During our web projects, I’ve run into the same situations/questions with clients over the years. Whether you are an account executive, marketer or small business owner and plan on working with a digital team to create a website, the conversation can get extremely technical very quickly. However, there are some very basic technical considerations/skills that you should be aware of when working with a digital team.
1. Let us buy the domain name
Unless you want to manage your own DNS and MX records, your digital team will need to access where the domain got registered in order to launch the website and set up e-mail. Sometimes clients will buy domain names with a personal account and not want divulge the login credentials to the web team. In doing so, we need to walk through the DNS process over the phone. All in all, it’s not an ideal situation… Yes, you can transfer domains to different accounts but that has another set of issues and can get rather technical too.
To resolve this, have your web team buy the domain for you. This way it’s in the hands of the people who know exactly what to do with it. You might also want to consult domain names with your web team too as having keywords in your domain name will influence your SEO. So, that domain name you thought was so great may not be so hot once the team does some quick research. Also, your web team will know if other similar domain names should get purchased as well as what domain extensions should get purchased.
Don’t feel like that once someone else purchases a domain that you can’t get it back. Once the domain is fully set up, it can get transferred back into your possession.
2. Know where to post content
At CRT/tanaka we have a tiered approach to launching our website. The website will first reside on our internal test environment that only the web team can see. Once the site is ready to share it’s then pushed to a staging environment. The staging environment is viewable to our client but not to Google or the outside world. Once the site has been approved it’s then moved to a live environment that’s viewable to the public and Google.
If you are managing content across these environments versioning issues can quickly come about. To avoid any issues make sure you check in with the web team to see what tier the website is at and where content should be placed.
3. Launching a website takes time
I’m not going to get into all of the specifics around DNS (domain name service) but if you are getting a website built here’s what you need to know. DNS is usually managed where you bought your domain name and DNS controls which server your website is pointed to. Whether you are launching a new site, switching hosts or trying to get up that website for a crisis changing DNS credentials can take up to 72 hrs to fully propagate worldwide.
4. Be sure to do a hard refresh
Client requests change to a website. Web team makes the change. Client doesn’t see the change on the website. It happens all the time, so what’s the deal? Before going back to the web team and inquiring about the change, make sure that web page isn’t getting cached in your browser. To do this, simply go to your web browser and while holding down the shift key click the refresh button. In doing so, this tells your web browser to go back to the server and grab the newest version.
It’s so simple to do a hard refresh and will save everybody time, effort and headaches.
In a given web project a client might receive multiple links for comps, sitemaps and schematics. Couple those links with links to a staging server and you can easily have a handful of urls that are getting referenced. Using a project management tool like Sharepoint or Basecamp will help ease the burden but in case those services aren’t available be sure to bookmark all the links you receive from your digital team. This way you have everything that’s been provided and its easily referenced and you don’t have to go back to the team asking for urls.