Keys to Successful Web Site Development Projects
Miller Systems has built over 300 web sites for hundreds of customers since 1995. There’s no magic wand that will create the perfect website, but a thoughtful process and an engaged team can make all the difference.
- Define the business goals and metrics for the site/project as early as possible. It’s hard to get where you’re going without a clear destination in mind.
- Make sure the right stakeholders are available and involved in making decisions or creating specifications that will have a long lasting impact on the site’s experience and success (Information Architecture, Site Maps, Wire Frames, etc.)
- Design look and feel after the information architecture process. The best design always gets created when the only thing the team is focused on is the aesthetics, and stakeholders have already reached complete consensus on goals and functionality. Furthermore, trying to reverse engineer a site map from a 2D design can be extremely inefficient and frustrating.
- Recognize and accept that marketing, IT, and other departmental stakeholders have different points of view and objectives – but that everyone is ultimately on the same team.
- Don’t choose tools (like a CMS) too early. You’ll get better ROI if you wait until you know some real specifics about what you’re building and can determine what tools fit your requirements best.
- Testing matters a LOT. Create tests that use real-world, end-user scenarios. It might sound obvious, but it’s a whole lot better to find and fix bugs before a launch. Timing is important; you’ll get a much higher quality result by creating tests during the design/spec/prototyping process as opposed to after the build.
- Pay attention – and take action - after the launch. Long-term ROI comes from constant change and adjustment over time based on both pre-defined and evolving goals.
- Finally, be patient. Finalizing IA, design, and functional spec decisions always require iterative cycles. Allow enough time to get your design and implementation done RIGHT at each stage.
Does Any of This Sound Familiar? Get in Touch
- We repeatedly hear about how our customers/prospects/partners can’t find what they’re looking for on our site.
- We’re tired of the design of our site(s); we need to bring the aesthetics up to speed with the rest of our brand.
- We’d like to personalize (and/or secure) our site’s experience for individual visitors.
- We don’t really know how effective our site is, or how to measure that. We get plenty of traffic, but conversion seems disproportionately low, and we don’t know why.
- Our site is hard to manage and update; it seems like we always need technical help to do anything.
- It’s a real challenge to manage all of the channels. We’ve got lots of different sites, microsites, Social Networking campaigns, email marketing, SEO, SEM/Pay per click, and more. We need a strategy to keep it all organized and under control.
Our CEO says we need blogs, wikis, Facebook Integration, and other “Web 2.0 stuff”. We don’t know where to start.