We hear it often. Customers complaining that a person or company they have used to make updates to their website ‘didn’t listen’ and ‘the updates went back and forth so many times it was painful’ and ‘never achieved their desired results’. The issue having sat on the side of developers and agency for many years in our opinion is simply that things have been lost in translation between lay person and technician.
So how should you provide a list of updates you may want on your website to which the developer can understand and implement correctly without delays, incorrect implementation and frustration on all sides?
Here’s a few tips which should help you next time you are seeking minor or major updates to your website, whichever platform it is on (Shopify, WordPress, Joomla etc.):
1/ Get a good template or system
Different companies will have different approaches here, but you definitely don’t want to send your instructions via a jumbled email of incoherent generalisations.
It is best to use a dedicated template or system to provide website feedback or website update requests to reduce the frustration levels on all sides.
As a company we use and love Bugherd as it takes the confusion out of marking up requested changes. Bugherd allows clients to easily make comments directly on the page of the website (be it live or in development) that they are viewing, and also to upload replacement files (say new images) directly in the comment.
Using Bugherd allows us to see exactly where the client is referring to a requested change and allows us to manage changes so everything is done correctly the first time and nothing is missed.
In the absence of a feedback system like this, or if you simply want a guide to jot down your thoughts to seek a quote from us or the next person, here are two templates of ours you are welcome to download and use:
Lesson 1: Don’t send a jumbled email of instructions. It never works.
2/ Itemise and provide details
When providing feedback you need to provide details on each item you require an update on. If you refer to the spreadsheet abive, you’ll note it requires the person completing it to add everything from the logins for their website (so we can actually access the site) and a link to the page you wish to update so there is no confusion on where the updates are to be performed. We then suggest you provide one instruction per line. For instance, if on the home page the footer is currently not to your liking, include a link to your home page, itemise the update as ‘footer’ and then in the next column list all items within the footer you would like changed for instance:
– Add acknowledgement to country
– Phone number incorrect. Update to 07 545 11315
In short, feel free to insert new rows where you need to add more items to any heading or page.
Lesson 2: Itemise everything so it is easy to track what you’ve requested and where, what has been done and what hasn’t been done.
3/ Be Super Specific
Whilst it may take a little more time to put together your list with more details in the short term, it will certainly save you time in the long term as it will reduce the amount of back and forth with the developer on items they were not clear on in the first place.
Not specific: Change the button on the home page to green
Super Specific: Change the button on the home page, in the top right hand corner above the phone number from blue to the same green as features in my logo.
Lesson 3: Spell it out. The more specific if you can be, the less chance of having issues.
4/ Give examples
If you have seen an example of something on another website that you really like, include it in your brief/feedback/update instructions. This helps the developer immediately connect with what it is you are after.
Bad example: I saw this really cool website called GreenDays. Could you copy their home page? I really like it.
Good example: If you go to the website greendays.com.au could you please make the top section of my home page look similar to this. In particular I like the way their navigation menu looks with the mega menu, how they have a rotating slider area with 3 images and 3 calls to action, and how they display their contact details in the top right which are clickable.
Lesson 4: Examples really help the developer to connect with your vision and instructions.
5/ Use the correct lingo where possible
If you’re not sure of the correct lingo to use, we do understand you’re not in our industry (and we’re not in yours) but here are a few pointers on language you may need to use when providing feedback to get the desired result:
- CTA button: CTA stands for Call To Action. It’s important to have these at key points on any given page as they are how you get results from your website I.e. people contact you, buying things, seeking quotes etc. You may wish to refer to a specific CTA button in your feedback I.e. on the first CTS button on the slider can we change it from saying ‘Hello’ to ‘Enquire Now’.
- Domain: The web address used to access a website, e.g., www.example.com.
- Hosting: The service that provides storage and access to web files on servers.
- URL: Uniform Resource Locator, the specific address used to access a web page.
- SEO: Search Engine Optimisation, strategies to improve a website’s visibility on search engines.
- Navigation: The structure that guides users through a website’s content.
- Front-end: If you want to point out something that isn’t quite right when you display the website, whether it is still in development or live, you refer to the ‘front-end’.
- Back-end: If you want to ask for guidance on where you see errors or issues in the area where you log into the website, refer to the ‘back-end’.
Lesson 5: Use lingo where you can and they will know what you mean from the get go.
6/ Try and give your instructions in one hit
Every time a developer ‘opens your file’ to make updates, it is pretty standard practice to charge clients a minimum of 15-30 minutes and in 15 or 30 minute increments thereafter. Knowing this, if you can provide a complete list of all changes instead of multiple emails and multiple feedback rounds you will save yourself paying more money than you need to.
We strongly recommend when reviewing a site or considering what updates you may need to book some solid time out in your diary and go through page by page noting what changes you require. In short you’re best to comprehensively canvas your site, and potentially get other people to also, before coming back to the developer on multiple occasions. We can also offer user testing as part of our service if you’d like us to.
Lesson 6: Be comprehensive in your feedback rounds and save on delays and costs.
7/ Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you have downloaded a template, and are finding writing it all up, and with the right lingo is all too hard, please don’t be afraid to ask us for help. Where the required updates are minor, we can likely extract your requirements via one of our complimentary Discovery calls which you can book here. If the updates are more extensive, you may benefit from one our consults where we can get into the details of an actual website strategy, improving your conversion rates, or more significant updates (website redesigns and so on), or we also offer a range of website audit package. We pride ourselves on adding value to the process. There may be things we suggest which you had not even thought of, or which you hadn’t realise were important for website performance and which could make a big difference to your business.
Post a consult or an audit we’ll send you a list of our professional recommendations and an indicative price to make them. This can be tackled in one hit, or in a priority order as phases should the budget not be able to stretch quite as far as you’d like.
Lesson 7: Ask for help if this is not your thing and you’re struggling.
Summary on how to get updates on your website done…
Taking the time to think about the website updates you need and documenting them correctly really will help you to get a good outcome on your website updates. However, if you don’t have the time or the inclination, we are always here to help with a complimentary discovery call, consult or website audit.
Feel free to share this blog with others who may also find it helpful and if you’d like to come to us with your list of required website updates for a complimentary quote, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.