Reality Check Planning for new Websites
New e-commerce sites and dot-coms may have fewer restrictions than large companies with a lot of legacy systems, but the process for selecting software should be basically the same.
Companies with no legacy systems
have many fewer restrictions pertaining to platform requirements and development environments.
However, the same process for selecting and implementing software should be followed:
- Identify deployment environment
- Select software that is compatible within the selected deployment environment and that meets client needs for site features and functionality
- Finalize software selection
1. New Website
If it is a new website, then you will have to plan out the required resources required to build the site from scratch.
Examine your competitors and ask"
- Which parts of your current site do you feel work well, and why?
- Which features need to be improved? And do you want to add any new features or functionality?
2. Project goals
What’s the main purpose of your site? Is it a brochure-style site, designed to provide information about your products or services, or maybe it’s an online shop?
What do you hope to achieve with the site?
- Do you have sales targets or want to increase the number of enquiries you receive?
- Have you thought about using Google Anlytics to track the results to see if you are meeting your goals?
3. Target Market
Now think about who would be visiting your site – what kind of people are they? What problems do they have and how can you solve them? Think about what value you can offer them, and why they should visit your site rather than your competitors’.
Think about the look and feel of the website. What sort of design do you want?
- Should it feel modern or retro/vintage, clean and minimalist or really decorative?
- Write down some keywords to describe the impression you want to create?
Try to think of some examples of sites that you like and why do you like them?
For example, is it the look and feel of the website, or is it because the website is easy to use?
These are likely qualities that you’d like your site have.
Have you thought about the pages or sections that you will need?
List them or try drawing a little sitemap diagram to plan them out. Even a rough guide will help you as you start to create your site or talk to a designer.
What kind of content will you need?
Is it just text and images, or will you need video and audio content as well?
Question: Who will be responsible for creating the content?
Are you able to do it yourself or do you need help? Some people find writing about themselves or taking client photos difficult so don’t be afraid or embarrassed to ask a professional copywriter or photographer for help
Write down some ideas on where you will promote your new site.
Think about your target market and why they are prominent on the internet.
Do they use social media such as 1) Facebook or 2) Instagram?
Think about all the places you might connect with your target market, both online and offline, and note down any ideas you have on how to encourage them to visit your site.
Finally, think about the total cost required to implement your website online.
How much can you afford to spend on your new site ?
Consider both 1) money and 2) time.
If you have no time but can spend a fair amount of money, you could outsource the entire project, including content creation.
Or if you have limited funds but plenty of time, can you learn to design and build the site yourself?
And do you have a deadline in mind for the project? Is there a particular time you need to site to launch, perhaps to coincide with a larger branding or marketing project, or to tap into a seasonal market?
Hopefully by now you’ve got lots of ideas about your new site. If you’re working with a web designer, the notes you’ve made will give you plenty to discuss.
Software Engineering Institute
As an example of using these approaches, the Carnegie Mellon Software Engineering Institute (SEI) used the vendor-survey approach, among several others to select a new ERP application. The Software Engineering Institute needed to replace a long-lived, faltering budget system that was built internally and had many shortcomings relating to the budget and business goals of the Software Engineering Institute.
The system required substantial modifications to accommodate several new needs created by the advent of a new Oracle ERP system in use by Carnegie Mellon University.
In a case of "practicing what you preach", the SEI put into practice the principles taught in the COTS-Based Systems for Program Managers and COTS Software Product Evaluation
for Practitioners training courses. The approach and subsequent results were captured in the technical note, COTS Acquisition Evaluation Process.