planning for a successful web design project

As with any project, planning can help you save money and time on your web project. Here are some tips that can help you prepare for a successful project.

Build a great team

A team of people who are actively engaged in the project from beginning to end makes a huge difference keeping the project always moving forward. If you’re planning on managing the site after it goes live, having a technical person be involved with the process from the outset will make their job easier.

The best team is a small one of about three to five people that have a variety of different perspectives, e.g. sales, development, technical, etc. working together. We find that regular ongoing meetings work best for sustaining forward momentum.

Think of this as an opportunity to strengthen your brand

A website redesign opens the door to a lot of questions. These range from core concepts relating to who your audience is and what you want them to do, to the products and services you offer, to mechanics like logo usage and color choice. If you have a strong brand, be sure your web design process is in alignment with it. If you don’t have a brand, the website design process can be a branding process in miniature.

Avoid over commitment, especially with content

Consider that if you decide to develop a thirty-page site and if you have elected to build site content on your own as a cost savings measure, that you have signed up for a lot of work.  Delays in creating that content could prolong the development process for months. Creating good content is always challenging and doing it well means budgeting time and energy for it.

Develop strategies for managing content effectively early in the process

  • Hire it out. Invest in an outside source to develop your content for you. Shew Design can develop content for you or you can find and work with subcontractors to do it for you.
  • Start small. Instead of planning for a huge site, plan for a small one and add new pages as needed.
  • Repurpose existing content. Plan your site around the content you already have, beginning with the sitemap.

Anticipate your future ongoing content needs

Google rewards sites that change frequently, so if rankings are a priority then periodically adding and updating content on your site will be important. In addition, your site will need to be updated to reflect the changes of your organization – new programs, products, services, etc. Some examples of keeping content fresh are:

  • creating ongoing blog posts
  • refining existing content based on how your audience responds to certain pages (e.g. if landing pages aren’t converting)
  • creating pages that work with social media campaigns

Budgeting time and money for ongoing changes will be important to a successful site.

Anticipate support and technical needs

Technology changes quickly. A typical WordPress site uses dozens of component parts in the form of plugins and themes that will be updated periodically. Having a process for updating these plugins in a safe, controlled way is important. Many organizations elect to do this themselves, but we also provide support plans that can handle maintenance and ongoing revisions for you.

Have a backup strategy

One of the first things we do when we build a new site is to install a module that creates two backups every day. In addition, this module keeps a backlog of three weeks of backups. This is a great resource if the site gets hacked and you need to step back to an earlier point.

Make sure your site is secure

Security is critically important to maintaining a successful site. Here are some simple things you can do to be safe:

  • use strong passwords that use a combination of letters, numbers, characters
  • restrict access to the site people who need to use it, and limit their authority appropriately (e.g. not giving author’s administrative access, for example)
  • use a plugin like IThemes security to harden your site

There are many other resources that can help you keep your site secure.

Install Analytics and check it at least weekly

Analytics lets you see what people are doing on your, where they go, and where they don’t go. They can also provide an insight into how people are finding you. Be sure Analytics is installed on your site when it is launched and check it often to make sure people are finding you.

Build social integration into your site at a root level

If you’re planning on using Facebook and other social media services to drive traffic to your site, you can invest in technologies that will provide you with a better insight into how successful those campaigns are. Installing a Facebook pixel to measure how your ads and boosted posts perform is a key first step. Viewing the data gathered through the Facebook Pixel in Page Insights is something that can be done when you are checking your Analytics data to get an overall picture of how your audience is finding you and where they are going once they get there. Tools like Hootsuite and SproutSocial can help you manage all your social media advertising as well as analyze the data if you are using Twitter, Instagram, and other platforms.

Questions?

If you have questions about building a site for your organization, drop us a line and we can help you out.

 

 

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eric shew

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