Top 5 considerations when planning a website

You need a website but have so many questions: where to start, who to call, how much to spend?

Review this article before you start your web project in preparation.

Step 1: Why

A clear understanding of why you need a website, and more importantly, what you want it to accomplish, is critical. What is the objective of the site? Knowing this allows you to engage vendors with that expectation in mind.

Understanding the objective(s) of your website includes reviewing your business processes, structure, goals and vision. You will need to be realistic about how much of a role the website is going to play in business automation relevant to the budget allotted to the website build.

Other factors to consider: who is your target audience, what is your desired design aesthetic, what unique features& functionality need to be incorporated, and so on.

Preparing this makes vendor meetings more meaningful.

Result: Objective(s)

Step 2: What

What you need the website to do? Websites are not static pages; they power business, collect leads, generate revenue, automate business online. Does your website need to: recruit employees, sell goods/services, promote products, sell memberships, connect users?

Items to consider: language, accessibility compliance, features and functionality, process automation, integration with other applications, consolidation of services, integration with other departmental requirements (HR, Sales), news, events, image galleries, document sharing and password access portals are a few considerations.

Functionality can be deployed in a phased approach but future enhancements, if known, should be identified early. This process informs the technology recommendation.

Result: Functionality and Technology Platform

Step 3: Who

Before you get started identify who in your organization:

  • will be the lead on the project: and take ultimate responsibility for its completion to noted objectives. Someone with the time, authority and knowledge to manage this project is required
  • will update the website once launched: what is there technical comfort level, are there required workflows required to add content to the site, how often should the site be updated

Result: Governance

Step 4: When

Setting realistic deadlines for website completion is essential. Be mindful of the following project phases when planning your website deadline:

  1. Requirements gathering
  2. Information architecture
  3. UI/UX wire framing
  4. Design
  5. Build
  6. Quality assurance
  7. Client review / testing
  8. Feedback
  9. Go live

If each phase takes 2-4 weeks it will take 4-8 months for project completion.

Result: Timing

Step 5: Budget

If you’re going to ask a vendor to work 4-8 months on your project, you have to expect them to charge you for it. Unless you choose to engage a freelancer, who works alone, you will require a team to complete your website.

This team includes:

  • Strategist & UI/UX: planning and wire framing
  • Designer: graphic aesthetic
  • Developer(s): build
  • Quality Assurance: testing
  • Project Manager: coordination throughout

If you have a budget expectation in mind share it. That way the vendor can determine if your requirements match your budget.

Result: Cost

Completing the steps above with your team internally sets expectations within the organization regarding timing, costs, functionality and outcome. This is then shared with the vendor, or developed in coordination with a vendor, to ensure the requirements are met.

Jennifer MacKinnon
CEO | Fenix Solutions