Project management: Creating a great web site takes solid teamwork

My recent posts have been about how to hire a good partner to help you build your Internet presence. Now I’d like to turn to a most important topic: project management – or how you’re going to work with your Internet partner to  create a great website. Perhaps you thought all the many distinct variables inherent to creating a website would just come together on its own? Think again!

The task of the project manager (a.k.a., the website developer) is to complete the website process (or process plan) on deadline and within budget. Sound simple? Yeah… try it! It takes real work, discipline, and a plan.

What are some of the things that can go wrong?  Here are a couple of big ones to consider:

1. Copy: Think about it… your site will need words on every page! Regardless of whether you’re a facile writer or not, content must be created and placed. It is the your responsibility to deliver good quality text to the developer. Depending on who you’re working with, that developer could/should act as an editor of sorts,  placing your text and checking it for typos, grammatical errors, and shaping the copy (strong headlines; short paragraphs; bullet points) for optimal advantage on the Web.

To complicate things, you’ve heard of organic Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? If you’re unsure what SEO is, it’s the work you do to your site that helps it rank well on Google (as well as other search engines). Well, how you treat the text on each of your site pages has a dramatic (or not) effect on whether you win position #3 on the first page of search results(for certain keyword phrases) or end up on page 30!

If you and your developer are optimizing your site– and, these days, you must optimize or your site can easily get lost–this adds another intense level of complexity to the work, which absolutely MUST be managed or it will languish.

2. Assets: These would be logos, photos, videos, pdfs, whitepapers, and the like. At the outset of a website project, the project manager will meet with the client to determine the status of these items.

For instance, what if you don’t have any photography for the site or (more often), what if the catalog of imagery is not of good enough quality? Then decisions need to be made as to whether it makes sense to hire a professional to capture custom imagery or perhaps to purchase royalty-free (leased rights to use a photo) imagery.

If it’s decided that photos must be purchased, the next decision is who does the research. Or if you decide to hire a photographer, more decisions must be made. Who hires the photographer and negotiates price and expectations? Who tells the photographer what sorts of compositions to capture? Or, what kind of ambiance you’re after? What sort of “feel” the imagery needs to convey? As we all have heard, a picture says a thousand words, right? I guess it’s important then to be certain that what your photos “say” lines up with your organization’s culture, brand, and effectively “speaks” to your all-important target market.

A good project manager makes sure that first and foremost your initiatives are met but also their own! A solid business arrangement is where all parties benefit… more about this next month.

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Silvana Gravini is an Integrated Online Marketing Strategist with over 15 years experience in Website Design, Social Media, and Search Engine Optimization (SEO). For more information phone (413) 585-0985 or visit www.silvana.net.

3 comments

  1. Avi Kaye says:

    Just like with any other project, it's your job as a project manager to take the large task ('build me a website') and break it down into specific tasks and goals. In any good project plan, as you say, there are points that you need to consider when writing down the tasks – have you covered all the requirements, do you know who is in charge of what, and so on. Making sure that you have all this information laid out beforehand is a good way to make sure that you'll be completing your project successfully, and on time. This is one of the things we work at, at HappyTODOS, making sure that the project manager's work is as easy as possible.

    AviK
    Online Project Management http://www.happytodos.com

  2. A website is a good venue to market your business. Almost everyone nowadays is computer literate. Putting up a website that will talk about your products will increase the number of your customers.

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