What will your next website need to do?

Yesterday I looked at defining the structure of a website as an important stage before approaching a website designer (or more accurately, a website builder).

The other thing you need to do is specify the functionality. Many elements of this can be bolted on afterwards, or even during the building process, but the problem is that additional requests mean increased costs or – if you’re working to a fixed price contract – cost-cutting elsewhere. So here are just a few of the many things you should consider before approaching a website designer.

Do we want the site to be built on a widely-available content management system? Or are our requirements so out of the ordinary that we’d be prepared to use a proprietary CMS? Might we need to add on major resources, such as an online store, at a later stage? If so, will this be possible?

Will we have additional language requirements in the future? Can this capability be bolted on easily, and can the structure handle it?

Assuming we’ll have the time to craft SEO titles and descriptions for each new page, does the system allow these to be added easily? Who’s actually doing the SEO for the pages at launch?

Is it easy to create one-off forms and put them on new pages? Can the system integrate with our newsletter sign-up system?

Do we want all of our pages to have the same template? Or do we want a wide range of templates to be available? Will we be able to create pages to new, as-yet unspecified designs?

Will there be full visitor tracking set up, including Google Analytics (preferably through Google Tag Manager)? What do we want recorded (think: PDFs, video views etc), and will this be set up for us?

Do we want specified new content to be published to Twitter or Facebook automatically, and if so, how will this be handled?

Of course, there are many more things to consider, some of which are essential but still need to be specified at the outset, such as page-by-page redirection of the old website. Just because you think they’re part of the deal, doesn’t mean the website builder does. It’s much better to sort out all these issues in advance.

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