Building a new website is a large project with a lot of moving parts. If these moving parts aren’t aligned, you’ll often find they start going in different directions. For any website project you want a smooth, seamless process, along a fantastic final product. This is where a website roadmap can help.
Website roadmapping is a collaborative process between your team and your agency partner. As part of the Agile method of project management, roadmapping simplifies the website creation process by ensuring all involved parties are on the same page. It helps define the scope of the project before it’s begun — preventing “scope creep” and mitigating the risk of missed deadlines, unforeseen expenses and a disappointing end result.
Continue reading as we discuss how to plan and prepare for your website roadmap.
Understand the Project’s Context
Before you can dive deep into the strategy behind your website, it’s important to know why you want to create one in the first place — and the risks and opportunities. Whether you’re rebranding, embarking on a new business venture or updating your website, once you understand the project’s context, you can move toward building a strategy.
Identify the key stakeholders that need to be involved in the project — from the roadmap to the review process to its final phases, as well as the roles and responsibilities of each. Make sure the team includes the right subject-matter experts (SMEs) for each part of the process. Making these decisions beforehand limits the risk of mistakes and minimizes the back and forth between teams — both of which can push deadlines.
Prior to the roadmapping process, you should have an initial kickoff meeting with your agency partner to discuss expectations, priorities and goals. After this meeting, both teams may have additional follow up tasks to work on before the roadmap. Your agency partner will create a sitemap and strategy to ensure your website has everything it needs — but the participation and collaboration of all key stakeholders will guarantee its success.
A large project like website creation can be overwhelming. Breaking it down into phases is an easy way to make it more manageable.
- In phase one, you’ll identify your Minimum Viable Product (MVP).
- Phase two of the website roadmap will include defining any vital features or functionality you need out of the gate.
- Phase three is where you’ll incorporate any additional features, enhancements or improvements to the website.
Define Your MVP
The definition of a successful website varies according to each individual’s role and goals within your company. The foundation of your roadmap is the list of minimum requirements needed to make it successful — also known as your Minimum Viable Product (MVP). This basic framework won’t include everything you want on your website, but instead, has the key things you need for it to be successful.
The best way to clearly define what a successful website means for your company is to do a self-audit. Catalog what features and functionalities you need for a successful launch and what can wait. This process helps you outline the basic needs of your new website, establishes direction and ensures you’re setting yourself up for success. Be prepared to bring your findings to your roadmap, where your agency partner will work with you to further clarify your MVP.
Pinpoint the Priorities
Prior to roadmapping you’ll need to have a general idea of what you need from a website. Identify your pain points, goals and what’s essential versus what’s nice to have. If you’re not sure exactly what you do or don’t need, and how to prioritize, an expert web team will walk you through the process and prioritize. This discussion helps both teams determine what features may not be feasible, while also opening the door to ideas you may not have thought of yet.
During your roadmapping session, key stakeholders and SMEs will work through these questions:
- Why are you creating the website?
The answer could be as simple as a rebrand, but discussing this answer could also help you find additional issues. For example, if you’re rebranding your eCommerce business, and a team member points out that the website’s speed is causing visitors to leave without converting, you can add finding a better web hosting solution to the project scope.
- What is the website’s main goal?
Whether you’re looking to inform and educate visitors or move them through the funnel, identifying the main goal of your website will help you and your agency partner with the content and design strategy.
- What are your current pain points?
Examine what your current website is missing and the areas that need improvement. You can even conduct a competition analysis to see what your competitors are doing right and wrong. Factor in any customer feedback you’ve received, whether positive or constructive.
- What are the critical elements you need to include on the website?
After you’ve identified your website’s goal, you can determine what features are absolutely necessary to achieve it. You should also make a list of what features will support a positive user experience — a key point, considering 88% of visitors are unlikely to return to a website if they have a negative experience.
- What features aren’t necessarily critical, but would be nice to have?
Include anything from your dream website features to ideas that would support other parts of your business.
- What is your current hosting environment? What are you looking for in your new one?
Your website hosting solution should be highly scalable, reliable and secure. Your hosting solution may also need to be implemented a certain way depending on the Content Management System (CMS) you’re using. If a new CMS is implemented, it might not be compatible with the hosting environment — figure this out ahead of time.
- When do you need to have the website completed and launched?
Make sure you understand all of the steps for preparation, design, testing and implementation, along with a clear timeline for milestones and deliverables along the way.
- Do you have a digital marketing plan?
Think through what you might need after the website is launched, such as new landing pages, blog content and email newsletters or other digital marketing tools designed to drive traffic and convert visitors.
Investing time upfront and sharing your thoughts will help the process run smoothly on both sides.
Be Prepared to Collaborate With Your Agency Partner
The right agency partner will act as an extension of your team, but will need your communication and support to create the best result.
Before your roadmap, make sure to provide:
- Contact information to SMEs and stakeholders
- A list of any additional third-party tools and platforms you use (such as a CMS)
- Backups of your databases for the existing website and any databases to be integrated with, such as email providers or CRM platforms
- Access to your current CMS and code repositories
- Access to Google Analytics and Google Search Console
- A general idea of your MVP, goals and must-have website features
Commit to meetings, review sessions and feedback. Dedicating time to collaborate will help with the success and timing of the project.
Partner with Bayshore Solutions to Design Your Website
When investing the time, energy and resources necessary for your website project, the last thing you want is a complicated, confusing process that leads to an end result that misses the mark. Our dedicated team of designers, strategists, developers and marketers are with you every step of the way — from website roadmapping to go-live day — to ensure you’re getting the website you’re proud of.
Contact Bayshore Solutions today to discuss how we can help grow your business through expert website roadmapping, design and development.