Important questions to ask when starting a website project
Web design and development is a long and sometimes complex process. A website creation project can span several weeks or even several months. When one is invested in one’s project, it is difficult to keep permanent objectivity considering the number of details to be taken into account.
More than 80% of companies embarking on a website creation project do not achieve the objectives set. In other words, they lead to failure. Many companies are becoming aware of certain mistakes and are once again embarking on a more thoughtful construction. Others, frustrated at having lost their investment, no longer have the desire, the energy or the means to start again.
In the lines that follow you will find the main axes to take into account to succeed at best a web project. It is important to understand that a website creation project involves several skills and stakeholders. For the most part, the needs are as follows:
We must add the role of the project manager who coordinates and orchestrates the project both on the agency side and the client side.
All these needs are at the same level of importance, they are indissociable and constitute a chain with a solid network. Beyond these trades and skills, some projects involve other stakeholders and technicalities.
Look for the skills of professionals
Your next door neighbor who is gifted in computer science or your charming cousin who is an excellent graphic designer or other people around you, although they show the will to help you, in truth do not have the skills to carry out a web project. They do not know now that they will waste their time and yours.
It is a business of professionals, it is quite a small army of experts each in his field of competence which can, together, set up a strategy to succeed a web project.
A last important point concerns the agency that accompanies you in setting up the project. Indeed, most agencies that offer to set up websites, do not have the necessary skills, or they subcontract a large part to see the whole of the service, often offshore in countries like France. India or Morocco, which guarantees the failure of the project. An article is entirely devoted to this point: “How to choose a web agency”
Devote time to your web project
It is very difficult to manage a daily activity next to a website development project or an application. Try as much as possible to have a project manager who will ensure the smooth running of the various stages and who will be the interlocutor of the agency, it is with him that the web agency coordinates and it is to you that He is accountable, he will advise you on the right decisions to make and will ensure the smooth running of the project.
If your organization can not access these resources, you should try as much as possible to start the creation of the website in a period where you can free up time for the needs and the follow-up of your project.
Define the purpose of the website?
The reason for starting a web project is to achieve a number of goals. As a rule, goals are set before starting.
Depending on the nature of the project, the objectives can be very varied. The strategies to achieve these objectives also vary according to many parameters such as the target, the allocated budget, the economic model, the planning, the technique used … A showcase site does not have the same objectives as a site. -commerce, a news site, an online travel site, an associative site, or an application site …
The objectives of the project are to be defined before starting the research of the web agency, it will facilitate the following management since it imposes obligations and constraints. These obligations and constraints represent the thread of the project throughout the period of reflection, the search for a web agency, design, and development.
Logically, the role of the web agency is to support you, advise you and offer you, according to your objectives, the best strategy to achieve them while respecting your budget.
Defining goals means meeting the needs of your target and expectations, offering what they are looking for in a quick and easy way, and finally helping them accomplish what you want from them.
Follow your project during its development
Make sure you have a direct link to the website during the development period. This will give you greater visibility in real time on the progress of work and greater responsiveness in the transmission of your impressions.
You will be more efficient and you can react very quickly after an error or a bad choice. This will also avoid multiplying your movements each time you need to see the progress of the work.
This real-time access to the site in development also allows you to anticipate any delay in the delivery of the website, to be more serene and to avoid stress and unnecessary tension.
Take the time to validate the features and trust your provider
During the phase of setting up a web project, you are in charge of the validation of a certain number of functionalities, the graphical axis, calls to action and many others …
Take the necessary time during these validation steps. Once each step is validated, it is important to move on to the next. It is sometimes difficult to go back on validated steps to modify them.
If you want help with your choices, only call on qualified people who will best represent your target.
Finally, listen, consider and trust the advice of the agency in charge of the project, they are indeed very well placed to guide you and have a very broad vision of the project and your objectives.
What do you want to say and how do you want to say it?
The editorial content of a website is a major element for its success. Make sure that the content of your website brings real value to the visitor, be it clear, original, simple and direct.
In general, it is the most neglected part by the customer but also by the web agencies. Writing content is more than writing a description or a listing of your products or services. Editorial design is a strategy in its own right that has the persuasive power to convert and transform your target into customers.
