five random things you shouldn't forget when building a new website
- Before any initial site maps or designs are created you need to have completed your user research and planning. Some people call this the discovery period. Agencies tag it in different ways, depending on their process - but this shouldn't be skipped, even if budgets are tight.
The discovery phase acts as the strategic foundation you'll build your website on. User needs should be put at the centre of the build and carefully balanced with organisation goals. Many teams put together user personas and set goals for each of them. This helps prioritise pages and content. From this you can pull together a detailed technical specification of what the site needs to do - based on user needs. You'll also need to put together your success measures for the site to gauge your return on investment.
- Your site also needs to be mobile responsive. Even if it costs a little more money now, in the long run you'll reap the rewards, as you won't have to redesign again after a year. The trend for using mobiles and tablets is only going to grow, so make it work for all devices now. Some sites receive 25% mobile traffic, while others are over 70% (today).
- If your site links to third parties for payment, bookings, donations etc you need to make sure partner pages are also mobile responsive. Your site may offer a great mobile experience, but if your payment gateway doesn't, your conversion rate will seriously suffer.
- When the site is live, treat the big launch as the beginning of the project. This is now your organisation's canvass and needs populating and improving through constant improvement. It's probably worth using phrases like 'the launch is the beginning of the project' to colleagues internally as well. Then people will expect ongoing investment and manage expectations.
- Create a long-term vision for your site (limit to three years as technology is changing so quickly). What services and information will your users/visitors/customers/supporters/donors find most useful? Everyone has budget limitations, so create a priority list and plan them out over the next three years. Plans are then recorded and tracked in business plans and budgeted for.