/ PROFESSIONAL REVIEW /
Early in my career I was asked to be the lead on a monumental redesign project. I must confess it was probably more than I should have taken on at the time but, for me, it was a welcomed challenge and an opportunity to learn on a large platform.
In my first meeting, there were about 15 leaders in attendance, all of whom had far more power, experience, and positional rank than I did at that time. Each person had an opportunity to share their ideas and concerns, and some openly expressed their frustrations with their current website. For an entire hour, I said absolutely nothing, that is, until the very end. I had plenty of questions I wanted to ask, but there was one to which I needed an immediate answer - "Were there any plans and monies budgeted for research?" To my surprise, the answer was no. All they wanted was the final product with a limited time frame.
Sadly, that seemed to be the norm back then and, in many ways, it is today. But that mindset is slowly changing. The web as we know it today is evolving beyond desktop browsers to mobile platforms. And for those who take this shift seriously, they're recognizing the need to invest more time, thought, and money.
"Clients who choose to use my web consulting services before proceeding with a new site rebuild notice they save a lot of money."
I should mention that after a few weeks of back and forth discussions, I was able to convince the client to allow me to spend six months of research on their behalf. As a result, I uncovered a valuable piece of data, which I presented to the senior management within the organization and it changed the entire course of the project. With that key finding, the leaders authorized a revised budget and the redesign became a huge success for the client. Without it, the project would have been a failure, including financial.
That experience taught me an important lesson about gathering information before starting any project. This was also the beginning of another Skylar Design service - web consulting.
What is Web Consulting?
Web consulting is very much like a jigsaw puzzle. You start with a lot of scattered pieces and slowly begin to find the distinct relationships between those items until every connection has been made. In the end, you're left with the complete picture.
With every new project, I like to get a clear understanding of the problem a client is trying to remedy. Sharing that you want a redesign doesn't tell me anything. When a client expresses their sales are down 36% since last year, that's a definite problem. Now I can ask questions and gather more information around the issues. As one of my mentors once shared with me, "Once you have all the facts, it's easy to make your decision going forward." In fact, sometimes after I do a complete consultation, the client not only has a better understanding of the problems but can also see the answers. It's a wonderful thing to observe.
Ok, But Give Me the Nuts and Bolts
Web consulting encompasses many things, but here is what you can expect from me. Once I understand your current situation, assess what works and doesn't work, and find out your overall objectives, I can give you valuable feedback of my findings. This entails examining the code, your visual presentation, the various site elements and how they relate to each other, search enginie positioning, and a variety of other areas. With a complete website analysis, you will get a full report on my findings as well as recommendations for how to move forward, whether that be with your existing website or with a complete redesign.
Clients who choose to use my web consulting services before proceeding with a new site rebuild notice they save a lot of money. On another occasion, I was hired as a web consultant to review and evaluate the newly redesigned project and then submit a written report of my findings. One of the things that surprised my client (including myself) was that the code was terribly written. The client would never know this because the website actually looked nice visually. Sadly, the firm that did the redesign spent more time on how the site looked visually but gave little thought to how the code should be written. This would only hurt the client from several vantage points, especially their search engine ranking. As a result, I was hired to rewrite the code and provided on-site training to maintain the integrity of the new work. The project turned out to be a success and the client was relieved the project was now done properly.
Although it may seem hiring me as a consultant will add to your cost, the end result of doing so will save you money. If you're interested in my web consulting services, let's talk more.