It is often I am tasked with overseeing the construction of a new website or web application and wanted to share with you some insights. Most clients have a vision and expectations but lack the skills or time to undertake a new website development project. Rather than putting the project off any longer, my recommendation is to assign a project manager that has some experience building websites. My job as the project manager is to take that vision of yours and turn it into a functional tool utilizing the best talent, time and resources available. After developing a few hundred websites, I have established a system that works very well.
Most website designers are focused on website structure, pleasing design and functionality. Content needs always takes a back seat and they are totally reliant on “the client” to provide the content.
Google and other search engines on the other hand index page content and are not overly concerned with stylesheets & pleasing graphics. Since Google and Bing are the primary tools people use to find solutions online, then content development and SEO features should be where your project begins.
The vast majority of website designers I speak with tell me that almost every project stalls because they are waiting on the client for content and pictures.
Why are we always putting the cart before the horse?
Building a Quality Website Starts With Keywords
Keyword discovery is ALWAYS where I begin. After a few days of taking a deep dive into all the keyword variations I can think of, I begin to generate the website’s architecture, complete with SEO friendly URL’s based upon traffic data and targeting.
When your page title and it’s corresponding URL address (the page slug) work in harmony to help search engine indexing, you are rewarded with quality web traffic that your competitors crave. From there we can continue to build out other key SEO elements of your web pages and have a better understanding of your content development needs.
Now it’s time to task the content writer. Always best to have an exuberant employee of the company along with the owner tackle the content development task together. I do write content for 50% of the websites I am involved with because the client just does not have those internal resources to spare for the project. Writing from the buyer’s/reader’s perspective can be a challenge for business owners but very important for converting visitors into buyers.
Choosing A Website Designer Happens After Content is Developed
At this point, we now have enough information for us to develop an RFP for Website designers. Based upon the needs of the website, I will request specific development platforms, plugins, modules and hosting environments be used for this project. This eliminates many variations in pricing. The result of this formal process will be an Apples to Apples comparison in price.
I recommend identifying 3-5 top quality website designers to submit a proposal and challenge them to consider quote addendum’s that they believe would improve functionality and the overall customer experience. We should also require the final contenders present design solutions and examples of previous work that is relevant in a face to face meeting if possible.
Project Manager for Website Design
Once your team has made the decision on a website designer, we will have a pre-production meeting. As your project manager, I often facilitate this meeting since we have already discussed your vision, scope of work and expectations. The designer and I collaborate a few times per week freeing you up to manage your business without tasked with an ongoing dialog with the designer directly. Often typical 8 page websites are complete and ready to launch within six weeks rather than several months. Every web designer we have worked with where content was addressed first has exclaimed,
“This has been one of the smoothest projects we have ever done.”
Here is an example of some of our latest projects:
Need a Project Manager for Your Website?
Do you have a new website you want to build but just don’t have the time to get it started?
We can help! Let’s start with a phone call (215) 240-1215 or email Tom at firstname.lastname@example.org