The Most Important Questions About Your Website Strategy (Part 4)

At first glance these questions might seem simple.

1. First, ask, who needs to be part of this?
2. What are your goals? How do they align with the organization?

But once you think about them in terms of your organization, you’ll realize how complicated they are. Those of you who work in large organizations know exactly what I’m talking about. If you need a ton of buy-in from staff members across different departments, these questions can be one of the hardest parts of the process.

If you’re in a smaller organization, they can be a little less intimidating. While these questions might take you less time, you will need that time to focus on other pieces of the project. Hopefully, you have more than one person working on your website, but I know some small organizations are stretched thin.

These are also not questions that you can ask and answer in the beginning and then forget about. These questions definitely have a life to them; they have to be actively maintained.

By this, I mean there are staff members (I’m mainly talking bosses here) who need to be kept updated through the process. Again, the size of your organization will, to some extent, determine how difficult this is.

Sometimes, just sending out email updates is not enough. It’s possible you might have to set up multiple meetings to keep the right people updated (kind of like an intrapreneur).

The problem with not doing something like this is that you might not get the buy-in you need, bosses might change their minds because they don’t understand what’s going on, or simply, this project will move down on their list and it will stall. In the long run, this can be detrimental to the project.

I created the infographic so that you should always follow these first questions.

Then you either move on to step one in the circle, or you jump to whatever step you need to. It all depends on where you are starting from.

Follow the circle around until the end. For instance, if you’ve already interviewed stakeholders (if you’re in a small organization where you are the sole web department, you can interview yourself), you would start your content audit and research your competition. If that’s also done (let’s be honest, it rarely is), then skip to the next step. If you’re not doing a complete redesign, you may also be skipping this step for now.

The idea of the infographic is for it to work as a guide. Tailor it to fit your needs.

Let’s look more closely at why these questions can be complicated.

First, Ask. Who Needs To Be Part of This?

  • How easy or difficult this might be to organize will depend on your position in the organization. Let’s suppose you have been tasked with forming the main website strategy team for a large website overhaul.
  • What department (and who in that department) is in charge of the website? Who are the people that work on it on a daily basis? Depending on how big your organization is, the website may be “owned” by several departments, and you might have to include many people. In some cases, no one wants to take ownership, but everyone wants their content online.
  • The main team might change as you work on the project, but first make a list of people who should be at the main table. This could include staff from the following areas: content, IT, design, technical, admin, budget, and relevant others. Who needs to be part of what decision? Then, ask these folks if there is anyone missing and why? You want to keep the why in mind because, while it’s good to be inclusive, you don’t want the main team to get too big!
  • Who do you have to get internal buy-in from? Make sure that this person(s) are kept in the loop throughout the process with any decisions that are made (especially if they are not able, or not interested, in attending meetings).
  • Do you need to hire outside specialists? In deciding this, it’s essential that you get the input of the staff who work on the website on a daily basis. Who do they think, if anyone, you need to hire? Make it clear that their input is highly respected, and if you are outsourcing, it’s because you don’t have the internal capacity to do it.

What Are Your Goals? How Do They Align With the Organization?

  • Knowing you need to overhaul your website isn’t enough. You should head into the project with specific goals in mind. Maybe it’s a more flexible design, or just a different CMS. Or maybe you want to rewrite most of your content. Whatever your goal is, it needs to be laid out so that everyone is on the same page.
  • Your goals for your new website or project need to align with your organization’s overall mission. Make sure this is clear to everyone. For example, if you’re just moving to a new CMS, and not thinking about a new design, make sure everyone knows the front end will not be changing.
  • Or, if you’re just redesigning the homepage and a couple of other top level pages, make sure everyone knows this is the priority. Don’t get sidetracked with other pages. Stay focused.
  • Set deadlines. Adjust as needed, but stay on target as much as possible.

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