In my current job I have spent the last 15+ months building a new website for WWF-Australia.
People never know where to start when building a small or large scale website, so here is the process I followed and will recommend.
- Analysis of the web logs or Website analytics
a. Look at the trends over the last 3 years, work out the year on year growth (or decline), and understand the top content pages as well as the entry and exit pages. The bounce rate will give you a strong understanding of how relevant your site is.
b. Understand where your traffic comes from so you know where to focus your efforts
c. Make sure tracking is in place
- Talk to the key areas of your business (stakeholders)
Find out what they think. Document their processes and see where your systems stand up and where they fall down. Does the infrastructure support your website’s objectives or are there gaps that need to be filled. Review your current business systems and processes in alignment with the vision you’ve got for your website.
- Competitive analysis
a. What are your key competitors doing? If you have access to Nielsen online, Hitwise or other market intelligence tools, make sure you’re looking at your competitor’s trends and growth.
b. Monitor how they rank in search, sign up to their emails, review their website architecture. You don’t have to be the best website in the world, you just have to be better than your competitors.
- Outline a digital strategy for where you want to go – then compile 3 scenarios for how you can build your website to meet this strategy – and put forward your recommendation and why in a business case using all of the above evidence you have gathered
a. Scenarios need to include infrastructure and systems in the backend as well as the font end functionality. What do you need to realize your vision for your website?
i. Payment gateways for ecommerce
ii. CRM/ Databases
iii. Email campaign tools
iv. Social media/ blogs?
b. As well as content, traffic generation and promotion (syndication of content and functionality)
- Outline the costs over a 5 year period so you can see where your investment starts to turn into efficiency and cost savings
- Outline your timeline and resources needed to achieve the above digital and website strategy
- Get someone else to read your business case and critically analyse it
A colleague, a consultant, a mentor. Make sure you can have already anticipated most of the questions you’re going to be asked and have answers ready. Make sure your business case explains the other scenarios considered and discarded.
- Present to your key stakeholders for sign off
- NOW YOU HAVE TO IMPLEMENT IT!
I hope that helps.