Building a new website? Tips for choosing who to have on your team—Part 2
In Part 1 of this series, we discussed why it’s important to have the right people in the room (and the wrong people far outside it) when you’re developing a new website for your small to mid-sized business or non-profit organization.
The larger your organization, the more distinct the roles will be. For smaller teams, people will wear multiple hats. In either case, it’s important to keep the skill sets and responsibilities organized and defined in a logical way.
The most critical part of the team, the Enforcer motivates everyone. The Enforcer is the pivot point and the leader. They develop milestones, they keep the schedules, they task people with deliverables, and they track progress.
In a small team with little knowledge of web development processes, this role is usually fulfilled by a hired web developer who can map the typical trajectory of a site with the scope outlined. In larger teams, it might be an IT manager, marketing manager, or someone else at managerial level who has access to anyone needing to provide content for the website.
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The Analyst helps plot the course—they’re all about strategy, but also know when to be cautious. Knowledge of user experience and the target market is key here. This person is on the web developer’s team and brings strong filter abilities to the table. They know how to compile data that will affect the overall structure and goals of the website, they’re savvy about SEO and best practices for technology to get the job done, but they also know how to filter through common distractions.
The Analyst will listen to all ideas, take in what’s critical, and put less critical ideas on the back burner. In group discussions, the Analyst can be heard saying, “Let’s table that for now. What we’re focusing on now is ____.” They also know pitfalls to look out for, common errors and things that can stymie a project’s progress.
Also a member of the web developer’s team, the Artist designs the overall look and feel of the website. Graphics, fonts, color palette, structure—all centered around user experience—the Artist brings ideas to life in conceptual visual form. They sort out how to arrange elements on a page not just aesthetically but logically. (The Artist is NOT the guy in-house who has an opinion on blue.)
It is, however, the Artist’s job to steer people toward understanding, from a brand standpoint, why their aesthetic choices make sense for the message the brand wants to send—via not just the website, but also after the fact: social media, email marketing, etc. The Artist might also coordinate photography needs, either stock art or hiring a photographer.
Sometimes the Gatherer and the Enforcer are the same person. The Gatherer is tasked with working to get all the content from relevant in-house people. They coordinate the effort to, if necessary, irritate the hell out of each and every person responsible for delivering page content to the developer—on time. They organize the content in a way that allows for quick and easy layout during the site build.
These are the in-house gurus, perhaps a step away from the core team itself, working with the Enforcer and the Gatherer to provide the guts of the site’s copy. The people in the field or on the floor who work with customers. They provide critical insight on customer needs and details about programs, products, and services.
Their written deliverables may not be editorially perfect or consistent, but that’s not their job. With the help of the Wordsmith and the Builder, they fill out the need-to-know details that will inform the user.
The (Online) Wordsmith
The Wordsmith takes the written content, in whatever form, and develops it into SEO-friendly and easily consumable web copy. It should be common knowledge now that writing for online purposes is very different than writing narrative fiction or long-form white papers. The Wordsmith knows how to transform the Brains’s copy into content that Google will eat with a big spoon, interlacing it with keywords and keyword phrases.
Working with the Analyst (sometimes the same person), the Builder takes the content delivered, the goals, and the Artist’s concepts to build carefully laid out pages. Code is their main language (and they prefer their mole holes to interaction with actual humans), so they probably work behind the scenes with the web development team to bring the site to life. They likely inform the Analyst in early stages as to how (and if) a function can be introduced as part of the site.
The site is done. Um… now what? You have to get it out there! And that’s where the Promoter comes in. Typically either an in-house marketing person or a third-party PR / Marketing professional, the Promoter devises strategy, tactics, and—with the help of the Wordsmith and the Artist—copy and graphics to announce the launch of your new baby.
The Promoter works with the Analyst to understand the brand goals that the site was built around, and then puts a plan in place to deliver on those by communicating them to the intended target audience. They are as much Educator as Marketing Professional.
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