So, you’ve made the decision to take the plunge and invest in a brand new, content managed website.
To put your mind at ease - it really isn’t a ‘plunge’. This is one of the smartest decisions you can make as a business in the digital age, because a content managed website is vital if you’re to build a sustainable, engaging online presence.
There are plenty of potential banana skins en route to launch, though, and even if you’re engaging the services of a professional web design agency (which you absolutely should), here’s a few wise words of advice to make sure you don’t run into any monumental headaches:
1. Create a CMS team
Your web design agency will do the heavy lifting when it comes to building your new CMS-powered website, but you’ll need your own team of people internally who are tasked with managing the project both during launch and beyond.
That team might simply number one or as many as ten, depending on the size of your organisation, but pick it carefully.
Too many cooks syndrome is far too prevalent in the world of new business websites, and to avoid that, make sure you select a cross section of people from deferent departments and who can be given specific areas of the website to work on.
This will enable the agency to work far more efficiently, because they’ll know who they need to deal with for each section, and there’ll be far fewer arguments internally over design, copy and the use of imagery.
2. Work from a plan
Pick a reputable agency, and you won’t have this issue (because they’ll devise a plan for you), but a CMS website project without a plan is almost destined to fail.
Work with your agency to form the plan. It needs to include everything from how the site is constructed, to how the content will be created and the technical intricacies of the eventual launch.
Putting a plan together of this kind isn’t easy, but it’s the most important time you’ll spend. In fact, spend more time on this element of the project, and the rest of it will be far less burdensome.
3. Listen to your agency
If your web design agency suggests a particular colour scheme or page layout, remember that they’re doing so based on their own experience. They know what they’re talking about, therefore unless you vehemently disagree, go with it.
Put your faith in the professionals (even when it doesn’t feel quite right), and you’ll end up with a website that leaves the competition trailing in its wake, rather than a pet project which bows to the wants and desires of a specific person within the business.
4. Remember that simple is always better
Keep it simple. Always.
When it comes to the web, clear navigation, engaging imagery and relevant copy is all you need. Get clever with the design or too intricate with your terminology, and you’ll only put visitors off.
Simple always wins in web design - remember that as you plan out your CMS website project.
5. Hand over content creation
Ask any web design agency the most common element that can hold up an entire website project, and they’ll probably answer “content”.
This is usually because the business decides to do it themselves, even though the talent or resource to do so in-house simply isn’t available.
There’s no greater shame than a beautifully designed website which lays dormant, waiting for launch, while the content remains forever in production.
Work with your agency to brief them on what’s needed, and provide reference material, but whatever you do, leave the actual content creation to them!
Website CMS projects are far more cumbersome when poorly planned. Lean on our tips above, and you’ll instead be able to watch as your lovingly-crafted new website rises quicker and faster than you ever thought possible.