Manage a Website

This is the first of a series of articles where we’ll talk about websites and their environment. Through these articles, we’ll going highlighting some important topics to consider, when building a new website is in first place on our projects list. But nevertheless, you can implement each of these areas to your project at any stage that is.

One of my goals here, is bring to you see the big picture. I’ll not concentrate these lines to a specific industry or job position, because is commonly associate the word website with developers, marketing or media. So, in future articles we’ll go deeper extracting interesting subjects and learning new fields to clarify the role of the website.

These are the main areas of a well managed website.

Mind Map
Mind Map

Plan

We need a plan if we want to go to some point or do something interesting, unless we have planned do nothing. A good plan is extremely important in order to achieve those goals that we want.

A website must have its place into the enterprise strategic plan. Is a good sign if we have a plan with clear orientations and future activities to meet the Big Picture. The final product or service must be aligned to the enterprise’s plan, and have to respond to the general objectives and respect the major lines of action.

Consider apply the project methodology that we are comfortable to work or continue to work with like Agile (SCRUM), Kanban or Waterfall or your own process.

Remember that the website we want, needs to get life and grow into its own context and environment. For example, a PESTLE analysis would be a good task to do for huge websites.

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Design

Design Thinking process is crucial to develop UI and UX that will take shape (and sense). If our website is destined to be used all-day, it’s valuable spending more time designing the experience scenarios and personas, because end-users will use our application every minute, 5 days a week (or more).

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Knowledge

In somehow, documenting the set of elements rotating the website could be beneficial to us, to our team and to the company. Sections like How-To, or Help, or FAQ will be nice to have.

CMS is a great tool if we want to have under control what we are publishing out there. Remember to meet plan’s goals and budget, on time.

Information architecture (IA) is a great practice to turn our website in intelligent. A well organized information can be useful to our visitors to get what they want to get fast. Applying SEO will make it more findable our website through the little text box at the top corner.

Legal

If the website’s plan has contemplated storing visitors information like name, passwords, credit cards, to mention a few, consider to have a privacy policy. This document needs to be visible and easy to access. As we know, we could consider this counterpart: the cost of reading privacy policies.

Terms of Use or TOS is the document containing rules where our visitors must agree in order to use our products and/or services.

Technology

This part is for geeks or aspiring-to-be-gurus.

Talking one language is quiet fair enough, but more than one language is even better. So, use our favourite programming languages, but don’t hide your curious side of yourself. I encourage you to try out some other awesome languages or technologies to build apps that, in one or another way, can help the website to maintain it bound (see improve) to the whole business process.

We can choose between having our website in your house/office or to rent out hosting services that can include any of cloud computing models like IaaS, PaaS and SaaS. Analyse your budget taking care of the long term profit. Some people prefer fr.mydomain.com and some other people want mydomain.com/fr for the French version. Marketing issue? Great question! I let you answer it.

Nowadays, it’s common to see responsive websites. Is good practice to spend a little more time testing our websites’ layout to ensure its compatibility on major browsers and if they fit well in displays: PC, Mobile, Cars and Internet of Things (IoT) devices like the so awesome Raspberry Pi 3, or having them all together. Again, it depends on the boundaries of the plan’s scope.

Standards

Ensure that technical standards, as are lead by the W3C, are respected by our IT team. From code blocks to flowcharts, respecting the standards rules and hardware infrastructure without forgetting the environment and our ecosystem.

Use the best practices to do our tasks. Improve yourself each time that you have a chance, and share with your peers.

Reach high levels of quality to get better results. I talking here about handle technical issues or displaying information well written and well represented in graphics or publish streaming videos. Have content in mind!

Relationships

Ok, our website will be “installed” into a server that could be accessed by Intranet or it’s Public. It depends on the goals that we want to achieve.

Is social your website? Think about Social Media. Our website needs to be marketed? If yes, try to get the best product/services of the market and do the best business. And yes, our website needs to be advertised too! in a internal and external way.

Did you see in websites Contact Us page? There’s a pop-up window to chat with someone that’s on-line and is working for us at the website’s company?

Adaptability

When deploying a new website, put end-users in center of this process. This could include the new design, new functionalities, new sections, new processes, etc. That means an introduction needs to be done. Sensitize users to the new. I know this could be hard if it’s introducing it at the entire enterprise or our customers, but it’s not impossible. The project manager can take care of this process because it’s a project in itself! And remember: Change is good!

Training people is a wonderful activity, specially because we are sharing our experience and knowledge to others. End-users needs to have answers to questions like WHY, HOW and WHERE. If users don’t adopt the new app, we’re done.

Supporting people in technical issues or doing CRM, may be critical if practices of ITIL are missing. Remember that our website is at the people’s service.

Control

The first thing that came to me when I was thinking at this topic, was a normal Rx, a stethoscope or a CAT scan. But in our case, we are going to analyze the bowels of our website.

Doing analysis are essential when we want to gauge whether or not our website is going to the right direction and do what you want it to do, as expected in our plan.

ROI, the magic words. Put attention to this because a website has money behind. Put your website to work!   for you!

Performance can be measured and maybe to correct current patterns if the desired goals are not reached.

Conclusion

Fritz Beinke - The juggler- a village fair - Google Art Project
The juggler: a village fair. By Fritz Beinke (1842 – 1907)

A Web Manager is constantly facing challenges and to new opportunities to improve its management of modules, applications, products and services. The juggler above represents the daily duty of the actual professional. The professional inside you has to handle interpersonal and general competences, needs to understand the website project environment and a happy face to the future and new technology.

As previously mentioned at the introduction, these are some of the subjects, like bouchées, that I will share with you in the coming articles. You will also find some references if you want to go further in your quests.

I invite you to stay tuned and learn about these interesting topics of websites! And who knows, may be you will implement some of what we discuss here. Also, don’t be shy if you want to share your thoughts.

 

Thanks for read and learn, I’ll be glad to see you in the next article!

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