Website projects can be BIG and the process can last what seems like a lifetime, but often that level of effort is needed to make sure the site is built correctly from the beginning. At Covenant, we are planners. We make lists. We think about what can go wrong and what we can do to correct. We also think about where we want to go and the best approach to get there. We rely on our process, but with each client, there is a unique plan and often a completely unique Drupal build.
Regardless of what size or what type of website you are working on, you need a plan. Here are some basic steps on how to create your plan…
- When it comes to digital projects, we start early. We take the time to get to know you as a client. What are your goals in general? What is the goal for the website? How will you measure success? We need to know what is on your list to accomplish and what's important to you, because we want to help you achieve that success. The questions I mention above are the first steps. Outlining what needs to get done and what has to be done allows us to focus our efforts with intention and forethought.
- Make lists: Lists not list. The initial part of a project is when you really need to spend time thinking about your needs, your goals, and the challenges you face. Make a list of what your dream website entails. Make a list of all the items you or your customers need on your new website and even make a list of what you fear could go wrong on a new website. All of this information will help you and your web team plan a great website.
- Review Analytics. When talking about websites we are often talking about traffic statistics, but at the start of a project like this you need to be reviewing all of the analytics you have available. It could be historical sales data, it could be demographic data on your customers, or it could be the data from digital engagements. The point is, use the data you have available to help drive your decisions.
- Content is King. Most people have heard this phrase at one point or another and it still rings true. The content on your site will have a major role in determining the success of your website. Take the time to review your content, identify what customers find most important, and prioritize that content in your plan for a new website.
- Establish metrics. How will you measure your success on the new website? Traffic? Maybe increase in social followers? Maybe sales numbers? You have to be able to measure your efforts to determine if they are successful, but few sites are exactly the same or are going after the exact same demographics and what one website uses to measure, might not work for yours. Review your goals, work with your team, figure out what the best measurement for your success is and narrow in on that key performance indicator.
The programming side of any website involves a lot of planning, but once you get to this point in the process, if you followed the steps above, you know the plan already and are simply executing the things that need to be done.
Having studied your analytics, worked to learn about your customers, analyzed your content; the plan for launching the site usually comes a bit easier. Regardless of the digital tools needed, having a plan for your website before you start building will put you in the best position to succeed.
At Covenant, we are planners. Every website needs a plan and we are here to help.