The process of getting all your customer facing material complete is full of ups and downs, set-backs and great moments. For some reason, we always seem to be behind everyone else in getting this stuff complete! If you have followed this blog, you know that things like our name, our logo and our packaging are works in progress. Some days it feels like we will never get all the the items completed in time for launch which is now less than 5 months away. Yikes!
This week we crossed of one small piece of our brand off the list: Our Landing Page. It was completed over the course of about 12 weeks, and while it is pretty simple, the process was full of change and tough decisions. In the end, we are super happy with what we ended up having. If you want to view our landing page, click on this link to be redirected.
Key learnings from landing page development, and web development for that matter:
- Start on this sooner rather than later: Don’t wait as long as we did. Consumers want to connect with you, so make sure you allow them the opportunity to do that.
- Expect 12 weeks start to finish: If you are anything like us, there will be changes, u-turns, miscommunication, and a few other things that I can’t even mention. All this makes a rather simple task a lot more of a grind.
- Prepare a brand guide: This is a key step in the process to getting your brand ideal and message known to yourself, and then to others who are going to work with you. Don’t leave it to a 30 minute meeting to let a web developer get a feel for your brand. There has to be something concrete they can sit and read, minimizing the margin for error.
- It takes a while to see progress: It feels like trying to get out of bed some mornings. There are a couple false alarms, there is snooze involved, a little confusion, and a lot of light steps to get going. Sometimes, after getting going, you just head back to bed and let it go for a little. Building a website is a LOT like this.
- Stay connected with those helping: No doubt about it, the more leash you give someone, the more likely they are to go down the wrong path and end up at a place that doesn’t mesh with you and your brand plan. So have regular meetings and ask to see enough information to be kept abreast of things.
- Get detailed scope of work: When you first sit down to finalize an agreement with a developer lets say, you will agree to a scope of work for your project. If you want to add something down the road that is not in this scope of work, you are going to pay out of pocket. As such, either agree to a rate for extra work, or budget in 10% of the total hours for misc work.
- Speak up: If you don’t say what you do and don’t like, you will not end up with a finished product that matches what you thought you would have.
- Balance: Not sure what else to put as a heading here. Sometimes you need to let someone else decide what is best for your brand, which goes against your taste or preference. Others you need to get that person to change direction, against what they like. It is a balance and one with no prescribed way of moving forward. Just hope that you, or those you surround yourself with, have enough similarity and differences in opinion for a healthy relationship.
- Build from Scratch or use a wordpress: Thats right, you will need to decide whether your website is built from scratch or uses wordpress as the foundation. One costs more, but gives you a very custom website, and the other is much less expensive.
- Do something unique: For us, in addition to writing this blog about starting our brewery, we added a webcam to our website, so people who are interested can view what is going on during construction without having to be there. Just having another website with the usual information is not enough in my opinion. Craft beer is booming, which is a great thing in so many ways, but also means you need to stand out a little bit.
- Brand Continuity: Make sure that your website reflects who you are, the beer you are going to make, the brewery you are going to build, and what you think you should represent. If you get away from this, you will end up at a place that is entirely what you don’t want.
So there it is. Another set of best practices for starting a brewery. There is so much more to a website than meets the eye, so don’t take this for granted. Get thinking about this early on, and start much sooner than you think you need to.