Websites: Guide to Getting Started

November 15th, 2018By Lindsay McKinney

Websites. Everyone knows you need one. And with technology changing so rapidly, it can be overwhelming to even start thinking about taking on the task of a new website. So where do you start?

Whether you are updating an existing site or starting from scratch, it’s important to outline some things ahead of time. Having a solid plan going in will make the process much smoother if you’re working with a web agency (like us!) or using a pre-built template (like Squarespace).

Here are the questions we run through with our clients to help address and prioritize their web goals.

I. Strategy

  • Site Objectives: What does the company want to get from the site? In what specific ways does the site reflect the company’s business priorities and reinforce the overall marketing strategy?
  • Audience: How many different audience segments will use the site? How do their needs differ?
  • Success Metrics: What things will be tracked after the site has been deployed to see how it is meeting objectives and user needs?

II. Scope

  • Content Requirements: What content will users find most valuable? What resources are needed to assemble and produce content (text, images, audio, and video)? How frequently will each type of content be updated?
  • Functional Specifications: What “features” will the site offer users? What features of the current site would you like to keep? To expand? What features of your current site don’t you like?

III. Structure & Skeleton

  • Current Analysis: If this is a re-design, are analytics available for the current site to learn more about key pages and user experience?
  • Information Architecture: What are the highest priority pieces of content and how easily are these accessible to a viewer? Where will email contact forms, auto-responders, or registration forms be required?
  • Future Proofing: How will the structure accommodate content growth and adapt to change?

IV. Surface (the visual appearance, the tone and personality of the copy)

  • Tone and Feel: What tone would will the website have? Corporate, recruitment, friendly, reassuring, tech-savvy, etc.? Describe in as few words as possible the feelings you wish your site to evoke.
  • Branding: Are there any additional marketing materials that the site should match in terms of design? The site should have external consistency of the site in terms of brand position and corporate identity standards.

 

Going through this exercise will help you think through your site needs and will help you (and your web agency) understand the goals, scope and needs of your future site.

 

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