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What To Consider When Planning A Website Development Project

Posted by Linda Greenwald


There are many factors to consider when planning a website development project.

Determine The Purpose Of The Website

A good starting point is to determine what your company wants to achieve with the website. Questions that need to be addressed include:

  • Will the website be used for company branding and lead generation only?
  • Or, will the website be used to conduct e-commerce?
  • Will the website be your main company website or a business niche website?
  • Will the website be used for selling - products, services, subscriptions, memberships, event registrations or accept donations etc.?
  • Will the website can be used in whole or in part to blog - to provide information, educate and establish your company as a subject matter authority?
  • Will your website be an extension of your physical business location(s) or is it your primary business location?
  • Will the content be static or served dynamically?

Determine What You Want Website Visitors To Be Able To Do On Your Website

Will your website have interactive features such as a contact form, e-newsletter sign-up, video, blog, e-book, download, photos, member/customer secure zone, make purchases…?

Will your website feed content snippets from social media sites that your company is active on such as Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter?

Determine What You Want To Be Able To Do On the Administrative Side of the Website

  • Do you want leads to automatically go into an integrated customer relationship management module (CRM)? Or, is it okay if leads are emailed to you to add to your company’s CRM?
  • Do you want to be able to update content, add web pages and blog posts via an integrated content management system (CMS)?
  • Do you want it to be easy to optimize web pages for the search engines?
  • Do you want the CMS to automatically update the sitemap?
  • Do you want to be able to self manage the website to update features of your website such as a photo gallery, downloadable literature, e-book, company news, event and class dates?
  • Do you want the website platform to provide analytics?

Determine If The Website Will Be Designed And Developed In-House Or By An Outside Firm

The design of a website and the development of a website require different skill sets. Not all graphic designers are skilled at programming a website. And, not all website developers are skilled in graphic design.

If your company has technical in-house capabilities you need to determine if this includes both graphic design and website development. You will need to confirm that the in-house capability will be able to produce all the website features and functionality desired.

Before you hire a website design and development firm to develop your website make sure the company is a good fit for your project. You should learn with which website platforms and programming languages they have the most experience. Some firms handle simple website development projects and other firms can handle complex projects.

Website Platform Options

Website development firms often have platform and programming language preferences. Common are blogging type platforms. Content management blog platforms such as WordPress are extendable with plugins. Adobe Business Catalyst is one platform that we specialize in. Business Catalyst is a feature-rich hosted solution that includes Content and Customer Management, blogging, email marketing and e-commerce.

Website design and development costs, turnaround time and cost of ownership vary greatly and are impacted by the complexity of the project. Project complexity is determined by the desired features and functionality.

Search for a firm well suited for the specifics of your website development project.

Website Content

Website content is an extremely important component of a website development project. Website content should be written for the intended audience and optimized for the search engines. Consider hiring a content writing firm that specializes in writing search engine optimized content.

Development Time Required For A New Website

It can take three to four months or more to complete a website development project.

Website Design: The general website design should be determined before writing content for the web pages. The content writer will benefit from seeing a mock-up (wireframe) of the home page and inner pages.

Content Creation: It can easily take four to six weeks for a website content writing company to produce the finalized search engine optimized content for a new website. The writer has to learn about your company and the project before writing the first draft. Typically, two to three drafts are required.

Website Development: The complexity of a website development project greatly influences turnaround time. It can take one month to several months to code and test the website. Typically, the website developer will want to receive all of the project deliverables prior to starting the coding process.

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