Website project guide

Whether you’re looking at launching a new website or updating your current one, we can provide guidance regarding capacity planning, process, Content Management Systems and templates.

Before you commit to starting a website project, consider the following factors below to determine your capacity.

Time

The main resource you will need is time. You and other stakeholders should account for and plan to:

  • Attend meetings
  • Manage communication between stakeholders
  • Conduct website research
  • Create strategy
  • Write and edit content
  • Find quality images
  • Get stakeholder approvals
  • Build pages
  • Test the website

Estimating

Creating a realistic timeline is important in setting expectations with your internal and external stakeholders and meeting any departmental deadlines/campaigns/recruitment periods. For example, the horizontal template projects take an average of four to 12 months to complete, depending on the resources and the size of the website.

First, estimate the number of hours needed to complete your project. This will mainly depend on the number of web pages. Calculating the hours can be difficult and the number often ends up being underestimated. If possible, add an extra 20 per cent on top of your original calculation.

Next, take into account the daily, weekly or monthly availability you and other stakeholders can exclusively dedicate to the project. For example, if you need 20 hours to rewrite the content but only have 2 hours a day to spend on the task, your estimate should be 2 weeks, not 3 days.

Remember to think about dependencies between different tasks and the order of stakeholder involvement, these will also have a big impact on your overall project timeline.

Delays

Projects are typically delayed because:

  • Hours required to complete tasks are underestimated
  • Daily, weekly, monthly availabilty isn't taken into account
  • Other project become a higher priority
  • The availability of other stakeholders is out of project lead's control
  • The number or review/revision rounds is higher
  • Approvals take longer than anticipated

Adding the additional 20 per cent to your time estimate will help you mitigate any potential or unforeseen delays.

Budget

The budget needed for your project will vary largely based on the scope of the project and whether or not you will choose to work with a vendor.

With internal resources:

  • Strategy, content creation and site build services provided by Communications & Marketing and your team don't have any associated monetary cost.

With an external vendor:

  • Strategy and content creation services provided by an external vendor typically range from $5,000 to $25,000 per service and depend on the size and complexity of the site.

People

Project lead

Do you have one person to take the project from end to end and keep it on track? It’s crucial to designate one person to be the single point of contact for the project and who will act as a link between all stakeholders involved.

Project team

The project team should consist of key people from the faculty/department/program who will be involved in key aspects of the project but not the day to day.

Having a project team will help you deliver your website more efficiently. The size of your team will depend on the complexity of the site, skills and availability. Team members can be involved in specific phases of the project or throughout the entire duration of your new site creation.

The team should fill the following roles:

  • Project manager/project lead
  • Content strategist
  • Web editor/writer
  • Site builder
  • Stakeholders
  • Project sponsor

It is important to define very clearly everyone's responsibilities at the start of the project.