Close to 80 percent of websites don’t launch on time because the content needed from the client isn’t delivered on time.
You’ve probably had this experience. You’re all excited for a new website, you set a launch date, and then you are asked for content, images, videos, and audio files that don’t yet exist.
Suddenly your launch date gets closer and closer and you don’t have anything ready.
Following is a cheat sheet of things you can expect when it’s time to build a new website.
The Website Process
There are many things Wood Street—and other web design firms—focus on:
- A very in-depth Q&A
- A project management summary
- Visual standards
Then there are things you should do together:
- Strategy and branding
- Review of the mission, vision, and values
- Research of audience needs, marketing size, and a competitive analysis
- Keyword research
As the site is being developed, though, content has to be created, revised, or repurposed.
This is where things tend to get sticky.
Most organizations have some of the content already developed, some can transfer from the existing site, and some of it has to be created.
Content Development Process
Here is the content development process we use for our clients at Arment Dietrich.
This should help you think through what you need to do before you hire a web firm.
- Content assessment. Dig into the analytics and determine which pages on the current site have the most unique pageviews. This helps determine which pages should transfer and which can die with the existing site. It drives the content strategy.
- Content marketing strategy. Using the information discovered during the messaging and keyword research phases, and in the above content assessment, a content marketing strategy must be completed. What is your editorial mission? What do you want to accomplish? What stories will you tell? How will you tell them?
- Write. Now it’s time to write. You put the editorial mission on paper. You tell the company’s story, from the perspective of the customer. You build the evidence. You create content for the keywords you’ve researched and prioritized. You create content that doesn’t yet exist. You format and build links. And you optimize the pages with title tags, ALT text, meta descriptions, and rich snippets.
- Edit. You cannot edit your own work when a website is coming together. There must be a process for at least two, if not three, other people to review what you’ve created. Have someone read the content out loud. Lots of mistakes will be found that way. Have an AP style expert take the next round. Then have a final review by a decision maker.
- Enter content. The web design firm can be hired now! It’s time to enter all of the content. Most web firms will provide you access to the development site so you can enter—and optimize—what you’ve created. Others will do it for you. No matter the process, this is when you’ll discover what text, images, and videos you’re still missing and how what you have looks in the new design.
- Rinse and dry. You may have to start with step three again, depending on if you’re missing anything once content gets uploaded. Then it’ll be time to pass it back over to the web firm to test and launch.
If you think about the project from this perspective, have all of your ducks in a row, and then hire the web design firm, you’ll be in that 20 percent that launch on time!
A very highly modified version of this first appeared on Spin Sucks.