A company Web site is the first impression new prospects will have of your company, so though it’s one investment project in your marketing toolkit, it’s certainly worth the time and resources you will put into it. Of course, we all need to keep realistic budgets in mind and I, personally want to get the most for our clients’ money. Programming and design pricing is based upon features and pages, where you can decide whether to scale up or down based pricing, but there is also project management time to account for. We have our own best practices to keep projects on a tight schedule, but as a client, you actually have more control over this than you might think.
As a project manager for many Web design projects, I am responsible for the successful planning and execution of the project and it is important to me that each client feels they have gotten the best overall value. My experience managing Web projects has inspired me to jot down a list of tips that may be helpful to our own clients and anyone who may be working on a Web project for their company. Note: Your outsourced marketer or Web developer should guide you closely in these steps throughout the project. That said, knowing in advance some efficient ways to organize the project can make a huge impact on the project cost.
Tips for clients to ensure Web projects stay within budget:
- Submit all of the technical specs of a current site (FTP access /hosting info) and concerns upfront. This way, any issues can be worked out before programming begins, and there will be fewer chances things will need to be troubleshot and/or changed. Your marketer or Web developer should send a technical checklist.
- Fully communicate ideas/needs for functionality and the general look and feel of the site. It is helpful to show examples of other sites with elements that you like and want to incorporate in your own site. This makes for fewer versions of design, and a much cleaner timeline.
- It is a good idea for clients to appoint a single in-house person as point of contact. This individual will work with the outside marketer or Web designer in coordinating the timeline, copy and photos.
- Be sure you are satisfied with navigation and can mark it as “final” before moving to design or copy stages. Major changes to navigation later on can cause a chain reaction of other changes to the site.
- If providing your own copy, organize as separate, clearly labeled documents for each page of copy. Be sure the documents match the navigation.
- Send sections of copy in a single email if possible or load all at once onto a designated ftp site. Gathering information piecemeal adds more project management time and more to the bottom line.
- Each page of copy should be proofed and final when submitted. Submitting several versions causes more chance of confusion and having to revise several times.
- If providing photos for the site, these should be uploaded to an ftp site and placed in folders created to match the navigation.
- Your outsourced marketing or Web developer should help with establishing clear deadlines and send reminders. Meeting set deadlines for providing copy, images, feedback, and approval is crucial. When timelines are broken, there is a tendency to have to backtrack.
We would love to hear from other marketers who have tips as well or Web site clients who have found a problem in the process If so, we will add to the list!