So you need a new website? Read this overview of the process and learn the key important points to help ensure that your website development project runs smoothly and achieves your business objectives.
If you think we've missed anything then please leave a comment!
First of all you need to consider what your goals are and to create strategies to achieve them. Your chosen website agency and appointed account manager should be helping you here and developing one with you as part of the process. Don’t forget to identify the metrics that you will use to measure the results and to give you the information that you need to be able to make further improvements at a later stage. To help achieve this you should create a detailed brief and answer any questions your website agency may have in as much detail as possible, providing access to any analytics you may have for your existing website. Once everything is in place and important areas such as the site map and special functionality agreed you can start.
The website design phase is where you can start to see things come to life. All the research done in the first part should be paying off now as you see concepts that may at first be difficult to select from before eventually identifying and choosing the preferred choices and making amends and further options. Unless the brief was very specific and your brand guidelines are tight then you should expect to see at least three designs to select from and comment on until you end up with a design concept you are all happy with. Needless to say the designs should all be on-brand and provide excellent user experience and natural SEO. With the final website design templates all agreed you’ll then be able to move through the visual design phase into the website development phase with confidence.
At this stage your website builders will be taking the flat designs from the website design team and creating HTML to import into the Content Management System as well as working on any integration requirements such as a CRM or other third party data source. It is common for new ideas and improvements to the original design and functionality to be identified and shared with you at this point and your account manager should clearly explain the changes and benefits and agree them with you. Once the website is built it is usual for a secure version to be published hidden away from the search engines. At this point the website agency should have already completed their own functionality and browser testing and you can focus on ensuring that stakeholders are happy with the final design and content.
With the new website project nearing completion, you can see the light at the end of the tunnel, but there are a few more things to check before the site goes live and these should all be highlighted by your website agency. For example managing the transition of URL’s between old and new websites with permanent redirects, launch activity such as email and social marketing, CMS training, support and website hosting and last but not least, website metrics and analysis. It is always wise to agree review dates after the launch where you and the agency can review the performance and agree any further changes on an ongoing basis.
25 March 2013