T-Minus 6 Tips for Preparing to Launch a New Website

 

By Corrie Benfield, FPRA social media chair

The FPRA Tampa Bay Chapter recently launched a new website, and it was an enlightening experience, to say the least. As a volunteer-based organization, we had some great people dedicating plenty of (wo)man hours to getting this site up and running. Here are some tips we picked up along the way:

1. Do a content inventory. If you have an existing site, catalog your current content and decide what needs to go, what needs to stay and what needs to be revamped. If you are launching a site from scratch, map out all the content you expect to need, including links to outside content and photos.

2. Think functionality. How will your customers/members/clients be using the site? What are the top five reasons they will be visiting? Consider doing a survey to get an idea of what your target audience needs from you, and build your site to meet those needs quickly and efficiently.

3. Take your best shots. Professional, updated photos are essential to a great website. Unless you’re selling Aquanet, you’re going to need to replace those head shots from the 1980s. And although stock photos are one way to go, consider hiring a local photographer to take a few photos for your company or organization.

4. Bigger ideas mean a bigger budget. As you get into the process, you may be inspired by even more ways to improve your site, but keep in mind that inspiration comes at a price. If the scope of your project grows, expect your designer to encourage you to revise your budget.

5. Leave yourself some room to grow. Sure, you might not have a YouTube channel – yet. Keep in mind all the ways you may expand, and discuss them with your designer to get an idea of how to plan for the future of your site.

6. Use it or lose it. Make sure you have a good understanding of how to update your website once you have the finished product. If you are confused about how the backend works or are unable to access certain content areas, your site could be out of date before many of your visitors get a chance to see it.