Our goal is to arrive quickly at a clear concept of what you want from your site. To do this, we will walk through some quick planning steps.
Identify General Goals.
Identify your business goals for the site: What do you want it to do? (Build your client base? Inform your employees? Raise your public image?) List them, in order of importance if possible. Maybe something like this:
- Increase our membership by 25% in the first year.
- Distribute news reports to our clients in a timely fashion.
- Build an image of professionalism.
Identify the Requirements.
Our role is to build a website content management system for you. To achieve your goals will require identifying the resources/requirements, such as:
- Types of content. We will work with you to create a list of the types of content you want to include on your site (a) right away and (b) potentially at some future date. (Text pages? Audio/video? Files for people to download, like PDFs or white papers? Images? Large images? )
- Types of features. Similarly, we will work with you to plan a list of the types of features you want. (News stories page? Blog? Discussion area? Monthly bulletin? Calendar of events? Photo galleries?)
- Staff. Commitment on the part of one or more members of your staff to re-purpose content for the web. Ideally, commit to posting something several times per week (but this depends on a number of business factors).
- Technical capabilities of staff. Consider the technical proficiency of the people who will be responsible for posting content. If they are fairly non-technically-inclined, that's fine. If you have some more technically-inclined people, great. We can design an environment that works for the staff resources you have.
- Budget. Adequate budget resource for developing the site. (Probably this will cost a lot less than you might think!)
- Time frame. You should have at least a general idea of when you would like to go live with a new site.
Consider the Desired Design Impact.
Your site will give site visitors an immediate impression of your organization. What image do you want to project? (Professional organization? Technical organization? Artistic? Playful?) Consider other companies that either (a) are similar to yours or (b) have websites that you find particularly appealing in terms of design, layout and visual impact. Look at their sites for ideas. You might arrive at something like this:
- We want project a sense that we are a professional organization.
- Site visitors should view us as a source of high-quality text content.
- Images should be secondary, complementing the text content.
- These sites convey the kind of impact message we want: (list a couple of sites)
Sit back for a little while, while we set up a beta site.
We will develop a beta site based on your requirements. We implement tools to support the types of content and features you want, and we set up a general structure for the site that makes sense, and will work in the context of the desired design impact. We might add some graphic design, to give you some sense of what it will ultimately look like, but most of the "skin" part comes later, once you are comfortable with the features and structure.
Test-drive it, Add content, and Launch.
You will be able to log in to the beta site as a content editor and try out the features: Try posting content, editing content, moving things around, etc. Then we enter the content you want for the live site, which is often a combination of the content from the old site plus new material, and when everything is ready, we switch your domain name to point at the new site, and the site goes live.
Ongoing tweaks and changes.
The main value of the new content management system tools is the enormous "tool box" of add-on modules. As you move forward, you will probably think of new or different tools and features you would like to try. Great! We can research the options, give you an idea of what's involved, and help implement changes as desired.