Using a discovery to help shape your new website
It’s important to acknowledge why and how your current website ended up in the condition that it’s currently in
Discoveries are often used to uncover possibilities and to think about what a potential new service or website will need to address. They can also be really useful to understand your constraints, so that you know what you can realistically achieve. Without doing a discovery, organisations often end up with grand visions of the future which will never be deliverable or achievable.
A discovery for a new website will help you get things right.
Should I stay or should I go?
Organisations often want a new website when they feel like their current website has become bloated or unmanageable. It’s important to acknowledge why and how your current website ended up in the condition that it’s currently in. This helps you understand how you can prevent it from happening again.
Some of the common mistakes we see organisations making when planning their new websites are:
- building a new website that doesn’t have a content strategy
- an unrealistic understanding of how your organisation will publish its content
- not thinking about the implications of your CMS supplier: proprietary software or open source?
- did your relationship with your current supplier break down in any way? How can you avoid the same situation happening again?
- no budget for maintaining your website
Some constraints and the opportunities to think about
Knowing the constraints and opportunities when building a new website is really important. Here’s a few things to think about.
The financial aspect
Every website has to be built within a set budget and no-one wants to overspend. As we’ve mentioned above, it’s a good idea to also think about your budget for maintaining your website. You’ll potentially need to consider the costs of hosting, support, and staff who manage and work on the website.
Content strategy and governance
How will you get content published on your website? Who’ll write it, maintain it, and check that it’s fit for purpose? Do you have staff who can do this or will you need to recruit?
Think about and try to define a content strategy. This should cover things like the website’s publishing model. Will it be devolved publishing where lots of people are trained to use the CMS and publish content? Is a centralised team publishing all or the majority of the content? Will people need training to update the website or do the skills exist already?
A new CMS or stick with the current one?
If you plan to keep using the same CMS, what do the technical constraints look like? Will you be able to do what you want to do with your current technology or will you need to upgrade? Will your current suppliers need to work with other suppliers to help create a new website? Are you getting value for money with your current suppliers and are there enough suppliers who specialise in that technology to keep costs low?
Day to day responsibilities of managing a website
You should also think about who’ll have responsibility for managing and maintaining your new website. Will it be the same team or different people from different teams? If you’re not using open source technologies, will it be cost effective to keep using your current CMS?
These are just some of the things to think about when starting a new website project. Here’s some further reading on useful activities to help you get more answers: