In today's marketing landscape, a website is essentially the hub of your brand. Ensuring site users have a positive experience with your website, and consequently your brand, is more important than ever before. However, building or redesigning an enterprise website can result in a considerable drain on time, money, and resources, making it imperative that an efficient plan be in place and all careful considerations taken into account.
In this episode of The Marketing Remix, “Building an Enterprise Website,” Ron Hadler, Director of Marketing Technology, and Candice Wyatt, Director of Project Management at Red Door Interactive, break down what it takes to build and design an enterprise website from planning to execution and how to keep the entire project on track and within budget.
How do you determine if you need an enterprise website vs a basic website?
An enterprise website is essentially the digital marketing hub from which everything flows. When describing an enterprise website versus a basic website the key difference between is overall complexity and design. A basic website will give you a presence on the web, an enterprise website will take you to the next level in terms of capturing leads and producing sales. In determining what your needs are, here are a few evaluations to consider:
Current Complexity: If you currently have a website that can be displayed in a singular page, you likely don't need enterprise tools or functionality.
Users and Website Managers: If you have multiple users who will be updating site content and need to do so without IT resources, it would be beneficial to have an enterprise website. Sites that are not enterprise often have content, styling, and layout mixed together, requiring substantial IT time.
Compliance: Whether it's PCI for credit cards or CAG for accessibility, all those items will be served by enterprise functionality.
What are the more difficult parts of a website redesign?
Planning for content often presents the most challenges; not only should brands plan to migrate their current content, but they must also determine what content to develop to most effectively reach consumers. This process normally begins with an overall "needs assessment" and SEO content gap analysis to evaluate the content you currently have and places a value metric on that content (its number of visits, backlinks, social shares, etc.). This will determine what high value content you need to maintain and transfer over to your new site.
Most importantly, content is still king. Without quality content you won’t have quality engagement. Having great content on your website will also allow you to serve your consumers wherever they are (and will be), whether that’s on mobile, a watch, glasses, or over voice.
How often do you need to redesign your website? (and how to future-proof it)
Having a well-designed site that serves up well-structured content in many different contexts allows you stay on top of current considerations, while also ensuring the site will be future-proof. Well-structured content is a combination of good content strategy, in terms of voice and placement, as well as content engineering, which means understanding content type definitions and creating a taxonomy that relates your content and allows for easy population of that content.
From a consumer standpoint, well-structured content is easily consumable with pattern recognition, so consumers don't need to learn something new on each page. Having a well-thought out blueprint for related and dynamic content allows consumers to arrive at one content piece and continue to consume related content that interests them.
How do you select a website platform or Content Management System?
The first planning consideration is to thoroughly understand the requirements needed. These requirements include content types, audience types, places audiences consume content, and the infrastructure of resources required to maintain these elements. Once those requirements have been determined, it's essential to conduct multiple demos with several qualified vendors.
What are the most significant elements of technical planning?
Content engineering planning is key, as upfront development will allow for more efficiency in plan implementation. When you reach the development phase of the project, it's important to ensure that there is alignment on standards for implementation. With large-scale redesigns that require multiple developers, establishing CSS guidelines and ensuring code is consistent will make your website scalable and maintainable.
In creating a plan that incorporates all elements, here are a few approaches to consider:
Waterfall Approach: This type of project moves sequentially, ensuring each step starts once its predecessor has been completed.
Agile Approach: This type of project is more iterative and does not maintain a rigid structure.
Hybrid Approach: This project requires documentation that ensures alignment, but allows for more agile and iterative development. With a hybrid approach, you are able to see progress as you go while testing demos of completed work, allowing for tweaks in future development.
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