As with any investment, you need to do your research to make sure that whoever you do it with and however you go about doing it that you have your bases covered. Digital mediums (websites, apps, email campaigns, social media, banner ads, etc.) are no exception.
Here are our top 8 quick tips about getting your website/app off the right start and keeping it on the right track:
Consult an expert
Like with any investment make sure you get advice from the right experts. Make sure that your expert explains the options available to you, the potential risks, the key pivot points and provides you an at least basic understanding of the technicalities involved.
Have a strategy
Websites and apps are not just brochures — they are a living, breathing interactive part of your business or organisation, and as such they require a strategy. Commonly, we work with clients to establish a digital strategy, which includes the different channels, their purpose, goals and metrics, and a link back to the overall organisational strategy. Make sure you have a roadmap — otherwise you will end up lost.
Understand the process
Building a website, app, EDM or otherwise can be a very technical process, however you should be able to understand the high level process so that you can integrate the efforts of the business with any digital media projects you may be running.
Generally, with a design and build project the process is:
1. Requirements Gathering
2. User experience
5. System/Acceptance Testing
7. Ongoing monitoring and improvement (plan and repeat steps 1 to 6)
Don’t skimp on UX
User experience (UX) is one of the most critical parts of any digital project. UX is about making the interaction between the user and your website or other digital media as simple, intuitive and delightful as possible.
Ensure you allocate time to:
- Familiarise yourself with the content and the audience
- Draw up a sitemap
- Complete wireframes for key pages (including mobile versions where applicable)
- Have at least one review run-through of all the wireframes with an un-informed party (a test user)
Don’t skimp on testing
Testing is probably the other part of the project that is first to go in reducing a quote. A lot of clients ask what the time is for — the reality is that in a complex project it is virtually impossible to get everything right first go (Internet Explorer anyone?) and that it takes time to find and get the bugs out of the system. If you reduce this time, then expect to do a lot of testing your self (or for your users to, which is less then ideal).
Have a good hosting platform
Users dislike slow sites, sites that are down or sites that are inconsistent. Make sure you have a excellent web hosting that gives you great uptime, great performance and great support. You don’t want to waste all that hard work building your project only to have it fall down because of server issues.
Make sure you measure and improve
Like anything in business its never good enough to stand still — businesses need to innovate or die. Digital has some of the best tools for staying on top of things.
Make sure at the very least you install Google Analytics or an equivalent, commit to a monthly review and then act to improve your website/site on a regular basis.
Make digital a focus
This is more of a reality check then anything, but make sure you are putting in the resources to get digital right. Digital can have a HUGE effect on businesses and today is probably one of the best ways to get a new business started, and like anything its important to do things iteratively.
Make sure that your iterations are big enough, that they are well thought out, that you are consistently monitoring and improving and then you will be on the path to ongoing success through digital.
James Hornitzky is the CTO and co-founder of Leafcutter Creative Digital.