The Importance of Maintaining Momentum During your Web Project
Undertaking a web project like a redesign or redevelopment is seen as a necessary evil to keep your business competitive. While it does take a good amount of concentration and coordination, Your company’s website is the central hub of all your online marketing efforts, an important channel for lead generation, and a repository for your marketing collateral. oSo to keep your brand relative, top of mind, and in alignment with your company, category, customers, and competition, your website’s content needs to be maintained and updated regularly.
Setting the Stage for Your Web Project
Every website design or redesign project requires a pre-development, development, and post-development calendar of events detailing the active members at each stage as well as their deadline orientations to keep the project moving. To keep everyone on task and in sync, it’s important for team members to know what is expected from them and when. The process of assembling a road map or project plan forces you to view the initiative from a macro and micro perspective. When projecting both aspects as one continuum, you could more evaluate if things make sense from the bottom up (macro-level) and the top-down (micro-level). If analyzed as two different initiatives, it is easier for things to get lost in translation and critical factors to be overlooked. Especially if completed independent of each other. More importantly, this lack of cohesion indicates an absence of a “Maestro” that sees the big picture, how things are supposed to fit together, and make judgement calls along the process. While the “Maestro” isn’t necessarily a subject matter expert, s/he is empathetic by nature and a systems type thinker.
Gather your Design and Navigation Direction
The web design process requires a deep dive both internally and externally to fully understand the needs of your customers. Using resources like your sales and customer service staff to map your buyer’s interactions with your company and outreach like incentivized polls or surveys, you get a clear picture of what your customers want and need from your brand and how you should present it to them.
Using the information you gather from your research, you can create a mockup of how your website will look. This mockup will take into consideration how your customers will get the information they need to understand who you are, what you do, and what makes you different from your competition.
Following this research stage is design mockups, navigation assessment, site development, content creation and implementation, testing, internal reviews, edits and adjustments, then finally, site launch. While listed sequentially, the process is not always linear, and many of the steps are continually repeated.
Feels like it’s going to be a long road already, doesn’t it? Well, it should feel that way and it’s worth every second when it’s done properly. Marketing strategy begins with understanding your brand, your differentiators, and how you can help your customers. Your web project needs each individual component to fit together naturally and flow as one unified and pleasant experience.
However, no matter how organized, focused, or engaged your team is with the web project, there is one thing that could derail even the most strategically developed plan: loss of momentum.
Stick-to-itiveness and Your Web Project
Have you ever gone to the store with a list of items that you intend to buy and gotten sidetracked looking at some well-placed items that aren’t on your list, and forgotten to get what you went to the store for in the first place? Or, have you begun writing an article or a speech and walked away when things started to flow, only to lose your perspective? You spend time driving back to the store, wasting time and money, or flounder looking for the “perfect phrase” that, once lost, can be very elusive to regain. Chances are your speech or article will turn out just fine, but it’s diminished in scope due to the loss of momentum.
We have noted that a web redevelopment or redesign is a multi-step, and often lengthy, process to be done right. Well, apply the same concept of losing momentum as the shopping trip or the writing activities. When you pause, or worse yet, stop the forward motion of the web project, lose track of your timelines, your strategy, and of the plethora of direction that was developed during your research stages. Small misses in content, the layout of specific pages, and navigation options are forgotten in the downtime.
When things pick back up, your project manager is tasked with remembering where things stopped, all outstanding items and their status need to be reassessed, team members have to spend more time re-reviewing items they already vetted, and due to simple human nature, errors happen. You’re left proverbially having to spend time and money driving back to the store to get what you forgot (additional project costs due to dropped website items) or floundering to regain your creative perspective that will drive the best response from your customers.
To put it simply, when you delay the web project process, for days, weeks, or even months, when things get tabled and pushed aside, you are left with a website that is less than the original vision, either in its cost-effectiveness, its strategy or its cohesiveness.
The key to avoiding a dilution of your online marketing strategy and website is to stay the course, build a calendar and stick to it. Keep the team on track and thinking strategically about your website, your customers, and your online marketing goals. You’ll get a better performing website in the end, you’ll keep your costs in check and your visitors have ensured the best web experience you can offer, which means more conversions, and sales, for your brand.