How to Get Your Website Built Right the First Time
In this lesson, I’m going to run through how to make one of the most painful eCommerce projects a lot more efficient—getting your website (or significant website improvement project) delivered right the first time.
I’ve been managing site builds since 2004, with budgets ranging from £1,000 to £150,000. However big your project, the key to a successful build lies in the planning.
Here’s the process:
These are the people around the business (or the different hats you wear) who have different needs from the website. This should include:
• the product team
• customer services
What’s the easiest way to get their input? A half-day meeting? An email questionnaire?
You may find conflict between what the stakeholders want. You will have to resolve these conflicts before putting the site out to tender.
2. The Brief
The brief is the document you are going to send out to the companies who are going to tender for the job of building your website.
Make the brief really detailed; if it’s less than five pages, it does not contain enough information. The more detail you put in, the more effective the tendering process will be, and the smoother the website build project.
Once you are happy with the brief, get key stakeholders to check it over. If you get them to agree at this point, it makes the rest of the process much more straightforward.
3. The Tender Process
Once everyone is happy with the brief, send to the website builders.
Pick three to five different builders.
From each builder, you will expect to get back:
Meet with each of them—each meeting will prompt fresh questions, so meet your favorite last.
Include in the meeting:
• a live run-through of their back-end system
• explore the front end (what the customer sees). How much can you change? What is totally set in stone?
You also need to speak to people whom they have already built sites for and road-test their websites.
4. Signing and Kicking Off
Once you are happy you have found the right website builder, you are going to need to sign some sort of contract with them.
Before you sign, take time to make sure all of you are 100% agreed on the final scope, pricing, payment plan, and timescales.
5. The Build
You need to manage the build project.
As soon as you are underway, convert the brief/to-do list into whatever format you need it to be in to make sure everything happens and happens right.
Then make sure both your team and the website builder deliver when they need to.
6. Going Live
Make sure you are 100% happy with it before you go live.
Test everything again and again and again. For most website builders, the point when the website goes live marks the end of the build phase—so usually any changes after that are chargeable.
Catch up tomorrow for our sixth lesson, where we’re going to look at the second core foundation: profit and growth.
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