Evaluating Your Current Website
by CF Foundry
If you're working with CF Foundry on a website redesign, the first thing that we'll talk about is performing an evaluation of your current website to see what direction we need to go in for the development of the new site. This blog posting guides you through that process and can serve as a resource even for those that may be doing their website redesign.
Overall, the key is how you would describe the current website. What are the current problems with the website? What business needs are not being met by the current site? Does the site accurately reflect your product and/or services? Is your brand presented well and accurately in the site? What customers and markets does your site service? To get a clear picture of how your site is serving you and your business needs, several pieces of information can be collected.
Make sure that you have a visual sitemap of the website. This a diagram with icons for web pages, content sections and their hierarchical relationship. You don't need to model every and every page and section of your website, but the more information that is provided in the diagram, the better identified you content areas will be and it will help identify the proper scope for content changes with the new site development.
When creating your visual sitemap there are several tools available that will scan your site and create a sitemap for you. These tools are very helpful as they will follow every link in your site ("spidering" the site) to find all of the content. In addition, they can identify current issues with the site, such as broken links reference missing content.
Review Website Infrastructure - Be prepared to document the website technology infrastructure for the following items (where applicable):
- Web platform (ex. LAMP, .NET, J2EE)
- Applications (ex. CRM, Knowledge Management (KM), marketing automation, etc.)
- Custom scripting
- Hosted services
- User authentication (LDAP, Kerberos, Active Directory, etc.)
- Content Management System (CMS)
- Hosting facilities
- Web developer tools used by support staff
- Analytics or other reporting services
Identify any special functionality or restricted areas of the site that provide special business functionality. This may include lead generation or other marketing activities, restricted access information portals, etc. For anything that has restricted access, all user roles and associated content access needs to be documented to ensure it meets the current and future planned business requirements and is replicated, or improved as necessary, in the future website.
The better you analyze and document the current website, the better position you will be in to implement the necessary changes in content, technology, and services in the new website.