Clarifying Consulting: When Website Consulting May (and May Not Be) the Answer
In each of our “Clarifying Consulting” blog posts, we share wisdom and insights on the sometimes-unclear concept of website consulting.
These insights come from Rob’s (our lead strategist) answers to common web consulting questions. Enjoy!
QUESTION: We’re very transparent an upfront here at Followbright, and it’s not uncommon for us to tell businesses that our website consulting would likely not be a great fit for them, as the service definitely isn't for everyone. What type of businesses are NOT great fits for website consulting services?
In a nutshell, if a business’s website is relatively simple or straightforward, consulting may not be necessary. Consulting is an excellent fit for companies looking for guidance. Sometimes they are at Point A and want to get to point B, but aren’t sure how to get there. Other times they feel overwhelmed by the number of possible options and paths available to them.
Consulting is also a great fit for businesses looking for a guide who can help them prioritize their online goals and provide more informed budget decisions. Additionally, many of our consulting clients who have received tremendous value are ones who were struggling to see results from their websites, and needed help pinpointing and defining their weaknesses and challenges, because they were simply too close to the situation.
If a business isn’t looking for a custom application, advanced functionality, or for someone to help them process a difficult situation (and, say, just wants a very straightforward brochure website), website consulting likely isn’t a great fit for them.
QUESTION: Is website consulting a service only for businesses who are building new sites or completely redoing their existing sites? Or can website consulting be valuable for businesses with existing websites?
While web consulting is incredibly valuable as a strategic first step in a website redesign project or, obviously, in the creation of a new site, there's actually also value for businesses with existing websites.
There may be certain parts of a business’s website (e-commerce, call-to-action areas, etc.) that would benefit from being reviewed and analyzed in detail— either because they weren't built with the proper intentions or goals the first time around, or because businesses and business needs typically change over time.
We've provided in-depth web consulting for many clients who have been interested in consulting for new projects and internal applications. So, while these projects didn't affect these businesses’ public-facing websites, they were opportunities for the businesses to add tons of value by providing new functionality for their clients and internal sales and marketing teams.
QUESTION: One unique website consulting product we offer is called a Website Blueprint (even though it works just as great for apps as it does websites). Can you share with our readers what, exactly, is a Website Blueprint, and who does and does not benefit from this unique type of web consulting?
The Website Blueprint is a detailed action plan that lays out all the goals, requirements, and technical needs for your web project prior to starting design and development.
This means that you'll have one document that everyone can understand—from the CEO to the IT team to the designer to the programmer—and understand exactly what the website or application will include. We also help you prioritize your big-picture goals, often splitting things up into phases so that you can rapidly roll out your top priorities, while continuing work behind-the-scenes on longer-term ideas.
The Website Blueprint process generally consists of 4 - 6 strategic meetings between a business’s decision makers and members of the Followbright team. We start by having you "dump" all your ideas and goals on us, then we explore those ideas with deep, insightful questions to help craft a plan for your website that will deliver the maximum amount of value for your business.
Based on those discussions, we compile all the data we’ve collected and craft a detailed action plan (which *includes* the exact requirements for your website, the exact software we recommend, and the exact approach we recommend for any advanced functionality).
The Website Blueprint can be used throughout your organization to bring the whole team onto the same page about the upcoming web site project. We'll use it as the basis for a proposal to build the website or application for you, if doing so would be a good fit for Followbright. Additionally, you will be able to share the Blueprint with other agencies or developers, if you choose to do so, giving you exactly what you need to get an "apples to apples" comparison from multiple potential partners.
QUESTION: Does website consulting include or overlap with business process consulting?
They're bound to overlap in that the website and the technology available to you typically directly affects your business processes.
For example, we've worked with e-commerce clients who have gained access to much higher-quality, more appropriate shipping software and services as a result of a revamp of their web site, and it all started with an expert web consulting engagement.
So, while our web consulting doesn't necessarily focus directly on business process consulting, many of the decisions we make with our clients when mapping out their website plans do positively affect and improve their overall business processes.