by Owen Williams
At 6rs we understand that changing your website can be a daunting prospect for some businesses. So we have created a step by step guide to the things that you should consider when undertaking your web project. Take a look through some of the points below and download the full checklist from the link at the bottom of the page.
Stage 1 – Your existing situation
It’s easy to lose track of your current setup, so before you do anything, take the time to check where your domain and site are currently hosted. Your web developers will need access to these when it comes to making any new site live. Make sure you’ve got passwords and login details for any relevant accounts too. Having this information to hand will save time. However, don’t worry if you don’t know some of these details. Your developers should be able to help you track down any missing information.
Stage 2 – Pick your team
Find a creative agency that you feel comfortable with and that you think your company will have a good working relationship with. Having the right partner is more than half the battle. They need to know their craft and show some passion for your project. Make sure they have the capacity and expertise to meet your needs. You’ll need someone in-house to manage the project effectively and possibly a solicitor to look over any necessary contracts, non-disclosure documents etc.
Stage 3 – Write your brief
A poor brief will lead to a poor end result. Take the time to put a detailed brief together and it will save you a lot of time going forward. Be clear on your objectives and make sure these goals are shared by all decision makers in the business. A good agency can help you shape your requirements and finalise the brief if you have the fundamentals in place. For some tips on putting this together, take a look at our article on How to write a good website brief.
Stage 4 – Project management
It’s all about making sure everyone is on the same page. Planning to fail and all that…
What are the timescales? Who is responsible for what? What will ALL of the costs be?
Projects and relationships often fall down because of poor project management. Good organisation and clear lines of communication are essential to any successful project and creating websites is no exception. Start as you mean to go on.
Stage 5 – Content
Who is going to be creating/supplying the content for the site? Think about copy and think about imagery. It’s always great to get your own images created but perhaps your budget won’t stretch to a photographer and stock libraries are a more practical solution. If you want your website to be engaging from the start, then it needs good content. If you want your new site to feature a video about your products and services then don’t wait until the site is ready before you start it!
Stage 6 – Data
If you have access to data on the performance of your current site then share it with your agency. Design that is fuelled by accurate data will be more effective and will deliver better results. If you have Google Analytics installed on your current site but don’t have access, who does? Find out. And make sure that your creative agency and your IT partner are clear on who is managing what. The last thing you want is to be refereeing a squabble over who is responsible for emails.
Stage 7 – Security
Security is so important to websites and often something that is overlooked. Does your site need an SSL Certificate? Will it be using a content management system like WordPress, which is vulnerable to hacks if it is not updated? Many sites now use third party plugins to perform specific functions, and they too can fall foul of attack if allowed to go out of date. Consult with your developers on the right level of security required for your site.
Stage 8 – Spreading the word
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Well you get the point.
You are investing in your website, so make sure you have plans in place to showcase that investment and get some return.
Think about how you will drive traffic to the site. Do you have/need social media accounts in place? Perhaps you need to write a press release or coincide the launch with an event? Consider your SEO plans and objectives.
Stage 9 – Pre-launch
Cover off some important details and make sure everything is as it should be. Every site should run smoothly on mobile devices these days and loading speed is also a factor. Is all of the meta data in place for Google to pick up on? Has a Google sitemap been generated? Have you taken advantage of server side caching techniques to boost speed? Basically, is the site set up to run smoothly and perform well in search engines? Again, your developers should be helping you with this.
Stage 10 – Post-launch
You’ve done it, congratulations! Now it’s time to sit back and let the magic happen. Isn’t it?
Sorry, but a good website is always being developed and improved. Make sure you have the right analytics in place to monitor how your customers are using the site and make improvements based on your findings. If you have an ongoing maintenance agreement in place with your agency, how about putting some service level agreements in place? But yes, once it goes live do have a stiff drink, you’ve earned it!
We hope you find the above helpful. Download the full checklist of what to consider and look out for here