It’s not an easy undertaking to plan, design, create and implement a website or mobile application. There are a vast number of components that need to work together cohesively, and clear communication is necessary every step of the way. Knowing what is needed to make a web project successful will help prevent things like missed deadlines, wasted time, and unexpected costs. Here are five ways you can ensure your web project is completed efficiently and to the level of quality your team expects.
Determine a clear and concise project scope.
We focus a lot of time and effort on strategy, planning, and wireframing, which are all key for a successful project. The more time you spend in the planning phase, the greater your chances of a smooth project. Part of planning your website includes determining everything that will be needed to make it function the way you need it to. Initial questions to determine the scope of your web project might include:
- What goals do you want your website to accomplish?
- What actions do you want visitors to take once they arrive?
- What functionality is needed to accomplish website goals?
- What features will your company use - such as a news page or blog?
The answers to questions like these will help guide the process and let you focus on creating a website that achieves specific business goals.
Include key stakeholders throughout the process.
The last thing you want is for your project to be near completion before a key stakeholder becomes involved in the process. This can lead to major setbacks. Individuals who need to be a part of the web design project should be involved from the beginning, and should be able to provide feedback throughout each step of the process.
Additionally, knowing which members of your organization to involve is key. While it’s great for your management team to be involved in the process, it’s also critical for the individuals who will be most involved with the site once it’s completed to be a part of the process. For example, if the marketing coordinator will be responsible for updating or monitoring activity on the website, he or she should definitely be involved in the process.
Don’t try to do everything at once.
You may have a vision of what you want your website to accomplish, but unsure of the process involved with making it a reality. Depending on what is needed for your website (information, ecommerce, custom features/functions, etc.) the project may need to be segmented into phases. We typically suggest that you start with an MVP (minimum viable product), which is highest return on investment versus risk.
This is a great starting point so that you can determine what exactly you need to make your project look and feel the way you want.
Design the site with your customers in mind.
When planning the design and development of your website, it’s tempting to focus on how it will look, what images you will use, and cool features you’d love to implement. While these are important to consider, it is more important to design the site with the end user in mind.
Why are customers coming to your site? What information are they looking for? How can you help them accomplish their goals quickly and with limited distractions? Good design is critical, but it alone will not ensure your website is successful. Customer needs trump all. If the goal is to drive visitors to particular products, make it very easy for them to find those products and to make a purchase, request a quote or get more information.
Maintain open communication at all times.
Good communication makes most things in life - including digital projects - simpler and more efficient. A client should always be able to see what work is being done and what stage of the process the project is in. By the same token, the digital marketing agency should be kept up to speed on the approval process, changes that need made, and what has to be done in order to keep the project moving forward.
Weekly reports, video conferences, phone calls, and even face-to-face meetings are essential to keeping open lines of communication. These interactions should follow an agenda and focus on the project status, including what activities are currently underway, what was recently accomplished, and what the next priority will be.