We’ve talked before about the common pitfalls when building a new website. Clear communication is one of the most important areas to prevent issues, yet when there are multiple teams involved – from developers to writers to designers – this can be easier said than done. Key co-ordination issues across these diverse teams often get overlooked – so what can you do to ensure the cogs in the web-build machine are turning as they should?
“When I need your opinion, I will ask for it”
One of the most fundamental mistakes made during a web build is assuming that certain parts of the process fall into certain boxes, and that those boxes belong exclusively to one team. Each team is sent off to open those boxes all by themselves (like the world’s loneliest Christmas), with the thought process going something like this:
- Analysis – the marketing team… If we don’t just skip this step altogether.
- Design – the designer – duh, that’s why they’re called a web designer.
- Content – a content writer writes it, right?
- Build – I can’t imagine anyone needs input but the developer.
- Testing – surely just the client, to sign the whole thing off.
- Launch –oh, maybe get some boffin in SEO to do an optimisation or something.
If web builds were as simple as that, they would not need a project manager at all.
“Okay, fine, but who goes where?”
Every team will need some input on every step of the process. If the designer creates something the developer can’t build, there’s going to be problems. Likewise, if the developer creates something that is not optimised for search visibility, key opportunities are being missed.
“Can I at least treat SEO separately?”
Google’s algorithms don’t just look at the keyword tag anymore (in fact, they haven’t looked at the keyword tag at all since 2009).
Search engines algorithms consider a wealth of things these days: page speed, how easy your site is to use on a mobile device, how much content is visible when the page loads – factors that are determined in the initial stages of design and development.
A new website is an opportunity to refresh organic search strategy – as well as a chance to create a site that’s search-bot friendly and forward-thinking in terms of mobile-first design.
Reframing the process
Rather than trying to coordinate a web build by moving the project from one team to another as you move through the stages of the process, what you really need is to have one central point of contact who can bring everyone together at each stage and distil all their inputs into a manageable action list for the person who needs to make that stage happen.
- What opportunities can be added to the new site?
- Are there new search terms that could be targeted with additional content?
- What issues did the old site have – for both users and search engines?
- Is the design search engine friendly?
- Does it present content in a structured way?
- How will the pages appear on a mobile device?
- Is content passing over directly, or will it be changing?
- Is the content optimised?
- Do website assets include images or videos that will need optimisation?
- What content is our target audience looking for or interested in that we don’t currently have?
- Are technical elements (such as canonical tags) editable from the CMS?
- Have key search tags (like meta-robots tags) been implemented?
- Is the staging site hidden from search engines?
- What features need to be incorporated to allow input from/to other channels?
- Are URLs logically structured?
- Are key pages optimised?
- Are optimised pages crawlable by search engines?
- Are URL structures changing? Will they need redirects from old to new?
- Has tracking passed over?
- Has the domain changed from a http to a https, or non-www to a www version?
Centralised Point of Contact
Having one centralised point of contact can help iron out the wrinkles that come with cross wires. Typically, this is the project manager who acts as a funnel and a filter: channelling everything through to the client that they need to feedback and approve.
This applies to planning documents, calls and meetings. It is ideal if the whole team is centralised around one document to plan from, to share snags and to give everyone visibility of progress.
Need help managing and planning a website build? We’ve developed a wealth of experience in guiding the process through from conception to post-launch support. Give us a call and let’s chat about what you need.