If the writing is not neat, even having a very good SEO strategy, you risk losing your customers when they have arrived at you, and they are on your website.
To conceive of good quality writing is to convince, it is the art of persuasion. Unless you have a gift or a real skill in the field, without dwelling on this writing, you may not retain your target and therefore not achieve your goal.
Give your users an intuitive and enjoyable experience
Web ergonomics is a simple way to offer your target a rich and pleasant experience that will encourage them to come back to visit the site and even to recommend it to those around them.
Ensuring that the user experience is satisfactory means ensuring the overall consistency of the site, the information architecture, the wording used, the guidance system, etc.
The user must be able by his own means to understand the operation of the website and find what he came to search very quickly. This ability of understanding is based or fed by his experience throughout his journey of the Internet (except specific application). You should not disrupt your visit with unjustified complex applications, at the risk of losing it. On the contrary, try to take advantage of his own experience to guide him to accomplish the tasks requested or the calls to action put in place especially for him.
Give your users a responsive website and optimal compatibility
Responsive Design or responsive design is the ability of a website to adapt to all screen resolutions. This part can quickly become complex, see the source of conflict between the agency and the customer if the right technical choice was not taken into account from the start.
Today the web is mobile, more and more connections are established from mobile platforms, tablets or smartphones and the trend is on the rise. Remember to make sure to ask this question to your web agency responsible for your project.
Also, browsers (Chrome / Firefox / Safari / Internet Explorer, to mention only the best known) always have the annoying tendency to interpret the code each in its own way. So do tests on these different browsers and ask your web consulting agency if however the development that you think is specific and may lead to incompatibilities with some of them.
Check and test the expected features
Just make sure that what has been agreed with your web agency is in place and works without any bug. You have to go around these features and test them one by one. This can be a blog, a backup component, integration or interaction with your internal CRM, a contact form, different links of the site … It is important to everything test.
Step by step, take the time to test every page and every element of your new website. This is the right time to report and fix bugs. Even if this work is up to the agency in charge of the project, it is important to do tests on your side especially on the main pages of the site such as conversion pages or call to action, forms, page contact, the page who are we …
Test the loading speed of your website
According to recent surveys, nearly half of Internet users expect a fast loading of pages viewed in the order of 2 seconds or less. Internet users tend to abandon a site whose pages take more than 5-6 seconds to load.
It is true, however, that the page loading speed can vary considerably depending on the nature of the project. This is the case, for example, for application web sites that require a lot more resources and require the application server as well as the database server before constructing the page and sending it to the user’s browser. Also, websites with large traffic (news sites, e-commerce site …) require very high bandwidth.
To meet these needs, it is sometimes useful to use different server technologies (hosting) and often provide hosting on a dedicated server with a specific configuration.
Check the call-to-action system or “CTA”
Before putting your website online, make sure that a simple, clear and easily accessible guidance system is in place, especially on the landing pages allowing or helping the user to perform the tasks that will be requested.
He should not have more than one call to action for the same task on the same page.
Natural Website referencing
This is also the time to review the SEO checklist or “SEO” according to the agreements with the web agency.
Check all the URLs of your pages, the tags titles of the browser, the titles of your articles … and ensure the presence of quality keywords, agreed in the audit sent by the web agency.
It is also important to let an average period of 3 months pass before asking the agency for an SEO audit (usually included in the delivery) in order to check the progress of the SEO and your positioning. Following the results of the audit, you will decide with the agency to make some changes or review the SEO strategy if necessary.
This is a very important and very delicate point at the same time, we must be careful because, on a web project, there is always room for improvement.
Do not hesitate to think about the possible improvements that can be implemented directly in the same site and that would clearly bring real value to the project.
As for the subjective improvements that can aspire massive amounts of time, without necessarily a concrete result, it is better to leave them aside now and to wait to see the reaction and the feedback of the Net surfers.
It is important to be pragmatic and know when to announce the end of a project and the launch towards its mission: “Conquer the world”.
For some projects, the launch of the website means starting the reflection on a future version in order to set up other functionalities.