The key to a successful website project is planning. Its not easy starting a new project if its not an area you work in, most people who seek websites are usually not web designers or developers. It can be a minefield of tech and marketing jargon and there is a long list of things to consider throughout the project as well as after the website goes live.
If you don’t have a lot of experience in creating websites the chances are you haven’t considered everything that needs to be done in order to make sure you get the best possible results. The aim of the list below is to make sure you are informed and have realistic expectations of what’s ahead.
1. If you have an Idea, you must have a Plan
Planning is everything in this business: the more attention given to the detail before design and development is carried out the faster it can be become a reality and it will show in the quality of the execution. We spend roughly 30-40% of our time on a website project in the planning stages. Give your website careful thought; create a road map, establish goals, objectives and do lots of research, whether it’s looking at your competition or talking to the type of people who would use your website. If you are selling online ensure your idea has a unique selling point.
2. Create a Sitemap
This can be a list of the web pages or sections showing a hierarchy of content and functionality, a bit like a family tree with the homepage on the top. Also think about your users journey, how they will navigate through the website and engage in your content.
3. Think about Content
Your sitemap will give you an idea of how much content you need to create and if you need a content strategy. When you start to drill down into it you may find gaps, or it will spark a great idea for something you didn’t consider before. Also, think about who is going to create your content – be it text, photography or video, will you do it yourself or will you need your agency to help with this?
‘If you build it they will come’ – unfortunately it doesn’t always work like this, there is a lot of noise out there and like anything you need to shout for attention. Any website launch should be coupled with a digital marketing strategy – Social Media, SEO, Pay Per Click, Online Presence, Email Marketing, Press Releases, etc… If you don’t tell people about your website it won’t get any traffic and that would be an awful waste of time and money. Marketing your website is as important as building it so talk to us about how we can help you drive traffic to your new creation.
5. Ongoing website management
Your website is live, what now? Web development isn’t just for Christmas, its for life! Your software will need to be updated, backups made, security scanning and hosting will need to be managed, and that’s just on the technical side. Content will need to be freshened up, products updated, enquiries responded to and regular activity to promote good SEO is also very important. Take all of this into account in terms of time resources and budget.
6. Have a timeline
When does your website need to be live? We can guide you on this based on the brief but it helps if we know your expectations at the start. Try to avoid rushing a project.
7. Establish your Budget
Which comes first, budget or brief? Well both. You need a brief in order to get a quote but keep in mind how much you want to spend. If you have a budget, make sure it meets your ambition — for example a budget of a few hundred euro for a custom eCommerce website is unrealistic. If you can communicate this with the brief it can help save a lot of time. However if you have no idea, that’s okay too, we are here to advise the best possible solution for you.
8. Write a Brief
If you have followed the steps above, well done! – you are organised and ready to write a brief that any digital agency can read and get a really good insight into your requirements. This will also start the collaboration process, when there is clarity – ideas will flow and your business will benefit from this. Showing this level of thinking and organisation should also bring your costs down, often when everything is laid out clearly the task at hand looks easier.
Credit to Friday.ie for some of the information above.