Recently we have heard four different businesses share the same problem;
“My website development project is holding me back, its taking me much longer than I thought to get sorted and I’m frustrated”.
Why? Well, there’s any easy answer to that, its probably because you’ve grossly underestimated the amount of time and manpower needed to complete the project. And that’s because you might not have the time to properly plan the project.
The simple solution to this is to set some clear ground lines from the start. Put it like this, if you aren’t clear what you want your website to do, and more importantly, how to express what your business does, then how can you expect your customers, let alone the others you choose to work on this project with you, to be clear?
We often get asked to help clients who want a hand bringing together a structure and content for their website. While we’re not website coders or designers, (we work with plenty of those) we understand what makes a website work from a commercial perspective and more importantly, from making every effort to put ourselves in your customers’ shoes.
So drawing on our experience, we thought we’d share some tips to provide a decent starting point.
Ask your customers
This seems an easy one but the amount of people that don’t even consider it. If you have an existing website and you want to change it, why not ask your customers what they would change? Is it navigation, would they buy online if they had the option to, do they want a personal log in? This can give you a really useful wish-list of things you might not even have considered.
Be clear about the purpose
WHY – what is your why with the website? There’s lots of chat about whether we even need a website these days (we liked the particular post by Tom Sandford on Linked In that is worth reading) but if you’re still in the market for a website, ask yourself this: What do you want it to do? Once you have the answer, distill that into one sentence and then communicate that to everyone involved.
Allocate the right resource
Elaborating on the point above, you cannot expect someone to wave a magic wand and for a website to appear. And if you do it’s not likely to be any good. You, or someone you nominate, has to project manage it. It is a burdenous (did I just make up that word?) beast and you should not underestimate the time you will need to dedicate to getting it right. If you are choosing suppliers, this in itself takes time. There are countless blogs and advice about how to choose the right supplier but first port of call would be to ask your network for help (or feel free to give us a bell!).
And don’t forget there are lots of elements that make a successful website including design, copywriting and promotion. So think about who you could work with to make sure you have all bases covered.
Write a web brief
This is the most important exercise to do. The communication process between you, your team, your web designer and coder and anyone else involved gets complicated, trust us! Having a brief that you can all sign up to from the start is the best place to start and acts as a compass when things get hairy. If you want a web brief template, feel free to download ours by clicking here.
Hopefully that’s a good starting point. Good luck and enjoy the process, and remember getting the finished website live is only the start of the journey!