Whether you are a new business starting a new website or an established business who needs a new website or a website redesign, it can seem a bit overwhelming. Even if you have a website design company building the actual website, you will still need to create all of your text content, find the right pictures and logos, explain to your website designer layout, purpose, and goals of your new site. When you already have a busy schedule running your business, this is a lot to get done.
Below are some tips on how you can organize the process of collecting the content of your website easier and quicker. The faster you can get the content to your website developer, the quicker they can get your website online.
Decide your Websites Purpose Based on a Persona
A persona is a fictitious representative of your ideal customer. Once you know your persona, you will have a better idea of who you are marketing to. This will help greatly with choosing the right design and what content you need to provide. As mentioned in this post, you might create a completely different design if you are marketing to someone in Hawaii vs someone from another state or another country. The better idea you have of the customers you are trying to reach, the easier it will be to choose a design direction and purpose for your website.
You can find an excellent description of personas, what to include, and how to make them here.
Organize Your Files
It is likely that your pictures and content are scattered among many folders, computers and maybe even offices. This is common. Don’t worry, the cloud has made it much easier to collect the documents and pictures you will need. Programs like Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive have made it easy for multiple people to organize information in one place. Once you have selected your platform to create a folder structure that represents the pages on your website. Each “page” folder will contain a separate folder for logos and images to be used on that specific page. Documents containing content can also be uploaded to the folder.
Often the people who have access to the content (images, text, videos, etc) may not be involved with the website development and may be spread across multiple locations and offices. In this case, we recommend creating specific “dump” folders for each type of content. You create a generic folder for images, one for promotion copy, and one for videos. You can create as many as you feel are necessary to break up the content. Then share the folders so that your fellow employees can “dump” the files into the folder. Once all documents have been collected, you can simply move the content to the proper folders.
Create a “To Do” List
Creating a great website can be an involved process. Having a To-Do list and a way to track the progress and updates makes it much simpler. This will help you know who needs to do what when and also track once specific steps are completed.
The easiest way to do this is to choose a launch date and then work backward from a completion date. If you know that your website designer can’t complete a page until she receives the images, and you can’t put them into the correct file until they have been uploaded to the dump file, you can create a date of when the images must be uploaded to the dump file. Having set times for tasks will help make the project easier on everyone.
Project Management Tools
Not all To Do lists are the same. Some tools make it much easier to create tasks, designate who is responsible, collaborate in real-time, see who is working on what, and follow a deadline. Project management tools are helpful for just about any business and are great for organizing your website design from start to finish. There are many project management tools on the market. Two are the most popular are Asana and Trello. We are in the Trello camp ourselves and like it for its intuitiveness. Basecamp is another very popular option. Trello and Asana have free versions depending on your use and the size of your team. Basecamp offers free versions for students and teachers and a discount rate for non-profit organizations. You can see examples below.
Putting It All Together
The above tools should help you make your new website or redesign process go smoothly. It will help make sure that everyone knows what they are responsible for and when it is due. The tools we mention in this post are our favorites but there are many other options. Each team and each person is different so if you already have a system in place that works for you, go with that.
Once you have everything organized, all you need to do is hand it over to your website developer. If you used one of the above options for storage, that is as simple as sharing a link. You can also share your ideas and needs through your project management software. Once you have done the work collecting all the information, images, and ideas “in-house”, you are basically done.
Website Design on the Big Island
As part of our website development process, we provide you with a list of what we need to start the project and the tools that we use to make things easy. We hope this post gives you a head start on your website project and makes it easier to see through to completion.