Fundamentals – Website scope

We all know that no project should start without a clear set of goals. The hard part is determining which of these goals are absolutely imperative for a successful first phase of a website, and which ones can be saved for later. It helps to think of your website as an ongoing process. It should continue to grow and evolve to meet the needs of your customers and your employees, but should always remain simple in focus.

Once you relax, and embrace the idea of “phase one” your life will be much easier. Giving yourself permission to think simply will allow you to see what you are really doing. Nobody builds a website because they need a website, they build one to solve a problem. The first step of determining scope is to find some focus.

The first phase of your website should have a clear call to action such as:

  • This website will introduce our new company to the public
  • This website will make it easy for customers to purchase our most popular products online.
  • This website will provide our customers a tool to learn about our services.

More specifically:

  • This website will increase revenue by 7%
  • This website will decrease customer support phone calls by 10%

With some rephrasing, you can see how scope relates to budget:

  • How much would I spend to increase revenue by 7%
  • How much would I pay to decrease customer support phone calls by 10%

Start by making the most simple statement possible that fulfills an objective you would be happy with. Choose succinct goals and determine the amount of money that it would be legitimate to spend for that result. It becomes very easy to define the scope of a project when you break it into small parts that are easy to explain in one sentence.

If you are realistic with your goals, and keep them concise, it will always be easy to determine if you are on the right path with your project. It will also be easier to determine if you’ve achieved your goals once the website is launched.

Things to say to a developer

  • Have you built websites that have solved these problems before?
  • Do you think you can realistically meet these goals? – Within the budget?
  • Do you think these goals adequately address our future needs?

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