Discovery: The key internal process for a killer website

You’ve probably heard the expression “look before you leap,” or the more daunting “failing to plan is planning to fail.” They’re words of wisdom that serve as words of warning, intending to make us think before we jump into action. Yes, it’s exciting to “jump into the deep end of the pool” and just start swimming, but there are many pitfalls you can encounter when you do this.

Which brings me to your website. Who doesn’t want to hurry up and get a shiny, new, spiffy website to represent your brand? There may be a temptation to take shortcuts to get it done tomorrow, or perhaps even tell a web designer to build you a site and let you know when it’s done. But greatness happens when you take the time and energy to contemplate what you really want, and that’s where we come in. We’re the “look before you leap” crew, collaborating with you create the best website possible and truly think through your purpose and goals for the site. That’s why the first step in any website project here at Kolbeco is — Discovery!

What is Discovery All About?

At Kolbeco, our discovery session is a face-to-face, two-hour long meeting which helps our team learn the top priorities for your website directly from your key leaders. And typically, it’s not just about the website. We dig into your brand and your overall marketing strategy to ensure all are in alignment when we transition to a new digital presence and help determine who you are and what messages your brand should convey (and to whom). In some cases, we’ll help clarify your brand, while in others, we’ll update or even create a new brand before the website process begins. Once we nail down who you and your audience are, we’ll talk through what you actually want your site to do – what functionality, what you want visitors to do when they get there, what online processes on the backend might help your business run better, and how you envision people will find you. We have a process for all of this, and while it’s a very organized discussion, we always welcome the organic tangents that reveal who you really are.

The Common Pitfalls of Not Starting with Discovery

What happens when you just jump in without thinking these things through?

  1. You lose the ah-ha moments. We’ve been doing this for a long time, and we’ve never gone through a discovery session without arriving at an ah-ha moment for the client. Whether it’s the realization of what can be done online or the core of the brand’s story that’s uncovered, the process always reveals something that the client hadn’t previously considered. And there’s a great deal of value in that.
  2. You lose perspective. You know what you know, and we know what we know. Let’s share! Sharing our previous experiences allows us the opportunity to show you things that are successful – things that we can incorporate into your site to create great branding, user experience, and results. Plus, we get to hear what you like and don’t like, and the why behind those things.
  3. You miss out on the relationship. Designing, developing and managing your online presence isn’t transactional. Throughout the discovery process, we get to know each other, make a personal connection, and build the foundation to do great things together which make an impact on your business.
  4. You build a website in a vacuum. There are so many possibilities that discovery can identify. But you won’t know about them until you talk it through with us!
  5. You won’t fully understand the process. There are many things involved in developing, launching and managing a website, and many things can stand in the way without proper discussion and planning.
  6. You won’t have a plan for what to do after you launch. Your launch is just the beginning. Long gone are the days when you could launch a site and forget it. It needs to be nurtured and tended to. It needs to create constant value for your audience, and create meaningful engagements. You’ll start to craft that strategy through the discovery process.

The discovery session is a crucial part of the website process.  Of course, we have been asked if it is really necessary and our answer is always “yes.”   It is necessary and key to the success of the project from both a delivery and a relationship building perspective.