How can you keep a website project on track before and after it starts? In this blog, Rebecca Harris, Director of Operations and Planning at The B2B Marketing Lab, explains what needs to be considered for any website build.
So your boss has decided the business needs a brand-new, lead-generating website – and has tasked you to manage it.
It’s a mammoth task and you feel like you’re standing at the bottom of a mountain. There are tons of templates to design, pages to create and content to review. And, to make matters worse, you’re not sure where to start and your boss has asked you to commit to a launch date!
With the eyes of the entire company on you, how can you ensure the website goes live on time?
In this blog, I’ll share six essentials you need to take into account when planning a website project.
1. Consider Growth-Driven Design (GDD)
GDD is data-driven and agile website development methodology. With GDD, rather than recreating your website entirely, you start by identifying your highest-value pages – i.e. those that drive the majority of website traffic and conversions – and use those to create a launchpad website. This launchpad website will effectively be the smallest (but most effective) website you can launch as quickly as possible.
You then set up website analytics to track the performance of your launchpad website, using the information captured to optimise web pages and inform future page creation.
2. Define your goals
When it comes to your website project, what do you define as success? Before you start, it’s important to know what you are trying to achieve. This will ensure you don’t get sidetracked or that the scope of the project changes.
For example, what is the minimum viable site you could go live with? How much do you want to increase website traffic by?
If you have your goals defined at the start, your key stakeholders will know what you’re trying to do and buy into the project earlier. Don’t get distracted by the nice-to-haves. When planning a website project, all decisions should be made with goals in mind.
3. How many decision makers do you have?
How many people do you need to consult when making a decision about design or content? In our experience, the fewer people the better. If you have to run every decision past five people then that will slow you down.
You might want to consider addressing this upfront and agreeing the scope of everyone's influence. It will save time later when the pressure is on. The great thing about GDD is that you can start small, expand your website over time and incorporate feedback throughout the project.
4. Have you defined your search engine optimisation (SEO) strategy?
When building a new website, SEO is the most important thing to focus on.
If your website isn't optimised for search engines, no amount of fancy features, tools, colours or branding will help people find it. When planning your website project, ensure you spend sufficient time on your SEO strategy.
You need a plan for the following things:
- Keyword research
What terms are you going to target?
- Sitemap development
What will your website’s structure look like?
- Mapping keywords to web pages
What keywords will you assign to your pages?
How will your web pages be named and organised?
- Meta data
What information will be displayed to searchers when they find your web pages on Google?
- Analytics and reporting
How are you going to report on how well, or how badly, your site is performing?
If you don’t pay attention to your SEO strategy from the beginning, it can have a negative impact on all your hard work.
Check out the blogs below for more SEO tips.
5. Do not underestimate the time it takes to create great content
The content on your website not only affects your website’s SEO – but also the user experience.
Content plays an important role in getting people to engage with your business: nearly half of all buyers view at least five pieces of content before deciding to speak to a sales rep, according to research by HubSpot.
From blogs and videos, to product and service explainers and case studies, there are lots of content elements to consider. Striking the right balance between informative, educational content and sales collateral, is incredibly important..
If you decide to keep content creation in-house, ensure you have built out your content strategy and are optimising your content using specific keywords. That being said, don’t get hung up on creating the perfect content. You can continue to refine your content after the website’s launch.
6. Always include contingency
Something unexpected always happens in every project.
Your chief marketing officer (CMO) decides not to focus on a specific product. You hire a new marketing director. You need to change the company branding.
Life doesn’t stop just because you are working on a new website. When planning a website project, adding contingency is important as a buffer so you can absorb changes without affecting your launch date. We always include 20% contingency in our project plans to ensure we deliver on time.
Planning a website project can be scary but you shouldn’t feel alone. There are lots of resources and tools available online or you could consider reaching out to an experienced consulting partner who can guide you through the process. Like us.
Want to find out more about Growth-Driven Design and how it can help you to build a lead-generating website in just 13 weeks? Download our free eBook below. Just click the button.