When you are considering refreshing your website , trying to decide how to take your website mobile or starting a brand new one there are many considerations. But let’s be clear – there is a checklist for you and a separate list for the technology expert you choose to work with.
- Resources: Needs and Wants Clarification for your project
- Resource Allocation: Budget – Time and Talents considerations
Do you need a platform that your staff will need to control for content purposes?
If it is important for you to be able to control at least portions of your website (text, images, pricing, etc.) in-house you will most likely be looking at a CMS – Content Management System. Here is where it is tempting to research what’s out there and beginning to qualify which platform you prefer. Say, WordPress — you’ve heard that’s a popular option. But hold up — don’t put the cart before the horse just yet.
Understand what you expect your website to do for your company
Is it a lead generator? A reference and resource for searchers seeking products and service knowledge, will it be a customer service hub? Perhaps all three objectives or more are important — the point is take the time to clarify how your website can help you meet your company goals and prospect/customer needs.
In-house vs. Outsourcing
Next, be sure to weigh how are you sitting for resources. How far can you stretch the budget to cover the cost of the project? Perhaps the best solution will mean tackling the project in phases. Do you have the time and in-house talents to manage parts of the development and upkeep of the site? Working through your wants and needs and weighing them against realities is an important part of the new website process.
The ideal technology partner you choose should pick up where your resources are slim. You are the expert in your business and they are the experts on all things online. If your goals are clear they should drive and steer you through the quotation and project phases with ease.
Website company and/or designer list:
- Discovery Process
- Strategy Session
- Recommendations for Client Needs > Tools – Design/Build and Implementation
Capturing Requirements and Creating a Integrated Web Presence Strategy
Without a sound process for discovery – that question and answer phase, where your requirements – the scope of your project (what it will cover) and scale (how big it will be) is your project is captured – you could be doomed for chaos, unintended stress and failure to launch a successful roll out of your new site. An efficient and practiced website company will take the time to bring you through the process that creates a system and solution tailored to your needs rather than just selling you the platform product they are versed in.
Who is your ideal prospect and customer? What kind of media and presentation do they expect from a website with your product or service? Comparing your checklist of expectations to your competitors can you great insight. Planning for future needs will help insure your new tool will accommodate your marketing plan for awhile.
So which platform do you choose?
Perhaps the answer will be a platform with custom code written by web developers, perhaps a CMS platform (Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, Concrete5, etc.) perhaps a bit of both. Our point of view is that you will have a better project outcome by not deciding on which tools to use before you design the plan. With a plan, the necessary tools become more obvious to meet the agreed upon goals.
Tell us how your last website rollout was completed. Did you start with the tool or the plan first?