If you are a web monkey in any form, whether you work for a company or are a freelance pixel pusher you will inevitably encounter clients or stakeholders who have gotten it into their mind that they need a website, or a microsite spin-off of the parent brand. In many cases they don’t really know why, or what they plan to do with it, but they want it now.
It is not for us to discourage their hopes and dreams of shiny pixels pushing out the message (or often the case, lack there of) to the public that the client envisions, but perhaps to guide them to the path where their message and mission can be meaningful, and measurable. Not always an easy task I admit, but a happy client is a return client.
I have found five simple criteria that can help guide the thought process in the beginning stages of planning that help manage expectations, and navigate toward success.
If you can get your client to recognize and answer these important questions you will be well on your way to gathering the foundation of information that you will need not only to scope the project, but understand more clearly the clients goals, and how they will measure success. In many cases you will be helping the client understand their own goals.
Is there a unique mission that needs to be communicated.
Is there an existing audience demand or a recognized need that has not been served.
Will the site support the goals of raising traffic, growing the email housefile, and or generating income in a significant and measurable way.
Is there ongoing staff dedicated to content curation and generation.