Upgrading to the Energy Circle Web Platform: What you need in order to be prepared
When you make the switch to the Energy Circle's all-in-one web marketing platform, we have a well polished process to make that transition be as easy as possible. The Energy Circle team holds your hand through a series of strategic, design and content development steps that assure a finished product that represents your company brand and delivers the exceptional performance we're known for. As lead project manager for the process, it's my job to guide you through the steps. But this is web development, after all, and there are some critical steps in the process that are of a more detailed nature--you know, that devil in the details stuff. That’s why we’ve created this guide to the seemingly secondary things that sometimes can trip up an otherwise well executed schedule.
The Must Haves
There are a few things that we absolutely can’t launch your new website without, including:
First and foremost, we need access to your DNS (domain name system) records. These records tell the internet where to find your website when someone enters your URL into their browser. In many cases, these records live on the site you purchased your URL through (like GoDaddy or Network Solutions) and we can manage the DNS records from there. In other cases, the nameservers (which allow for the management of DNS records) are pointed elsewhere and we can’t access them right away.
Check with your existing web provider to see where your nameservers are pointing as soon as you can. To make the transition go as smoothly as possible, your nameservers should live where you purchased your domain name so that you have access to everything in one place. If they’re pointed elsewhere, ask your web company to revert the nameservers back to where you purchased your domain and repopulate all of the existing records. This will save us a lot of time when it comes time to launch and I can’t stress this enough: we can’t launch the new platform without proper access to the records.
We need a high-resolution version of your company’s logo. It’s prominent on every page of your website, and we want it to be crystal clear to all users. A vector file is best, but any high-resolution image will do.
The last thing I would consider absolutely essential is time. Our process makes your role as site owner concise and efficient, but we do need some of your time to review what we have presented and provide feedback. The more responsive you are to us, the faster the project will progress. We have a tried-and-true process that has repeatedly proven effective. However, in order to keep moving forward to the next step we need your approval to do so.
A general idea of what you want to keep from your existing website is key. We will help you flush this out as we go along, of course, but if there is some kind of feature you currently use and want to keep, we need to know about it. Do you have live chat? A MailChimp newsletter signup? CRM integration? These are all things to think about as we begin the project.
Google Analytics is an extremely powerful tool (if you don’t already have it set up with your existing site, we highly recommend it) and we want to integrate this on your new website. In order to get what we need, a member of our development team will need administrative access to your GA account. We’ll pull some code and set you up with a filter or two (so that your data is more accurate and you don’t see traffic from Energy Circle) so that you can accurately monitor your site’s progress.
If you don’t have an account set up, we can help you out with that. It only takes a few minutes and as long as you have an email address through Google, we’ll add you as an administrative user.
Certification & Membership Logos
If you are a BPI Certified GoldStar Contractor (or won an award from Angie’s List, HomeAdvisor, etc.), we will need those logos. It is easy enough to Google and find a plethora of logos, yes, but there are many variations and we want the one that applies specifically to your company. This goes for any certification, award, membership or other trust symbol.
Making users on your website feel more connected to your company is always a good thing. We will select the best and most appropriate stock images we can but if you have photos from jobs, of your team at a company outing, your office space, trucks, sign on the lawn — anything — send them to us! They will need to be high-resolution in order to look crisp on the site and we can set up a shared DropBox or Google Drive folder to easily get them (and logos!) when needed.
Service Area Information
Your service area is an important piece to think about. We’ll want to know two things related to this: general service area (30 miles all directions from your physical location? Specific counties only?) and a list of five to ten cities or towns you want to target in search. Think about the places that are ideal for you to book jobs in and that’s what we’re looking for on the list. It won’t single them out or exclude you in any other town results, but it does help you win in search results to use specific places within your content and metadata.
Okay, so you’ve gathered your DNS information, your nameservers are in the right place, you have an EPS version of your logo, you’ve blocked off an hour every Friday to work on the website, you’ve granted us access to Google Analytics, gathered all of your high-resolution images and logos and determined your service area. PHEW. The things above are what we absolutely need and are important for us to have...but there’s more!
These things are nice to have but not essential to building your new site:
Have you hired a company in the past to do your branding? Do you have specific color schemes that are to be used in all of your materials? If you have a list of brand guidelines, send them along! Our designers will make sure that we are following your standards and accurately representing your brand.
Making the Switch to the EC Web Platform
One of my favorite things to tell clients about switching to the new platform is something Peter says regularly: think of it like a set of clothes — you need to be comfortable wearing it every day. If something doesn’t feel right, tell us. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, but our team is made up entirely of experts. We will always make a suggestion (whether it’s the sitemap organization, wireframes or design) and if something doesn’t feel right to you, we will work with you so that you’re happy with it and so that it’s going to be an effective marketing tool moving forward.
The more things you can put together to bring to us, the smoother the project will flow. Being prepared for a big platform switch can be intimidating but if you know what you’ll need ahead of time, it’ll alleviate a lot of requests from yours truly down the road.
Communication is key, so if you come into the process excited and ready to work with us, we’ll be able to effectively and efficiently transfer you to our top-of-the-line platform. Between our platform and our marketing services, you really can’t go wrong.