Website Needs Assessment

Summary of “Website Needs Assessment”

You’re building your website with a purpose.  You have goals you want to achieve with your website.  You have a mission you want to achieve for your organization and your website should help you to achieve your mission.  So, as you begin the process of creating a new website, it’s important that you take a few minutes to assess what you want your website to do and what you need on your site to accomplish this.

Your Website Needs Assessment:

1. What is the purpose of your website?
It is crucial to know why you have the website.  You will have a lot of options with your site and this will help you to know what you absolutely need and what may end up being a distraction.

2. What are your immediate needs on the website?
Make a list of what you want your website to do for you.  Be imaginative, you may be surprised at what a good developer can do.  Once you’ve made the list, determine what things are critical and what would be nice, but may not be necessary.  Depending on your budget, you may need to make some decisions about what to have on your site.

3. What are the long term needs/desires you have for your website?
Don’t just think about what you need or want now.  Think about what you are hoping to do with your business or organization in the coming years and consider what you may need your website to do in a year or two.  You want your website to be able to grow with you.

4. How much time and work can you put into your website right now?
Even when you have someone else designing and building your site, creating a new site can take a considerable amount of time an effort, such as creating content for the various pages of your website; so, plan realistically.  Also… (see next item)

5. How can your website help you do what you are already doing?
There may be things that are taking your time now, which your new website can help with, thus saving you time.  If you think it will take 3 hours a week for you to create new content for your site while it’s being built and you can save 3 hours a week by using a eNewsletter feature, online registration forms, or other features, it’s not taking up any additional time.

6. Who will be maintaining your site?
Everyone needs to know who is responsible for what, both during the website building process and after the site is launched.  This cuts down on confusion and frustration and ensures things get done.

By performing this website needs assessment before you start building your site, you can ensure that you site has the features you need, you aren’t overwhelmed, and the site will be well maintained going into the future.  So, take a few minutes to sit down and think about these questions and write down the answers.

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Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as .

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