6 key things to consider for a successful website project
- Ensure requirements are complete. Like any project – requirements are the lifeblood of the initiative. Without detailed, complex requirements for your web design project you will likely run into some re-work that can throw the entire project off schedule and over budget.
- Is the current platform the right platform? Is the current platform being used the right platform or do you need to start from scratch? A lot will depend on how quickly deployment needs to happen to meet the client's needs and if there is a looming deadline to meet but more effort is needed you may need to convince the client that this is a larger – two-part project. That's good for you as a delivery organisation meaning additional revenue, but you will want to be mindful of the client's budgetary limitations as well if those exist.
- Who will test? Testing is the responsibility of the project customer but that customer is often not fully prepared, experienced or equipped to properly test the nearly completed project in order to sign off on user acceptance testing (UAT) as you prepare for the launch or re-launch. Your project team can and will test, but you can't do the final testing for the client as that becomes too much of a conflict of interest that must be avoided. No matter how you look at it and no matter how hard we may try to test objectively based on the original project client requirements, if we do the testing it's unquestionably a conflict of interest. And this conflict of interest will come back to haunt us in a very bad way if we ultimately deliver an end solution that the project client deems unacceptable or that misses the mark for the target end users.
- Review the SEO and content strategy. It's advisable that you have an SEO (search engine optimisation) expert on at least one side of the project so you can review the design consistently throughout the initiative for best SEO design and practices to help ensure a user friendly and traffic friendly outcome. The project and customer teams together need to evaluate the current online presence and provide a solution that gets the final design to where it needs to be. Many businesses operate under the belief that their service alone is enough to bring in customers. The importance of brand identity and online presence is often overlooked, and the opportunity to increase customer base is missed. This is where best SEO practices come into play.
- Review the lead generation strategy and your funnel design. Consider also your lead generation strategy as well as the funnel design on the site. Make sure you focus on your target audience during this redesign effort. Remember, the best websites don’t just have the most attractive designs and features. Instead, they’re designed to attract your target audience, give them the information they need. Ensure that every page on your website is cohesive and looks like it all comes from one company.
- How much project management oversight is needed? Although businesses can hire the best developers to handle different projects who have the best ideas and strategies for the development of a website, the right toolset can increase efficiency. So while incorporating a good project manager into the process to manage the administrative part, keep the project on track and the right resources on the right tasks, I strongly recommend using a good project management and collaboration tool. Don't overdo the PM role as no project client is going to want to spend lots of extra dollars for the delivery team to be well-managed, but I always advise at least some PM oversight for best results.
Your overall responsibility comes down to coordinating the client’s demands with your team members (developers, designers, writers) to help you deliver the successful web design project efficiently and effectively. The project manager needs to have a strategy and focus in place that identifies the business business objectives and building tactics to accomplish them.
Readers – what are your thoughts? What other key considerations do you think go into the high level management considerations for a website redesign project. What obstacles have you had to overcome and what actions on your checklist have helped bring you the most success.
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