The backbone of any successful website launch is a comprehensive plan. When you take the time to establish a process for your website redesign you set your team and the website up for success.
There are many steps you can take during your website planning process, dependent on your website philosophy you may or may not want to include the below suggestions.
Here's what to include in your website project plan to ensure that the process of building the site goes smoothly and the finished project is a lead driving digital entity.
Website Planning - Getting Started
Before you start to dream up what your new website will look like you need to take a comprehensive look at your needs. If you already have a website, assess your metrics to determine what is working, what is not working and where there is room to improve. Then move onto to making a list of everything that you need your website to do. It's also a good idea to assess your market to see what your competitors are doing.
Next you should establish the goals you have for your website. This will help guide your design and content and will allow you to assign priority to your pages.
If you are not a marketing or design firm, at this stage it's time to find a team to help you build your new website. If you are an agency, you will need to assign the appropriate stake holders.
A great website is touched on by a number of people. We thoroughly believe that an expert in all of the following areas should help guide the website to realization:
- Project Manager
- Internal (Client) Advocate
- Strategic Marketer
- Graphic Designer
- UX/UI Expert
Build the Vision of the Website
Once you have done your preliminary research to determine the needs and goals of this website redesign, it's time to think about content. Not every website needs content first before it is built, but the amount of content will affect styling in various ways.
Map out the pages of the website required (your site map) and determine how much content will be applied to the pages and how many sections may be required. Remember content extends to items like calendars, CTA's and images, so take these things into consideration.
If you want to push the content to the side in favour of design, before you move straight to digital design, it's a good idea to collaborate on a wireframe that satisfies the team. A wireframe will allow you to determine where content pieces will go and how the various pages of your website will be structured.
The Steps of Design
Once strategic content and the wireframe plan has been established, the project now can move on to the designers desk. Your designer should have a good feeling of the client's brand, the strategy and the needs of the website.
This is one of the most exciting stages and it's important that the designer consider a number of technical aspects so that the design can easily move form PSD to CMS. To learn how to create designs that developers want to work with click here.
Once the design mockup has been submitted or delivered you will likely go through a few rounds of edits, once the design is approved it's time for development.
Your developer will build the design on your CMS of choice. Once the developer is done building the design to spec, it's time to start QA. Comb through every page of the website to identify errors, check links, text sizing, meta language, image sizes, styling and consistency over all pages.
When the site has been thoroughly tested and corrected it's time to launch.
Your work does not finish upon launch! Monitor your website stats and analytics to determine how visitors are moving through your website, how long they are staying and monitor your bounce rates. If you are unsatisfied with any of these actions it's a good idea to start tweaking.
The above is a general overview of the elements of a new website project plan. If you'd like to talk about approaching a new website redesign and learn how the advice of a developer can help produce a better website when they are involved from step one, connect with us here.