5 Factors for Success

1. Get Organizational Buy-in & Support

    • Everyone.  Share the vision for positivity & excitement.

    • Content Owners.  Identify and explain their role.

    • Decision-Makers.  Address issues and choices in a timely fashion to keep the project on track and resources fully engage.

    • Hit Deadlines.  It’s a team effort. 


2. Do it right. Don’t cut corners.

    • Trust & engage the experts:  It’s a complicated puzzle.

    • Design smartly.  Let the data drive the strategy to inform the design.

    • Communicate clearly.  Document minutes and decisions (and share).  Explain issues concisely, especially during testing.  Define, or show, design ideas/concepts visually if necessary. 

    • Test and test again.  Many devices & browsers.

    • Hype the launch.  The new website will be seen by many, many people worldwide.  Spread the word and highlight all the cool new features. 


3. Be Realistic.

    • Budget for success to avoid unnecessary cycles.

    • Timeline.  Create project plan that is doable.  Rushing at the end and late nights can have a negative impact on quality and drive up cost.

    • Scope Creep.  It will happen, so plan for it.

    • Partner expectations.  They will keep you on track, push you and push back at times in order to manage the cost and the timeline effectively.  Don't take offense to it.


4. Find a Good PARTNER

    • Relationship.  It's important and goes both ways.  Can you see yourself working together over the next year?

    • Consulting.  You are not hiring an order-taker, but an experienced professional to provide guidance, answer questions, solve issues and explain "why" certain creative, technical and marketing decisions are better than others.

    • Process.  Can your partner demostrate the use of a tried-and-proven process, along with the experienced staff to keep the project on course all the way to the finish line?  Plan for a smooth flight, but make sure they can navigate through bad weather.

    • Commitment.  Will your partner be there from beginning to end?  Til death do you part?  Candidates will certainly provide referrals to clients that had positive engagements.  Even so, ask what happened when issues came up and how they were supported after launch.


5. Address Content Early

    • Identify Content Owners.  Your vendor can help you with the content during the project, but they don't know it like you do and eventually, they will move on, leaving content management with the institution.  Assign content owners early and spell out their responsibillities.

    • Training / Process.  Although Beacon provides Cascade CMS user training, take the time to map a course for getting your staff trained with respect to expecations and internal processes (workflow).  Consider user group sessions like lunch-and-learn to allow everyone to learn from each other.  Also consider if and how you would train & utilize student interns from within the college.

    • Existing content.  There will be a lot of content to migrate and integrate into the templates of your new design.  This is a "one-time" project that will require a content inventory matrix to show if/how all existing content is mapped to the new templates.  Resource planning, well in advance, is essential.  

    • New content.  You know your school, messaging and brand better than whatever vendor you select.  New content will need to be written that will "fit" into the new site appropriately.  While the various stages of the website redesign project are underway, identify all the new pages that will need to be written.  A "content gatekeeper", at least for new content, brings value to ensure consistency.  Consider hiring a copywriter, or assigning an internal resource, to lead this effort.  

    • Workflow process.  Cascade CMS supports content workflow (approval process).  However, the business process needs to be defined first.  Map out the approval steps and authorization levels required to handle the movement of content from a draft state to being "live" content on your website.

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