To give you a helping hand for your current or forthcoming web projects, we have gone ahead and put together our 5 top tips to help you build a solid foundation and gather the information you need to make a persuasive business case for budget and timescales.
1. Know the specifics of what you want before you start
Instead of "My site is old", say: "We want our site to take advantage of new techniques in web design and functionality.”
Instead of "Our CMS doesn't meet our needs", say: "We want our CMS to be able to do x, y, and z.”
Instead of "We want more interactivity", say: "We want our site to be more clickable/have more communication functions/have more self-service options.”
2. Agree completion criteria
- Nothing is more draining on your time and energy than a project that never ends because there is no agreement on when to pronounce it finished.
- Decide how and when you're going to measure whether you've got what you wanted out of the project, and take benchmarks before you start.
3. Understand your timescales
- The more complex your site, the longer it will take to create.
- Plan ahead and make sure you have the internal resources to handle the workload. Building and testing a site or portal is a big undertaking—especially when you and your colleagues all have your day jobs, too.
4. Understand your content
- What are you going to put into your site?
- How are your audience groups going to get to each piece of content?
- What are the big topics/sub-topics? What are the calls to action for each topic?
- What set of keywords will you use to relate content to other content?
- Is your content already written? If not, start writing it as soon as you know you're intending to do a web project.
- What is your site going to do? Pages with text are easy. Interactions and workflows are harder, so spend more time planning these.
5. Scope the project with your supplier at the beginning
- Make sure there is enough time in your plan/desired timescales for thorough scoping.
- A project without definition or success criteria is unlikely to go live on time and within budget.
- No matter how detailed your brief, your supplier will always have more questions that need to be answered so they can match the work to their resources and processes.