The hardest conversation with clients is usually the first one. The first meeting where everybody sits down to discuss project goals, budgets, timelines, etc. This is the meeting where many clients come in with a Website Wish List.
There is nothing wrong with having a list. However, there are some issues that may arise is the list is not managed properly with a website plan. These issues include:
- Failure to meet project deadlines
- Failure to stay under budget
- Diminished return on investment
The biggest issue that comes up with a poorly managed website project plan is the failure to finish with in a specific timeline. Without a thorough website project plan new tasks and functionality can continue to push back a website launch. With a delayed launch, the budget tends to suffer. If time is a factor, extra hours or expensive overtime hours may be required to meet your deadline, or spending money to develop unnecessary functionality could hurt your bottom line. As your project gets more expensive, getting a return on your investment will become more difficult if possible.
Steps for Successful Website Planning
The best way to avoid the dangers of a website wish list is effective website planning. Creating an effective website plan requires just a few simple steps.
- Understand the site context
- Determine how to measure success
- Study the competition
- Understand your audience
First, determine your company objectives and determine how the website will help fulfill those objectives. This will give you the context of the site. Next, determine how you will determine whether the site is successfully achieving those objectives. For example, the site should produce $250,000 in sales per month, or customer support calls should be reduced by 40% within 3 months of website launch. Once you know how your site fits in with the rest of the company and how to determine success, it is time to study your competitors. How do they structure their site? What features do they have? What works on their site and what does not? The hardest step is last: understand you audience. Most people’s first instinct is to target everybody. However, knowing the demographics and needs of your target audience will help determine website marketing strategies, design decisions, website functionality.
Need help planning a website or improving your current website? Shoot me an email any time.