Most businesses face the challenge of tackling a new website every couple of years to meet the constantly evolving changes in digital trends and requirements. The idea of creating a new website featuring the latest trends and all the bells and whistles you can dream up sounds fantastic. But, in reality, the undertaking of a new website build and all that goes into it can be a real beating. As an account manager, I’ve witnessed first hand the challenges that most clients face no matter how big or small the initiative is. My hope is that the following checklist will help you be as successful as possible with your next website initiative.
I’ve worked in agencies where strategy is either an afterthought or non-existent. I’ve also worked in agencies where strategy is at the forefront of everyone’s mind. In my experience, having a solid digital strategy in place, with approval from all stakeholders, is the best first step to building a new website. It lays the foundation for a solid website with strategic messaging and calls to action that take the user where they want to go, rather than having to hunt for what they’re looking for. Strategy allows both the agency and the client to align on digital initiatives and builds a road-map for digital success.
2. Post-launch Help
Websites are like a car. If you don’t take care of them, they will eventually break down. A website requires maintenance and upkeep in order for it to perform its best. Google pays attention to what your pages are saying and ranks your website accordingly in search results. Strongly consider investing in the help and support your website will need to continue being successful and bringing you business.
3. Content is King
I’m sure you’ve heard this statement before and it continues to remain true. As algorithms change and attention spans shorten it’s becoming even more important to feature strategic, scanable content that is information rich. The majority of people don’t have time to sit and read paragraphs of text to find what they’re looking for – they’re on the go using their smartphone or tablet. Save yourself a headache and invest in a copywriter.
4. Want vs. Need
Don’t set yourself up for disappointment if you aren’t able to feature every single ‘want’ in the first phase of your new website. A good agency should take into consideration all of your ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ and help you prioritize and scale the items that are feasible to complete in the first phase. By doing this, your website can be built in such a way that allows it to grow when the time is right. Budgets and timelines are typically the determining factor when it comes down to a ‘want’ vs. a ‘need’ so it’s important to have realistic expectations when going into a new website build.
5. It Will Never Be ‘Final’
Repeat after me, it will never be final. I like to think of this as the beauty of a website. There’s always reason for things to change, be updated, edited, added or removed. And guess what, Google loves this! A good approach is to determine what must be practically perfect before your website is launched and make a plan for the remaining items to be tackled post launch.
A new website build is an exciting initiative to be a part of. Finding an agency that understands your needs and takes the time to educate you throughout the process is imperative. Hopefully the Five-for-Friday checklist above will help you when it comes time to spruce up your company website. And of course, if you have any questions on your upcoming initiatives, you know who to call.