the Birddog Blog
One of the hardest projects you’ll ever work on is your own website. It will take a lot longer to complete the project than any other piece of work you ever do.
Wednesday 25th August, 2010
Website delivery problems are caused by many factors including (but not limited to):
- The work getting bumped due to other pressing deadlines
- Different people getting involved at different stages of the site
- No-one having any time to create content for the site
- New technologies emerging that you feel just have to be included
Sound familiar? We’ve all been there. Here are some tips that should help you in planning and delivering your company website faster.
- Make sure the project has an owner – a champion. Assigning the project to a group of people will often never work. Everyone has their own agenda and other work will always take precedent. If someone is given responsibility they will ensure the project is pushed through and delivered. Make sure this person is someone who is well connected within the business and knows how to get their own way when it comes to getting things done.
- Treat your company as you would any client – give the project a reference and book resource including an Account and/or Project Manager. By doing this, it is more likely that you will have access to the right resource at the times you need it, rather than trying to fit it.
- Run a questionnaire with multiple choice answers to gather feedback and information.
- Plan who you are going to involve. If you ask a hundred people a question, you will get one hundred different answers. Run focus groups concentrating on the areas of specialism of the people in those groups.
- Try to ensure the same designer/design team work on the design from start to finish. This will help to keep the content consistent and will make it easier to adapt the design quickly if part of it needs amending.
- Look at your competitors. Not because you want to emulate them, but to make sure none of them already have a site that looks exactly like the one you’re planning. You’re there to differentiate from the competition, right?
- Plan your copy. Content is one of the hardest challenges in any new site build. Good copy requires time to create, something many businesses don’t have. Create a template people can just type into, and include a wireframe showing them what the page will look like so that they can get a feel for the content. Give them a content brief that shows them the tone of voice for the new site and make sure you set a strict word limit. If what you get back is wrong, don’t be afraid to push it back with some constructive feedback and get them to have a second stab at it.
- Make sure Social Media courses through the veins of the site. Your site should become the example for others to follow. Having comments enabled on all of your site articles will encourage both staff and external visitors to become involved in contributing a wide range of content.
- Don’t forget to plan your site in the right order. Usability should always come before Design. Your new site might look pretty, but if you have to explain to visitors how to use it, if it takes ages to load on a 1mb broadband connection, if it’s style over substance... people won’t use it.
- Plan your SEO. While it could be argued that SEO is gradually becoming less relevant, with more traffic now going to Social Networks as opposed to Search Engines, search engines such as Google still deliver the majority of traffic to most sites, so it is important to plan your search strategy from the outset.