Scoping your website better

Writing a better website scope

I have noticed that, despite the advances in use of the web and how many people use the internet every day for both personal and business use, preparing a workable and practical website scope to build a new site or to fix an existing one is something missing in most skill sets.

That’s understandable, but it doesn’t remove the need for that to be improved, so I figured now is as good a time as any to fix it.

So why don’t people invest more in building better website scopes?

There are several reasons that people don’t;

  • Time
  • Understanding
  • How to do it

Time

Preparing any good plan (for anything in business) takes time and a degree of effort. Time is also something we are apparently poor in, so preparing a good scope or plan for your web site seems too hard.

Understanding

There are several schools of thought that affect many people. Too easy is one. This is where sites are supposedly very easy to ‘knock up’ so investing a lot of time in them doesn’t make sense. Another is that it is too technical for them so people shrug it off as too hard or assign it to more ‘technical’ people. In a world where we all use highly powerful computing devices daily this is a cop out.

Some people claim they don’t get much from their web sites or don’t see how it will help them. Despite the obvious, that this approach is a self fulfilling prophecy, there is the need to get educated and understand that in many cases this is absolute rubbish and quite simply not doing a good job is going to cause more problems.

How to do it

Uncertainty of exactly what constitutes a website scope or good website development plan is probably the other key factor that holds back site owners and marketing teams from preparing such documents.

When I stated researching this topic I couldn’t find anything complete or practical that I could give to anyone to help either so it isn’t surprising people are struggling to do it.

So I have started preparing a way for you to document and plan your site better.

Why is this important?

  • It helps developers pick the right platform for you
  • It sets clear expectations of what you are trying to achieve (and something to measure)
  • Helps to create a more realistic way to look at the work required
  • It highlights how much you do or don’t know about your digital side of business
  • It helps everyone make better decisions

When you layout requirements and confirm exactly how they are to be used and what benefits you expect from them then it becomes much easier to determine whether or not you are meeting your goals.

A scope isn’t necessarily a massive technical document and many developers will add additional information to your scope to lock in the development process they will use, but that Is what you will pay them to know.

A scope will ultimately answer this one question:

What do we want from our website?

That is really what a website scope is. It is a written or documented way to answer that question.

Thus this series has come about and the subsequent posts, videos and guides are being produced to help you know how to do this better for your self or in conjunction with your agency.

While I would like everyone to allocate a real budget for their site (see my video: How much does a website really cost), this isn’t always possible. So hopefully this series will help you in getting together a much better brief and working better with your web team.

Of course if you don’t want to write your own website scope / plan that’s fine. You have two choices; a) Get a bad result for your investment or b) Pay for the scope to get built for you.

If it’s is choice (b) I’d be happy to help do it for you, and if you choose (a) then I look forward to providing this information in the coming posts and would love to hear your feedback on what you would like to see in this series.

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See our “Complete Guide to Website Planning“. A Free Online guide to help you set goals and plan your next website

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