Creating a new website for your firm is a complex process. Getting buy-in, consensus, as well as important content involves many people. Having worked with countless companies in a variety of industries, Clockwork knows how important it is to have the “right” website team in place. Here’s a list of our top-ten tips:
1) Determine a Coordinator
The coordinator will be the point-person between your website team and Clockwork. Clockwork will work with the Coordinator to establish a scope of work, budget, and project schedule, and the Coordinator will be responsible for making sure all of this information is disseminated among the firm. He/she will then put important dates on internal calendars at the firm, keep the committee members up to speed on the project stages, and collect and consolidate all feedback to funnel to Clockwork. Ideally, the Coordinator should be someone from the Marketing Department who has dedicated time allocated to the website project. If your firm does not have a Marketing department, select a person who is web-savvy, very organized, and has time and commitment to spear-head the project.
2) Include the Decision-Makers
You know who they are: the men and women at the firm who have the power to override and pass final judgment. If they say they are “too busy” to be involved, or “will defer” to the groups’ decisions, ask if they can spare just a few hours to attend one or two critical meetings. It is necessary that they do to ensure the project will proceed smoothly. If we blaze ahead without their insight and buy-in, time and money can be wasted on expensive do-overs.
3) Invite the Rainmakers
The people bringing in the business are often closest to your clients, and best understand their needs. Rainmakers value the importance of a great website, and help push the project forward.
4) Don’t Forget the New Guy (or Gal)
A recent-hire or lateral can shed meaningful insight to the team. Why did they choose to come work at your firm? What are the differences between your firm and their past place of employment? When they were interviewing, what did they find good/bad/different about your website? What competitor websites stood out and why?
5) Ask the Social Butterfly
Who’s Tweeting, blogging, and LinkedIn at the firm? People active on the web are by nature web-savvy. They will understand new and important functionality that are must-haves for today’s modern websites.
6) Who’s IT?
If your firm has an IT person, he/she will need to be consulted on key technical issues. However, an IT person may not need to be involved in the website committee meetings. Including IT is optional. Clockwork can speak with you and your IT person to make that decision.
7) Writers Wanted
If you have a great writer, editor, or proofreader at your firm who can help with the website text, invite them on the team. Although Clockwork can provide full writing assistance, many firms prefer to write some or all of the interior page content, or provide draft text that our writer can fine-tune.
8) If They Say “No” Let Them Go
If a person does not want to participate, chances are they will not add value to the group. It’s better to include someone who is really excited and enthusiastic about the project than someone who will spend meeting time reading email on their smartphone.
9) Time Needed
We are often asked “how much of my time will the website committee require?”. The answer varies widely. The Coordinator’s role will require the most time, and can require the equivalent of several days per week or more, depending on the phase of the project. Individual committee members will need to allocate 5-10 hours of total time, on average. Add in additional time if you expect individuals to assist with content writing or editing.
10) Pick the Right Number
How many people should be on the website marketing committee? In general, less is more. However, the right number depends on several factors: In small firms, just a few people are usually ample. In larger firms, more people typically want to be involved. Try to limit the number to five or six at most, as more than that can become unwieldy. But remember, the firm decision makers have to be involved, at least, for the key review points.
For insight as to what it takes to be a great Website Committee Member, read our previous post.