November 14, 2010

Justification for a Website Project - PART 2

productivity key green
This is PART 2 of this article, Part 1 is here, Part 3 is here.  

Where to start

Do not start with a fixed idea about the cost or number of pages of the website. The website must meet a series of objectives, they vary from sector to sector, but most of them should apply to your project. These include promoting your organization on a larger scale, simplification and reduction of the process of distributing information to stakeholders, reducing administrative costs and creating an enlightened leadership within the industry that your organization serves.

Before you begin defining what the website will contain, talk to the people involved. This includes staff, managers, directors, customers, suppliers and even competitors. This stage of research and exploration is vital, since the participation of all persons involved in the project, will help you understand better what is required for the website. Granted, many people with whom you speak may not have a clear vision of needs and may not have clearly defined what can and can not be achieved with a website, but either way their opinion is important. A simple mechanism could be a questionnaire to solicit their views and opinions about the type of information they may require in carrying out their activities and how they might use the Internet to fulfill their duties. This should provide you with a good idea about the functionality of the website and main content sections.

Try to remove requests that are impossible to meet and filter this information to obtain a number of themes. Additionally, remember that many people forget to mention relatively obvious points, such as contact details or legal notice and copyright.

What to do with the central themes

Try to group them into sections if possible. Websites must be designed in such a way that can be used easily and being human is easier to manage packets of information presented through explicit titles (such as company information, product catalog, website information, news, staff, etc.).. Try to think as graphically as possible, the color, images and logos can do much to make your website more attractive and encourage it’s use.

If you have generated a list like this, then you already have what it takes to make the website development plan. There are several special web pages you can add to your list, some are optional, others are more or less compulsory. An example of this is the home page, a page where each new visitor has first contact with your website. This page involves careful planning to convince visitors that it's worth navigating the website, planning that will require the assistance of a specialist in website design. An example of an optional page would be a search facility within the site. If the website plan is large (100 or more pages), complex (2 or more levels of hierarchy) or very flat (no hierarchy levels), then providing the user with a tool to search through the website is particularly important.

“This will cost a fortune!”

Maybe, maybe not. However, those who can help fund the project, are those who receive a benefit from the website. It may be another department, another company within the group, members, suppliers, advertising agencies and yes, indeed, even competition. Depending on the sector and your type of organization, any such entity (and some others) may fund part of the total costs of your website development. Everyone is interested in the Internet and a well-researched business plan that offers an attractive return on investment (ROI) will be interesting to many.

If you follow this methodology you’ll be from the very start one step ahead of your competition. Finally, make sure your website is developed to stay on this path and to maintain leadership. The reality is that your business could lose a fortune if you do not develop a website in the near term. Can your company afford to fall behind? To answer this question, we recommend you find out if your competition already has a website and what were their results.

Read Part 3 here 

About the Blog Author: Timpa has the mission of providing all entrepreneurs, whether experiencied or not in online business strategies, with the right information to help them manage their businesses online in the best, most time-effective and cost-effective, smarter way.