Times have changed. The Internet is incredibly
competitive, and the environment in which
businesses compete online is changing at
a rapid pace. Yet many business’ website
development processes remain unchanged
from the turn of the century.
To achieve Web visibility in the current
environment, the website development and
promotion life cycle must evolve and begin
using a more holistic approach.
Why a Holistic Approach is Necessary
Consider the following list of disciplines and respective professionals
required to develop and promote a website in
today’s competitive landscape:
Web Design / Development:
• Graphic Designers to create a visually appealing website.
• Programmers to ensure that various design and process
elements work together.
• Web usability experts to ensure site visitors are able to
complete tasks intuitively.
• Conversion optimization specialists to ensure maximum
conversion potential by website visitors.
• Writers and copywriters to develop content.
• Photographers and graphic designers to
create appealing visual content.
• Audio and video content developers
due to the increasing popularity of
podcasts and online videos.
• Search Engine Optimization professionals
to improve the website’s visibility
in organic search results.
• Search Engine Marketers to implement
and manage pay-per-click and
other online advertising channels.
• Social Media Professionals to leverage
the power of social networks,
community sites and other social
And, of course, we cannot leave out the primary stakeholders
of the project — the business owners and management
team, including the marketing department and public
It is this collection of various professionals and the different
skill sets they possess that calls for a holistic approach
to website development and promotion. But there’s more.
Each and every one of these stakeholders has specific
needs and requirements that must be supported by the website.
Absolutely none of these requirements are individual
entities that do not in some way require the support of other
website design or development elements, or impact these
design and development elements themselves.
This is where the transition to a holistic approach becomes
so important. The integration of all these various
needs and requirements into the website requires the individual
elements to support each other, for the common good
of the entire business.
Implementing the Holistic Approach
The implementation of a holistic Web development and promotion
project is no different than any other business initiative.
A clear understanding of the business’ objectives is
the primary prerequisite.
Once objectives have been determined, establishing
the budget for the new or redesigned website is the next priority. In many cases, due to budgeting constraints, it is at
this stage of the process that prioritization of business objectives
becomes necessary. By this stage, your business
should have a clear understanding of why the project is to
be implemented, what is to be achieved and how much the
company can afford to make the project a reality.
Effective Project Management is the Key
The holistic approach requires strong project management
skills due to the extensive number of professional disciplines
required to complete the project. The first task the project
manager will be required to complete is the identification of
the development and promotion team members.
Team development must be prioritized. The primary
principle of a holistic approach is the identification of what
website elements are required to support the needs of the
various promotional efforts to ensure the site is both highly
visible on the Web and able to fulfill the business’ and website
This may appear to be common sense. However, in my
experience, this is often not the process that is taking place.
All too often, the website goes live prematurely. Only then is
the question is asked, “How are we going to promote this
website?” This scenario often creates the need for website
revisions following the perceived completion of the project
— a waste of both time and resources.
Determining Team Requirements
Once the development and promotion teams have been determined,
team members must identify the strategies they
plan on implementing within their areas of expertise. Team
members must effectively communicate these plans and outline
their future requirements to ensure that allowances are
made for the inclusion of their proposed strategies in the
website’s development stage.
The communication of future strategies is critical, and
one of the most overlooked steps in the website’s development
life cycle. This is the primary reason websites often
need revisions after they have gone live. It not only creates
additional costs to the project, but is also likely to have a
detrimental effect on the website’s performance.
When businesses are faced with a website that underperforms,
the situation often snowballs out of control — by
this stage having spent the budgeted sum and received little
or no ROI.
This usually creates the situation where business managers
are resistant to spending additional resources on a
website that has failed to perform to expectations. Yet, if the
additional resources are not found to complete the necessary
revisions, the site will never be able to achieve the business’
goals and objectives.
A Holistic Philosophy Summary
The holistic approach to the website development and
promotion life cycle is really nothing more than common
sense. The reason why a holistic methodology has become
so important is the increasingly complex nature of the business
Gone are the days of the simple brochure website. Businesses
and site visitors have high expectations of what every
online presence should deliver. Ensuring that a website is
capable of meeting these expectations requires the implementation
of a holistic approach to manage the multitude of
website development and promotional requirements.
About the Author: In 2001, Pete Hollier started an e-commerce consultancy service
assisting New Zealand businesses to leverage the power of
the Internet. The services evolved to include Search Engine
Optimization in 2003. Pete returned to Canada, and in 2008
started SeoWizardry.ca to offer Search Engine Optimization and
other website performance enhancing services.