Thinking about building a new website? It’s a big project that impacts your whole business so get planning now.
These are the basic boxes to tick for your organization to get on track whether it’s an in-house web project or you’re getting an agency like Digital Devotee to create it.
1. Get Everyone
Talk to every department in your organization about what they need from a website (PR, Marketing, Sales, CRM, IT, Customer Service, HR, Legal, etc). You might be surprised at the answers and you’ll have a better sense of what your realistic KPIs should be. Then talk to your customers, shareholders, board members, and anyone else who is relevant to your business.
Ask each these questions:
- What do you need or what is the current site missing?
- What do you like about the site we have now?
- Who do you think our audience is for this website?
- Who in your department is able to produce content for this site?
- Do you think it’s the right time to launch / re-launch?
Form a key group from across departments to:
- Define project (new brand identity, in-depth re-launch, light redesign)
- List functional needs
- Layout KPIs
- Estimate a budget range
- Gather feedback on the plan created from above
Getting everyone together at the beginning is the best way to ensure buy-in even though it takes a little longer.
2. Get Cash and Time
Figuring out what your realistic budget is will really determine how much time you have and what staff resources can be allocated. If you have hundreds of thousands of HKD you are ready for a big agency with a large staff to help you with every aspect. If you have less, you should look to smaller agencies or consider using a consultant to help your internal teams achieve some of the work on their own.
No matter what, this isn’t a cheap process and you should keep in mind that there are other things than design and development to pay for such as website hosting, on-going content creation, comments monitoring, SEO, vendor management, etc.
Most projects take from 3 – 6 months depending on the functions that need to be built and the time it takes you to approve work.
3. Get Benchmarked
Create a list of KPIs to measure your website success to ensure the design is focused on those things and that once launched you can track achievement rates. If this is a redesign project, ensure you develop a similar structure to track changes from the old site to the new site.
The key performance indicators could be things like this:
- Leads generated
- Readers spend longer on articles
- Purchasers spend less time to complete a sale
- Search ranking increasing relative to competitors
- Number of positive comments
- Customer service satisfaction
- Page Impressions
- New unique users
4. Know Your Audience
Spend time to understand who your target audience is and what they want from you. Who spends the most with you? Who do you wish spent more? Who is the next generation of your customers? Plan for them know and talk to them like you’ve done your homework.
Thinks about these things in relationship to them:
- The tone of voice of the copy
- The website’s look and feel
- Type of content (images, copy, videos) they will find appealing
- Calls to action – when you ask them to do something where will that happen? What copy will you use? How will they process the action? What will they have to do to complete the action?
Figuring this out will help everyone working on the team create relevant and uniform content for your project.
5. Know Your Plan
Creating a brief for the team (internal or external) who will work on the project is a very important part of this process. It should include everything discussed above from copy to hosting, colors to SEO. Don’t be surprised if the creation of this beefy document takes as long as the actual execution. You’ll be glad you spent the time to give everyone a clear guide as to where you want to go and an opportunity to feedback on the content.
And don’t forget to include the launch plan here. How will you promote the new site? Ads, bloggers, contests, events?
6. Know Your Content
Your lovely new design won’t stay lovely if the content isn’t kept consistently inspiring and refreshed. That’s true for industrial machine and cosmetics brand sites.
Create a content strategy document and editorial calendar that maps out what content you will have at launch and how that will be maintained over time. Which people in which departments will be writing content? How often will they be writing? For what audience will they be writing? Is there a theme of content for this week?
7. Know the Bot
The other audience you always have to remember are search engine bots! They have a very complicated algorithm for how they rank your page when someone searches for your preferred key words. These are some of the main things you need to consider:
- Define the best 3-4 keywords your homepage is aiming at via research
- Use those keywords within your titles, body copy, image names, etc.
- Do a similar process for each page
- Allot time for regular fine-tuning of SEO throughout the year
8. Get Measured
At a minimum you should measure your site traffic with tools such as Google Analytics which is a free way to monitor your site traffic to discover who your visitors are (e.g. Spaniards who found your site on Google and really liked the article on racing). You can extend it to track events such as purchased, video views, etc.
There are many other paid tools which you might need for larger more complex brands. A popular enterprise tool is Omniture.