From a client’s perspective, what do you think is the mostly commonly overlooked part of a typical website development project?
Clients almost always know they want their websites to look good and function the way they are supposed to. After all, impression and user experience matter, and that is intuitively easy to understand.
However, what often gets lost in the shuffle is the project management and content creation that anchors every website development. Instinctively, we know what looks good and what provides a good online experience. But it’s the content that ties it all together. And it’s the content, or lack of content, that often holds up developments also.
Everything from website content to design and functionality play an important role in any website development, a complex process that takes a lot of hard work and quality planning to get right.
For now, let’s look at some less development technical but important components of a web development project.
Create a detailed plan before you start
Website planning is the first step you need to take to ensure the success of your project. You need to look at the goals you want to achieve, and break down the project into small, measurable milestones.
If at any point, you are jumping to the end product without knowing and understanding the processes to get there — or are unable to explain them to your project manager (whether that’s you or not) or developer — you’re ahead of yourself.
Just remember, proper planning comes before the end payoff.
Once you have a detailed plan, it’s time to put it into action. That’s where great website project management is important.
Your project management process is going to be the glue that brings everything together on your website. Your project manager may be responsible for any of the follow:
- Setting clear and understandably goals and processes
- Clearly defining roles of any involved parties
- Setting deadlines for a dynamic process.
- Content matching to design
- Facilitation of the design-meets-development process
- Proofing, revision process
- Overall project supervisory responsibilities
If no one is managing all the above on your project, then no one is managing it.
Your site’s basic structure
There are two vital things you need to keep in mind when providing input for developing your website: the sitemap and the wireframe.
A sitemap refers to the list of pages accessible to web indexing crawlers like Google — the hierarchy of all the pages of your site to tell search engines about the organization of your website content. An example of a sitemap would be: Home, Services, About Us, Contact Us (four pages).
A wireframe, on the other hand, defines the structure of an individual page and includes elements such as the header, sidebar, footer, and so on. These are typically static one page to the next (your header might include a logo, and menu).
Taking the time to figure out your website’s basic sitemap and wireframe will ultimately improve ease of use and navigation for the front-end user.
Your website’s content needs to grab the attention of your audience and convince them that you have the answer to their needs. So, make sure to create compelling, organized, optimized copy with a clear call to action.
Design and UX
It may all sounds pretty simple: develop a website that complements your business, highlights your products, looks amazing, and has a great copy. In reality, however, it can be very difficult to juggle and properly implement all these elements. Don’t forget that every page and feature of your web project needs to fall in line with a cohesive user experience throughout the visit.
Put yourself in your front-end user’s shoes and ask yourself:
- Does the page work within the overall experience you want your user to have?
- Is the navigation simple and intuitive?
- Do you need to think too much to know where your are in the broader context of the website?
- Is the page experience punctuated with a call to action?
Answer objectively to these questions and tweak accordingly.
Developing a website project requires more than just creating a design, writing some code and crafting a few sentences. A successful project requires careful planning, preparation and management in a process that is dynamic in nature.
Take the time to get the content right, and you’ll be on you way to a successful development. If you need some guidance on how to make this happen, give us a call and we’ll get you on track.