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Launching a website? Get ready for a busy few months. So much time, talent, and money goes into building a new site—yet roadblocks can still easily push back your launch date. Here are some tips on how to keep your project rolling forward and on track.

1. Plan well from the start

If you're a website vet, you'll know that good planning can save you days of stress. Create a solid project plan by deciding on goals, milestones, and responsibilities for each team member, making sure there's enough room for flexibility when inevitable surprises pop up.

  • Know when to bring on outside help. As you build your team, identify your in-house weaknesses and compensate by bringing in new talent—an agency, a contract UX designer, a writer, a new developer... Trust experts in areas that aren't your forte.
  • Rally the troops in a kickoff meeting. Set the tone for your project with a productive kickoff meeting. Let the team brainstorm, but block off time to identify project goals, milestones, and decision-making processes for moving things forward.
  • Set goals that work for everyone. Depending on their role, each person will have a different definition of success. Set goals for user experience, lead generation, revenue, website performance, and so on, and benchmark them against current numbers from analytics applications, such as Google Analytics.

2. Lock down messaging early

If there's any waffling over your company's mission, product or service positioning, or brand image, now's the time to work it out. Spend time building personas and agree on messaging before you write site content to avoid deliberation over every page and paragraph.

Unless you're working at a new company, you're probably sitting on a wealth of content already. Make sure nothing valuable falls through the cracks—and that nothing embarrassing makes it to the new site—by taking doing a content audit of all your content and deciding whether to keep it as is, repurpose it, or scrap it. Doing this will help you come up with content for the site later on.

3. Ensure that you're using the best technology

Just because you're now using a certain CMS or hosting provider or project management tool doesn't mean it's the best. Do your research and get the opinions of experts you trust before deciding to move forward on the new site.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
image of Laura Dambrosio

Laura Dambrosio manages content and social strategy for Pantheon, a website management platform for Drupal and WordPress.

Twitter: @ledambrosio

LinkedIn: Laura Dambrosio