Since I have been writing about websites from around the annual conference that work, I have been getting some inquiries about how to get started with a new website. I will be writing about some good ways to get started, but I want to start with how NOT to build your new site.
1. Spend very little time thinking about your website’s audience and purpose.
2. Ignore the people in your organization who will be creating content and using the site.
3. Hire a really expensive developer. Don’t bother with much research, just go with expensive or really cheap.
4. Give the developer really vague direction.
5. Write large check to the developer.
6. Unveil website. Show it everyone. Don’t bother testing it with a smaller group.
7. Join the members of your organization in being deeply confused and disappointed in the new site.
8. Blame developer.
9. Fail to understand sunk costs and keep non-functional website for as many years as possible. After all, you already paid for it.
That is one scenario for going about things the wrong way. Trust me, there are others. Want to start the right way? Before thinking about platforms, hosts and developers, stop and think. Who do I want to look at this website and what do I want to convey to them? Who is the main audience? Spend some time there and the rest will go a lot better.
p.s. if you read carefully, this is not a statement against developers (expensive or otherwise). Developers can do some pretty amazing things and can be worth the money IF you give them the right things to work with