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A web project can be a new and unfamiliar undertaking. So we’ve put together a short list of tips that we regularly share with new clients to set expectations and to help you in the planning of your project.
Before embarking on any web project, it is best to do your own research first. Determine what you do and, sometimes more importantly, do not want. This will paint a broad picture of your needs, wants, likes and dislikes, helping us understand where you want to go and how we are going to get you there.
We encourage our clients to think through the goals they hope to achieve with any project. It might seem obvious, but too often people embark on developing a website without first thoroughly considering what they want to achieve. Given such projects can be an expensive investment, it is important to get it right.
While the most common goals for undertaking a web project may be along the lines of “getting a fresh and updated look” or “increase lead opportunities and conversions”, we often find delving a bit deeper reveals other goals such as improved workflow, clearer navigation, improved SEO friendliness and greater flexibility and integration capabilities with third party applications.
By thoroughly mapping out your goals and metrics, you’ll have a better handle on what constitutes a successful project and an easier time outlining the reasons for your investment.
Firstly it’s important to have managerial buy-in so that your colleagues feel they are able to devote time to the project. Secondly, depending on the size and structure of your organisation, you’ll find there are various other stakeholders who’ll need to weigh in on the project.
Some of these internal stakeholders, such as Marketing Managers, PR managers and IT Directors, will be direct decision-makers. Others may not wield such decision-making power, but whose input will be just as valuable in the long-term success of the website - for example, those staff who will be using and uploading content through a website CMS.
By mapping out the stakeholders and involving them early, you’ll ensure there are no surprises or last-minute changes as the project progresses.
A web project is a time-consuming endeavour that requires quite a bit of collaboration. As such, before embarking on a new project, we highly recommend that you appoint a dedicated point person who can act as your project manager and stay close to the project at all times.
Given we may typically touch base with clients 2-3 times a week (if not daily) while working on a project, it is important to have someone who can devote their time to ensure your responsibilities are on track. These client responsibilities may include collecting and aggregating stakeholder feedback on designs, testing functionality, clarifying certain technical requirements, producing content and reviewing timelines.
Most web projects we work on are long-term projects, often a part of a wider strategic plan.
As such, before “go-live”, make sure you have a plan in place for the on-going monitoring and development of your web project and its content. It is only natural for websites and applications to require adjustments, tweaks and additions as they get used, particularly as the web continues to change. If you view the website as an important investment for your organisation, it’s smart planning to anticipate the on-going cost of maintaining and evolving the website so that it continues to serve your goals and impact your business.