Whether you’re a business looking to build a world-class website or a government entity looking for a custom CMS solution that ticks all-the-boxes, finding the right CMS provider is the single most important step in your website journey. But how do you find the right partner? For government projects, website needs and budgets may need to be carefully defined in a solicitation guide for contractors. Businesses, on the other hand, often forge website proposals to send to multiple agencies.
So, what should you include in these proposals and solicitation guides? After all, choosing the right partner can make-or-break your entire website, and you need a holistic, best-fit partner to execute your website project with fervor, ambition, and purpose. Here’s the scary part: over 30% of IT projects fail to meet initial guidelines, over 45% fail to meet the budget, and a terrifying 14% outright fail. A carefully crafted website proposal and solicitation prevents website failures and gives your CMS creator a concrete guideline for your website execution.
A Checklist for Your CMS Creator
Before you start writing your website guidelines, you need to know exactly what to include. Writing any type of proposal or solicitation guideline is a monotonous, labor-intensive process. It involves plenty of workshopping, stakeholder touchpoints, and language crafting. So, despite your guideline being a make-or-break component of your website design, many public and private bodies rush through their guideline and hope to discuss downstream details with their provider in-person. That’s a bad idea. Your guideline sets the tone for your entire project. You want a thorough, well-defined project scope, and you want to include as many details as possible without overwhelming potential providers.
Let’s look at a checklist of every core component your CMS project guideline should have.
What is Your Budget?
Let’s start with the big one: budget. While capital isn’t necessarily synonymous with beautifully-designed and hyper-functional CMS websites, your budget may restrict your features. You should be upfront and honest with your budget requirements. Every website has one goal: delivering wonderfully purposeful experiences. Your budget will help determine how those experiences get delivered.
An expert CMS designer will be able to help you work within your budget. You may need to shed some “wants” and focus on less-disruptive designs if you have a low budget, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create an impactful website. If you’re honest and upfront about your overall budget, you’ll find the most appropriate CMS provider for the job.
What Are Your Aesthetic and Functional Requirements
There are two primary types of website needs: functional and aesthetic. Your functional needs involve features and your overall CMS architecture. These needs contribute to the bulk of your website. You may need custom modules, API integrations, and modular components that deliver meaningful experiences to your customers. Sit down with your stakeholders and discuss what your website needs to do in a functional capacity. Again, your CMS provider will help you immensely with this step. They have the technical experience to navigate the increasingly-complex website component ecosystem, and they’ll help you drill down and articulate the types of features you want.
Aesthetic requirements are very personal. Often, your aesthetic needs are based less on your target audience and more on your brand. Who are you? What colors, designs, and patterns represent you? And how can you leverage your brand in a very physical and aesthetic way? 86% of people say that “authenticity” is a key consideration when choosing who to do business with, and using a simple brand color can boost recognition by 80%.
Who is Your Consumer?
Touch base with your stakeholders and consider your end-user. Who is going to be using your websites? And how are they going to be using it? As an example, a public agency looking to create a public-facing news website may want to appeal to a broad, less-defined audience, while businesses often lean into buyers’ personas and target audiences. Generally, the more defined you get, the better. Websites that leverage personas are 5 times easier to use for those targeted users.
While we heavily recommend discovering your end-user upfront, this is an area that an expert CMS creator can help you with. At Mobomo, we leverage over 16,000 modules to architect one-of-a-kind Drupal-based CMS solutions. So, we have a wealth of experience in building niche, user-driven solutions for a variety of public and private bodies. We can lean on that experience to move you towards an ideal user. But it’s best to come at least semi-prepared.
Who is Your Internal User and What Are Their Needs?
Along with customers, you need to consider your internal users. For internal CMS websites, this is your entire audience. Otherwise, consider who will be using your website internally. Unfortunately, many people ignore internal requirements. Customer-facing websites often get drenched in feature-rich, hyper-visual design with tons of bells-and-whistles while internal users are left to pick apart the scraps. Clunky, outdated modules and generic UIs plague internal pages. But they shouldn’t. Creating an internal website that’s easy-to-use, engaging, and mobile-accessible can drive productivity and reduce workplace frictions.
During your proposal or pitch, discuss your internal user needs. Any industry-leading website designer will be able to deliver spectacular solutions that cater to internal users or amazing customer-facing websites with easy-to-use back-end architecture for internal developers.
Understanding Needs vs. Wants
Separate your needs from your wants. Not only does this help prioritize your features, but it gives you financial flexibility. For example, a CMS provider may see your proposal and be capable of delivering 95% of your proposal for the budget specified. Having a clear and comprehensive need vs. want structure helps them identify which areas they can exclude. Additionally, categorizing needs prevent you from being approached by providers and creators that may try to haggle with you and exclude must-have features.
Ideally, you want every single feature specified in your proposal, but that may not be possible within your budget. Give CMS providers flexibility and wiggle-room to approach you with a best-fit solution.
Mobomo Can Help You Build Your Dream CMS Website
At Mobomo, we fearlessly pursue rich experiences that go above-and-beyond expectations. Our agile-driven development process and hyper-customizable websites are intricately designed, purposefully experienced, and entirely brand-driven. Are you looking for a world-class government website or business solution?
Contact us. We’re ready to help you create websites built on fundamentally disruptive and security-driven architecture.