You’ve started that big website redesign project your team has been planning for months, and you feel like all of the major project milestone dates are set. Website architecture? Design? Development? You’ve got a plan for them all.
Yet the biggest risk factor to your timeline might be the part you assume you’ve got a handle on: creating the content for your site. You might think: “We have a website already – isn’t it easy to copy everything over?”
While having existing content is helpful, it’s not the entire answer. You’ll still need to bank in time to review and refine it, especially if other voices from your organization need to be involved. Too many organizations overlook this part of the process, and in our experience, it’s the number one reason for project delays; yet this is also avoidable with adequate planning and communication.
Follow our checklist below to stay on-track and make that website launch date you’ve been waiting for!
1. Create a Content Inventory: Look at your new website’s sitemap (the visual representation of all of your major navigation sections and the pages that sit below each). What pages are new versus those that already exist? For web pages that already exist, does your website strategy suggest that content should be refined? Create an “inventory,” or spreadsheet to track all new and current web pages to catalogue how much creation and curation lies ahead.
2. Map Your Milestones: Once you have your inventory, think about who from your organization should have input on this process. Are you creating all of the content and sharing it with others for feedback? Are others co-creating content alongside you? Regardless, you will need to schedule this process out. Look at the date you are planning to start web development and work backwards from that date – ideally, we coach our clients that at least 50 percent of your content should be accounted for by then. Allow more time for larger, newer sections versus those that you perceive will require less time. Once you have these dates established, place them into your inventory and assign them to whoever from your team is responsible.
3. Keep in Communication: Whether other team members are creating content or reviewing your drafts, place a standing meeting on their calendar to track progress, either weekly or biweekly throughout this process. Frequent touchpoints enable consistent communication, more accountability, and fewer missed deadlines.
4. Store Content in One Place: One your content pieces are finalized – no comments, track changes, or outstanding questions – place them in a location that’s easy to access for content upload to the new website. Create folders for each section, with a document dedicated for each page. You can even use this to store images and other important assets. Common tools for folder storage include Google Drive and Dropbox. If you use one of these solutions, you can even generate a link for each document that you can place back in your inventory spreadsheet for quick access during the content migration process.
5. Refine and Iterate: Remember that your website is not something that you can set and forget – although many pages (such as your mission and values) may stay the same, you should consistently revisit the content throughout your website post-launch to ensure that it effectively shares your unique brand story and achieves your organizational goals. Analytics tracking tools such as Google Analytics can help you understand if certain pages are underperforming, and if so, perhaps content adjustments are needed. Websites are constantly evolving, and so should your content curation.
Considering a website redesign? Reach out to see how Mission Minded’s years of nonprofit brand strategy and web development can support your upcoming project.