A strong strategy assesses the following questions and uses the answers to inform how to approach creating your website. The effectiveness of your strategy is the the foundation for your site success. Websites that do not elevate in outcomes invariably did not have rigourous effort put into the strategy.
For some, producing a new website is a simple task. Yet others may find it to be a daunting, complex process. Whatever the skill level of the individuals in your department who are involved with the project, it is crucial to the site’s success that team members are on the same page. This means knowing exactly what it is you are trying to achieve through your new website.
By understanding your organization’s needs and core messages, as well as the needs of your users, your website will better serve both your organization and your visitors. The end result will be to realize the outcomes you hope to obtain from your new website.
Maybe your department is looking to produce content that will attract the best and brightest faculty or staff. Perhaps your goal is to show potential staff members the benefits of working for your organization. Maybe you hope to attract new donors, or retain existing contributors.
Whatever the desired result, it’s important to have a focus. The Discovery process of the Digital Communications Transformation helps you achieve that.
This is where you will employ research to inform the business strategy—or the key needs—for your new website. You’ll want all content on your site to strategically align with your business strategy.
Discovery is achieved by a team of people who possess a range of skills and expertise. This team collaborates to gather the information necessary for creating a framework for decision making.
Your Discovery team should include these key roles:
In this course you will learn how to how to create strategic objectives for your website that support your business needs, as well as those of your audience
You’ll benefit by learning:
This is no "right" way to build a business case. Whatever works for your unit and your site is the right approach. However, that said, there are several key areas of thought you do want to include in order to ensure you are informing the building blocks of a website that works in the way you need it to.
Business strategies can be created at the Unit level, with individual sites/departments in their business strategy referencing the unit strategy and detailing points specific to their department OR each site can do an individual business strategy. The approach is up to the Unit Web Leader (UWL) of the unit.
At minimum consider articulating:
If you have the time and resources we suggest also:
Included in our resources are 2 templates, you can use them or utilize a format that makes sense for your unit, as well as a link to request sample busienss strategies.
Please note that business strategies are:
With your Discovery team in place, you now can proceed through the five steps that will help you identify your department’s strategic needs—the whole purpose for your new website. These key points will help you stay focused on what’s important.
Following these steps doesn’t have to be an onerous process. By seeing that everyone within your department is on the same page, you can be sure that your new website will have a sharp focus, one that will make it useful to your visitors, while providing your organization with the outcomes it seeks.
Think of it as mapping out the route to your family vacation destination: You know where you want to end up; all you have to do is perform the research and draw up the best route that will get you there. That’s the process of Discovery.
The business strategies can be created at the Unit level, with individual sites/departments in their business strategy referencing the unit strategy and detailing points specific to their department OR each site can do an individual business strategy. The approach is up to the Unit Web Leader (UWL) of the unit. Below are 2 templates, you can use them or utilize a format that makes sense for your unit.
Learn from the UB groups that have already invested time and resources navigating the Discovery process. Read through their white papers and review their business strategies, looking for ideas that you can borrow for your own website. Want to see a strategy from a "bird of a feather" unit?