A revamp of your company website is being contemplated. And when the decision is given to go forward with the project, it’ll be your responsibility to ensure all participants are cognizant of the company’s web vision. Be prepared! It’s typical for website projects to receive a ‘Green Light’ without any written scope of work. So, what do you do next?
Prepare Upfront to Save Time and Reduce Frustration!
The sooner your company’s stakeholders document the ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ for a new website, the quicker the project will come to fruition. The more concise you make your documentation, the fewer openings there’ll be for misinterpretations and costly blunders.
Before you receive a bid for a new website, plan to meet with a website designer to discuss the site’s future look-and-feel. These discussions should explore strategies, tactics, prompt stake-holder feedback and scrutinize options. Smaller websites may require one or two conversations before a solid quote can be provided. Larger projects will require a series of meetings to examine individual web-components and how each component will contribute to business goals. Complex website projects may require the services of a consultant to compose a scope of work to be bid upon.
Overcome the word-stock challenge. Website designers, developers and web-production professionals have a fanciful vocabulary to describe web concepts, user interface designs and abstract ideas. Colleagues from your side of the project may misinterpret or not be familiar with such lexicon. By providing your website production team a website ‘wish-list’ document upfront, with each ‘wish’ fully explained, you can cut through the language barrier and keep the project moving forward.
Compare, Contrast and Critique for a New Website
It’s expected that you review competitor websites and industry-related websites for ideas on how to present your brand. As you review competing- or industry-related websites, take notes on the attributes of each site. What you extract from these websites will help formulate your wish-list. For a thorough examination, follow the method below for noting website characteristics…De-construct each website you review into a three-part critique bearing the following areas. Be sure to state what you liked, disliked and had a neutral opinion on for each area. Be generous with documenting neutral aspects of a website – I say this because a banal design element of the past may have evolved into a sales-generating wheelhouse of late. Here are the three subject areas to consider for each website critique…
- the Layout, how content is displayed and how it flows across a page (such as, the home landing page arrangement v. default page arrangement, page margins v. no margins, photo- sliders, headers, Image galleries, etc..);
- the Functionality, the operations and behaviors a website performs (i.e, contact us form, email letter sign-ups, event registration, Lightbox presentations for images/videos, email responders, questionnaires, blogs, private membership areas, etc…); and,
- Content, the stuff that forms the subject matter of the website (ie, written copy, photos, images, icons, colors, logos, backgrounds, videos, etc…)
After putting your website reviews to paper, creating a checklist of ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ will be straightforward. Remember to keep your eye on the ball as you compose this checklist. Be certain all ‘Wants’ directly satisfy your company’s business goals. It’s too easy to get caught up in latest ‘Shiny-and-New’ website techniques that won’t do much at all for the bottom-line. It’s also common for small businesses to take on more website functionality than they can keep up with. All websites require maintenance; so, be certain your firm has the ability to fulfill the long-term responsibilities that accompany website features. Sometimes, less is more.