Yesterday I led an all-day kickoff meeting for a new website at my organization which we plan to launch in early 2015. As the Project Manager, my role was to set expectations for our internal team, most who have not been through a website development process (which can be a bit ‘challenging’ at times).
On the same day as our meeting, I also learned of a newly released workbook by Idealware, Do You Need a New Website, which I would recommend as required reading before you decide to embark on this journey. Also, consider these tips, which we discussed during our kickoff meeting:
- Make sure all stakeholders are represented. Although they didn’t attend our meeting, I reached out to our Executive Director and Communications staff to ask for their input during the process.
- Ask about the availability of your team in preparing and reviewing content. Many of my colleagues have an extensive travel schedule, which will affect the time they will spend on our project.
- Plan for mobile, which will require prioritizing which content can be presented on a small screen. (Our site will be responsive, which will look well on any device.)
- Decide how often you will be in touch with the website developers, and what tool you’ll use to communicate (we chose Basecamp as an alternative to searching through emails)
- Develop metrics for how you will measure the success of your new (or redesigned) website. Go beyond the generic goals of ‘site traffic’ or ‘increased awareness’ and decide on specific items such as numbers of members who request information or participate in community discussions.
- Drill down to the specific audiences you want to reach, and what information they are likely to seek on your site (for example, what keywords are most frequently used to search for your topic?)
- Have in person contact wherever possible; scheduling a phone conversation is better than relying only on email correspondence.
- Plan how you will use social media channels to supplement your website (tip – find out where the audience is before you select which networks to focus on)
For a preview of what will be featured (and expanded to include program profiles) on our new website, check out the tribal justice section of the Center for Court Innovation website.