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6 Steps to Planning Your New Website

Need to get ready for your new website? Don’t know where to start? Follow this six step guide to help you prepare for your new website and ensure that your project is both successful and enjoyable.

1) Think about the look you want

The best and most productive website scoping meetings, I have been involved with, have been with clients that have put some time and thought into want they actually want and some idea of the look and feel they like. It doesn’t have to be very detailed but a general guide to the clients thinking can really speed the process up for your website development company. A good place to start is your audience. Who are you building this website for? What is likely to appeal to them? A B2B website for the construction trade is likely to have a very different creative concept to a B2C website targeting the teenage fashion market. An easy way to tackle this is to bookmark some websites that you like, to show the web designer.

2) Have a good clean out

It’s like moving house; you need to sort out what is current, valuable, and what will work in the new house, you don’t want to take all your old clutter with you. By sorting through your current website content you can quickly work out what you need to bring and what can be left behind. If yours is an e-Commerce website: are all the products current, is the associated imagery and documentation up to date or obsolete. Most website companies will provide a ‘Collateral Plan’ for the new website which is a list of all the required content for the new site. By doing a sort out you can get a head start on this process.

3) Organise your artwork

Great images make great websites, it really is as simple as that. One of the first things your website developer will ask you is what imagery is available for them to use. Gather the available artwork in a folder and get it ready. If you need to organise new headshots or team images then this all takes time and needs to be organised at the beginning of the website project or in advance if possible. The use of video is very popular now and has been identified as one of the key design trends of 2016. Do you have any video footage available for use? Maybe check with other departments or suppliers to see if they have some you could use.

4) Update your brand guidelines

A brand guideline document saves a bucket load of time and confusion all round. If you don’t have a document but do have some rules around colours, fonts, logo location and size, etc. then these need to be communicated at the very start of the project. If there is no requirement to work within a particular colour palette or with a specific company logo then the website company can have free reign. This is almost never the case. So many times I have seen great creative concepts hit the deck because certain corporate design guidelines or restrictions were provided late in the project.

5) Think about the future.

A new website is an IT project as well as a marketing one. This new website will become a component of the existing IT infrastructure of the company. It is important to consider future plans for the company and other planned projects that may affect this one. Is the data to be collected on the website required in any other system? If the company is planning to implement a new CRM or ERP system then it may be necessary to integrate that data to the new system or the existing one. It is always worth looking at the organisation holistically and from an overall perspective to see how any new project will impact other systems and the organisation as a whole. Future requirements are important from a design perspective as well. For example, is the company likely to expand the existing number of product categories from two to ten? This type of information and future proofing can be incorporated into website design if it is brought to the designers attention early enough.

6) Plan your project resources

Your website development company will be responsible for the majority of the website project, however, the amount of client side input and resource required for a new website project needs to be considered. Your website company should discuss this with you and work with you to create a project plan with realistic deadlines that cater to the available resources and needs of the specific project. Many times I have worked with clients that are very surprised about the amount of their time is required and often the job of owning a new website project is given to a person that already has a full workload. They end up trying to compete the new tasks and keep up with their existing work. This can make things very challenging. If there is limited resource available on the client side then this needs to be taken into consideration when planning the website project. Some website companies such as OneClick have internal resources to cover content conversion, data upload, copywriting etc. and can take this work on if required.

There is a lot to consider when putting together a new website project but with a little planning and consideration you can make the process both a productive and enjoyable experience.

Sharron Martin

Author: Sharron Martin
Published: 19/09/2016