At Einstein’s Eyes, we’ve helped hundreds of clients work through website projects, ranging from basic updates and rebrands, to start-up launches and total makeovers. In our experience, there are two ways to do the job: the expensive way and the smart way. First, the expensive way. This method typically involves no planning, no input, no thinking, false starts and lots and lots of revisions. You don’t want to go the expensive route. Trust us on this. The smart way to manage a website project is to build it virtually in advance; that is, design your project on paper, thoroughly lining up the resources and inputs you’ll need to complete the project quickly and efficiently once the clock starts ticking. This usually requires a little more introspection and internal time investment. But, the outcome will be a far more satisfying and less expensive. Here are the five key components we see as essential to ensuring a successful website project.
- Define the scope of your project. What will be included in the work? Who is the audience? Review competitive sites and decide how best to position your business offering. Is there a marketing strategy to consider? What is your message? How do you want your site to be perceived? What do you want your visitors to think or do as a result of visiting your site? What technology will offer the best bang for the buck and provide you with the greatest upside?
- Set goals. What do you want to accomplish? By when? Do you want to sell products? Provide information? Boost your image? Build traffic? Support a business process? Start with the end in mind by putting your objectives in black and white.
- Assemble the content. This may include photos, videos, printed and digital materials used for background reference, existing web content, downloadable material (i.e., whitepapers, case studies, price sheets, catalogs, etc.), contact information, team bios, testimonials and legal disclaimers. If you have it all together on the front end, you eliminate delays in process and better control the output.
- Establish a workflow. Talk with your web design team about the step-by-step process, including functional responsibilities (design, programming, copywriting, input sources/content owners, etc.), the site navigation plan, design options, how and when content will be posted, the review process and who will approve the final work leading to launch. The more scripted the workflow, the more efficient your web project will be.
- Set a budget and timeline. Be upfront and realistic about what you want to spend on your website project – and live within your means. Adding elements after a project is approved can be expensive. By planning ahead, you can often build in economies of scale and add value to the final product. Set reasonable deadlines for all project milestones leading to launch, communicate progress and hold responsible parties accountable for their critical action dates. Delays not only waste time and money, they also create competitive lag time, which can be a killer for any business.
If you are considering an important web project in the next 90 days, start the process with a call to Einstein’s Eyes. We will be happy to help you focus your thinking up front, saving you significant dollars as you achieve a more satisfying result.