How to manage a successful website project, you ask? Whether you're designing a successful website for a client or an in-house brand, a website project will require you to juggle scope, time, and budgets efficiently.
You can't build website projects with technical skills alone. They need a manager's powers to stay on track as each line of HTML code is written and deployed on the testing server.
That is why it is important to understand how to drive a website project. It involves everything from team management, client engagement, and project management so that the end-result checks out expectations fruitfully.
In this quick guide, we have covered a 5-step formula for how to make a successful website. It constitutes everything from gathering requirements to successfully handing off the final product to the client. We have also covered nifty tips for successful website to ensure software project success.
Let's dive straight into tips for a successful website that will help you manage your project like a pro!
5 Steps for a Successful Website Project
- Gather Website Requirements
- Build an Initial Wireframe
- Plan Out the Project Into Phases
- Meet Often and Track Milestones
- Feedback and Delivery
Let's explore each step in detail to understand the process better.
1. Gather Website Requirements
It all starts by clearly understanding what you're going to build. Each successful website project begins with a comprehensive set of requirements gathering from the project owner or the client.
You'd want to fully grasp the fundamental details about the project so that you can align your team accordingly. Knowing what colors, fonts, and images to use on the website isn't enough, successful website design for a much deeper analysis.
Following are a few areas of information that must be gathered from the project owner.
Define a definite purpose for the website. Is it being developed for corporate lead generation? Will the website sell products online? Does the client intend to use it for publication?
By understanding the purpose, you'd easily plan the next steps. Each purpose will warrant a different action plan, development technique, and resource engagement.
Image taken from Strikingly User’s Website
Business goals refers to what the client wishes to achieve by launching the website. It could be anything from increasing the visibility of the business to using the website for acquiring new customers. If the client envisages using the website as a part of their marketing strategies per se, you should absorb such business objectives before starting the project.
Here's another vital question to ask - who is the ideal user of the website? By understanding the demographics and preferences of the target users, the website can be customized to better meet user expectations. Collaborate with the client to run an initial user study to figure out target audience composition.
It's only wise to touch upon the future scope of the website beforehand. Does the client want to expand on the features six months down the line? Or will the website maintain scope for years to come? Knowing the exact plans is not important, but knowing what lies ahead of the first version will help you build the website with better preparedness.
Lastly, it comes down to the list of features the website must have to meet business goals and client expectations. Herein, you can brainstorm about feature priorities. While some features may prove critical to a successful website project, others will take a backseat. You must keep the features inside the project's scope to ensure optimum delivery.
2. Build an Initial Wireframe
Most website projects begin with an initial wireframe representing a rough set of ideas on how the website might look. A wireframe is great for discussing the several shapes and forms the website can take. You can create multiple layouts, place elements, and see how it all looks on paper.
Invite the client to weigh in on the wireframing process. They must present their vision regarding the website and help the development team set clear expectations. Essentially, a wireframe is a pencil sketch of the website depicting only the key elements.
Wireframing helps the development team get on the same page with the client vis-a-vis the project design. It's a quick and easy way to set firmer expectations. Once the client has approved the wireframe, the team can sit and plan how to execute the project.
3. Plan Out the Project Into Phases
Image taken from Strikingly User’s Website
Wondering how to manage a successful website project without going overboard on expenses? The answer lies in planning the project smartly. Modern project management techniques suggest breaking down the entire lifecycle into phases.
Each phase will contain a certain set of project deliverables, a milestone, and a deadline. For instance, the first project could involve setting up the website's front-end. This phase must come with a timeline estimate, let's say, three months and a milestone date on which all the work carried out in the phase will be put to review by the client.
Similarly, you can break down the project into several phases that represent all the core stages of development. A project management software tool will make it easier to divide the project into phases and help you ensure software project success.
Website Project Phases include:
- Requirements Gathering
- User Interviews
- Server and Codebase setup
- Initial Design
- Front-end development
- Inner pages
- Dynamic pages
- Backend Development
- API integration
- Database configuration
- User account setup
- Website testing
- Bug fixes
- Client review
- Beta release
4. Meet Often and Track Milestones
Now that you have a project plan in place and the team is ready to get productive, you can start assigning tasks to everyone. Drive the project step by step and ensure that the daily progress is in sync with the grand plan.
Get your developers, designers, and project experts together to convert the initial wireframes into a usable product. Hold daily stand-ups to get the team collaborating on the development tasks. Don't forget to check in with the client each time a milestone is achieved to keep them engaged with the development.
A weekly status report meeting is also recommended to review the week's progress. You can better align your team if you know their challenges and demands along the way. Collaborating consistently is one of the strongest tips for successful website completion that one can offer your team.
5. Feedback and Delivery
Image taken from Strikingly User’s Website
The last leg of the project involves several rounds of feedback from the client. The business experts sit down with the client to review the outcomes and document client feedback. Expect an array of changes to be carried out in this phase as the client may want to tweak a few things around.
The feedback must be documented comprehensively and implemented religiously. Once all the feedback points have been crossed off, and the project has received client approval, you can move it into the beta release phase.
The website is made public in this phase to capture a wider and more realistic review. In the beta release phase, you can also anticipate many bug fixes and performance tweaks. Post that, it's a journey full of improvements and updates.
Bonus: Tools for Planning a Website
A successful website project relies heavily on the quality and implementation of the project plan. Here is a quick list of tools to help you plan the website proficiently.
Image taken from ProofHub
For managing the entire development lifecycle with detailed project milestone tracking. Teams can share updates, collaborate on design tasks and report on progress cohesively using ProofHub. It replaces up to 8 website project management apps with one unified dashboard.
Image taken from InVision
For quick wireframing, prototyping, and front-end designs. InVision lets you share design ideas in a visual way with internal teams and the client so that you can swiftly implement feedback. It offers handy tools for developing functional wireframes.
Image taken from the Strikingly website
Depending upon the finalized client expectations, you can either create a website from scratch or take the no-code route. If the project requirements are not technical and the client wants to launch the website quickly, you can try Strikingly's powerful website builder. It offers a resourceful way to get the site live and running without lengthy development work or extensive designing.
Image taken from the GitHub website
A code management platform that helps developers create project repositories and track issues on the go. From version control to pipeline deployments, Github offers extensive features to developers for planning the technical development of the website.
Geared with the managerial know-how of how to run a successful website project, you're all set to kickstart your own project. Remember that each website is unique in itself and will come with its own set of challenges. The key to successful delivery is being open while gathering requirements and being agile in implementing them. Don't forget to check out the enlisted tools for planning a website that can come in real handy. All the best!
Nandini Sharma is the Assistant Marketing Manager at ProofHub - an all-in-one project management software and a top monday.com alternative loved by thousands of teams and businesses across the globe. Nandini brings close to a decade of experience in the field and has successfully executed a number of brand-building and marketing campaigns throughout her career. A specialist in marketing, Nandini is well-versed with technical know-how and always stays on top of the latest trends in the digital world. You will find her constantly putting marketing strategies into motion with perfection. Over the years, she has triumphantly created a wide base audience on a number of popular online platforms. When she is not busy penning down out-of-the-box marketing ideas, she can be found channeling her creativity into art and craft activities.