Creating a new website for your firm is a complex process. Getting buy-in, consensus, as well as important content involves many people. Having helped numerous professional services firms design and develop their websites, 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 your agency. Together, they will 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 your firm, keep the committee members up to speed on the project stages, and collect and consolidate all feedback to funnel to the agency. 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 the time and commitment to spearhead the project.
2. Include the Decision-Makers
You know who they are: the people at your 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 you blaze ahead without their insight and buy-in, time and money can be wasted on expensive do-overs down the road.
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 Newbie
A recent hire can shed meaningful insight into the website redesign process. 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 sharing 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 usually does not need to be involved in the website committee meetings.
7. Writers Wanted
If you have a great writer, editor, or proofreader at your firm who can help with the website text, invite them to the team. Although most agencies can provide full writing assistance, many firms prefer to write some or all of the interior page content or provide draft text that the agency can fine-tune.
8. HR can be RH (Really Helpful)
Attracting and recruiting talent may be one of your new website’s important goals. That said, consider asking your HR person, or whoever is most involved with interviewing and onboarding new hires, to the website committee.
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, usually the equivalent of one day per week or more, depending on the phase of the project. Individual committee members will typically 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.
In closing, one last tip: If a person does not want to participate on the website committee, 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 and eager to improve the website.