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Developing Web Sites

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Web Project Management Guide

Setting goals
Time estimates and team members
Content review
Site structure and navigation
Finalizing timeline and content
Visual design development
Production and proofing
Site launch and maintenance

Site Launch and Maintenance

Launch

You've triple-checked for typos and accuracy. You've tested for cross-browser, platform, and ADA issues. You've uploaded your files to the server. For no discernible reason, something will go wrong. Give yourself time to take care of it by launching your site at the lowest-possible traffic times. Then be sure to publicize your launch. Send a note to Eweek, notify your audience if possible, update the link in your print publications, and contact Public Affairs about the possibility of featuring your new page in other ways.

Tracking and Feedback

Each page of your site should have a contact link. This can go to the site administrator or to the person responsible for maintaining the content on that page. Keep a list of the feedback your site generates. Plan for regularly scheduled updates and be sure to tag items with a priority level. Keep a copy of your style guides, content planner, HTML specs, etc. They'll come in handy for review and updates.

Site Statistics

Find out who is accessing your site, how they're finding you, and what they're doing on your site by using web-analytics software such as AW Stats, Google Analytics, Urchin, or WebTrends. Track against the goals you originally set and use the results to prove your site's value and potential.

Maintenance

Content is never really done. Check in regularly with your unit or department and the folks who wrote the content to see what's changing in your organization and to make sure content is updated on a regular basis. This is especially important if you've date-stamped your pages. A Web content management system can help you with the maintenance of your Web site, especially if it is a large, dynamic site. These software programs offer features such as automated templates, document management, easily editable content, and authoring and editing tracking.

Prioritize all the great ideas you've had to put on the shelf in order to finish the site. Start putting together a new schedule for writing, design, and production. Before you go too far, double-check them against the traffic your site is receiving, or do an audience survey to ensure they're the features in which your audience is most interested.