building a house without a blueprint. Here are five reasons why the discovery phase is an essential part of the creation of your website:
1. To define your goals: Your website is more than just a banner advertising your business. It’s where the majority of your potential customers will go to determine whether or not your business fits their needs. In many cases, you may be conducting business and transactions directly through your website. Your website is, at the very least, a vehicle for brand ambassadorship.
Your website should be constructed to achieve your business goals. What do you hope to achieve through the site? What audience do you intend to reach? How will you reach them? There are no stock answers to these questions. Each business is different. The discovery phase helps your creative agency or developer get to know your business – and your people, inside and out.
2. To determine needs and anticipate technical issues: Once your creative agency or developer has a full understanding of your business and its goals, it’s time to start mapping out the right solution. Maybe you have a fantastic, creative idea for your site. Perhaps your agency does too. But great ideas don’t come with blueprints. The discovery phase allows the website development team to plan for the variables associated with a solution designed to meet your goals. What kind of back-end development will you need? What about bandwidth? What will the functionality look like? Have you heard the phrase “we don’t know what we don’t know?” The discovery phase is where we find out.
3. To set schedules and expectations: The discovery phase will allow your creative and development team to set expectations about costs, timing of the project and resources needed. This is also a good time to plan out lines of communication between your organization and the development team. What team members will be involved? Will there be regularly scheduled meetings? Who will be required to attend? Who will be responsible for approvals? All of these questions will be answered during the discovery phase.
4. To avoid cost and time over runs: An unplanned process will almost always suffer from overruns in cost and time, because unforeseen variables inevitably happen. The discovery phase anticipates these issues, thereby minimizing the instance of problems, saving you time – and money.
5. To develop a strategic partner, not just a vendor: There are plenty of options when it comes to choosing a vendor to create your website. You can always find a cheap and easy option – but you get what you pay for. Your website is a substantial part of your business and your brand. Your investment in it should be treated as such. Good developers and creative agencies will insist on a discovery phase, because they are doing more than just a one-off job. They’re entering into a relationship with you as a strategic partner. At Jacob Tyler, we don’t just finish the job and leave. We’ve been lucky enough to have long-term partnerships with our clients. We’re invested in their success. These relationships have allowed us to grow with our clients, and learn more and more about their business through the years. These relationships are born in the discovery phase.
Have questions about your website or the discovery phase? Fill out the form to the right and let’s chat!