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Website Before and After, and then “After Again”

May 7, 2012
Posted by Scott Leisler

Dovetail St. Louis

For years we have been doing interactive and web development work – creating everything from large transactional applications, experiential, to large corporate sites and everything in between.

Often we work with companies that have websites that have not been updated for years, they need a cosmetic facelift, or have deeper issues with site structure, functionality, and the need for improved searchable content highly sought after by valuable prospects and customers.

The path to getting from the “Before” (old website) to the “After” (new improved website) is a process that many interactive and web companies can guide their clients, creating a sense of temporary euphoria with a lot of oohs-and-ahs.

However, the euphoria sometimes ends – in the next stage, which I call, “After Again.” This is the time when the company that developed the site meets its obligations for development and the client is off on their own – left to manage the content and design details of their new website.

Time constraints, content creation, technical knowledge, and design sensibilities now can become a huge obstacle. Some of the hard work that everyone was once so proud of slowly can erode away. Many times, unknowingly.

When developing a new website for your company or organization, consider asking internal decision makers the following during the discovery phase:

  1. After the website goes live, what is the plan for creating new, fresh, timely content? Today’s web thrives on fresh content to attract repeat visitors and keep search engine rankings high.
  2. If there is a Content Management System (CMS), what are the capabilities of updating areas besides text?
  3. Are there internal resources available to update graphics and keep the design aesthetics aligned with branding objectives?
  4. Does there need to be a company blog? This is a great way to keep content fresh, but if time is limited for content creation, alternative solutions should be considered.
  5. What is the plan for website maintenance outside of internal resources? This is an often neglected area after website launch.
  6. How will social media be utilized? Do internal resources exist to manage communication efforts consistently for the two-way “social” conversation?
  7. How will adjustments be made to the website based on Google analytics and website traffic to maximize continued effectiveness?
  8. How will users find the new website? What advertising methods will be utilized to create ongoing digital successes?
  9. What will happen to the old website pages once the new site is live? Will old pages redirect to the new site so that any previous gains made in search engine rank can still provide value?
By asking the right questions from the beginning, your website’s “After Again,” can have the greatest opportunity to maximize your website investment and serve you well into the future.

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