Your organization’s current website or web portfolio is in need of a serious facelift. The content is stale, information is difficult to find, the look and feel is outdated and inconsistent, and it is a chore to make simple changes or additions. You have done some research and realized it is time to invest in a state-of-the-art Web Content Management System (CMS). The choices for Web CMS solutions, however, are endless.
A great deal of work goes into the proper selection of a Web solution that will best meet your organization’s specific needs. As you go through the process of selecting web technologies and web design providers, here are a few mistakes to avoid:
aHa Consulting’s Advice
Mistake #1: Website Tunnel Vision
It’s not about the specific technology, and it’s not about the look and feel. It’s about BOTH! Do not get enamored by a specific technology or a flashy web design. Web technology is changing at a blinding rate. It would be a myopic approach, for instance, to limit your choices to Microsoft-only solutions or, alternatively, only those that are compatible with Oracle databases. It also is a mistake to be dead set on a specific look and feel before the project begins. A smarter approach is to document the key website content, features, and user scenarios, and then get one or more website experts to provide you with alternative solutions. Since the web is changing so rapidly, it is particularly important to keep an open mind to your solution options.
Mistake #2: Website frugality – choosing the lowest cost option
“We aren’t in Kansas anymore, Toto!” A well designed website costs money, and you get what you pay for. While it is important to get a good deal on anything you pay for, it is a mistake to make the decision on cost alone. Don’t ask yourself “Can I afford this?” Instead, ask yourself “Can I afford to not get this right?” Website redesigns are a strategic investment for organizations of all sizes. As such, decisions on a solution should not be strictly cost-based.
Mistake #3: Website implementations driven by IT instead of the business
Your web CMS re-design decisions should also not be made by your organization’s information technology (IT) department alone. Your decisions should be driven by the business and focused on communicating to your target audience and market segment. Too many website redesign projects place a heavy emphasis on the technology alone. Technology IS important. In the end, however, it doesn’t matter how good the technology is unless you have a solid understanding of your business requirements. You will then be able to build a website information architecture and graphic design that truly targets your end consumer. In the end it’s all about user-centric design and meaningful, targeted content. The old adage holds true that form follows function. In the web paradigm, this means that web graphical designs and technology solutions follow content determination and site architecture.
Mistake #4: Building your Web CMS Solution on a house of straw instead of a house of bricks
Building a 21st century web solution for your organization is a strategic investment. As such, you want to be sure that your web redesign will be able to grow and adapt as web technologies adapt. You want to avoid building a website that looks great on day one but falls apart soon thereafter. The last thing you want is a new web presence that is irrelevant soon after you go-live. The goal should be to build a solution that can grow with changes to your business as well as changes to the technological landscape. So, when choosing a web technology, be sure that the technology solution you do choose is likely to be an established marketplace leader in the years to follow.
Mistake #5: Hiring the web jockey
An organization’s website represents the company brand and, for many organizations, can be the difference maker between profit or loss, legitimacy or in-authenticity, success or failure. As such, you should be sure to select a website implementation partner that not only has proven experience in building websites, but has equal or greater capacity to understand your business goals and translate them into a winning web design. Choose a web partner that has well-rounded expertise in both business and the web, and you are likely to get a better end result.