How to stay on track and on time by phasing projects
The larger projects online publishers face when becoming multiplatform publishers are often broken into multiple phases to keep the work manageable and the project moving along. Phasing brings focus to the work as it helps employees avoid mental exhaustion that can occur with large, daunting projects.
When building Haven Nexus systems for our clients, we are often transforming a standalone website into a fully integrated multiplatform publishing and marketing system. This isn’t exactly a small task, so we focus on a few phases to prioritize and stay focused.
The phasing process
Before our programmers and developers embark on creating new systems, the requirements of the project need to be specified.
All projects begin with strategic planning
At Mequoda, no system development project begins without first embarking on a 60-day Strategic Planning program, where we identify your business and revenue goals and decide together how to grow your existing business into a successful multiplatform business. We first need to understand the various revenue streams and model out how the revenue will grow before we can select the modules and managers you will need to meet those goals.
The result of this 60-day engagement is to provide a 5-year Business Plan that is the roadmap for growing your media business. Using the same 7 strategies we teach at the Intensive and in our flagship handbook, we build and plan your successful multiplatform publishing business. The plans we provide for our hand-selected Strategic Planning clients include the following components, which we refer to as CAROTME:
- Content Strategy
- Audience Strategy
- Revenue Strategy
- Organizational Strategy
- Technology Strategy
- Measurement Strategy
- Economic Strategy
Once the business plan and Mequoda System has been green-lighted, it’s time for the System Design Phase.
After receiving any specific client deliverables, such as logos, images and rules that are necessary to the branding of the enterprise online, the System Design team will begin a mock-up of the website homepage and the copywriter will begin working on the sales copy for the associated web pages. After the homepage design is complete, an approval of the mock-up will be expected.
After approval is given, the System Configuration Phase will begin. In this phase, the system will be developed including all of the specifications from the previous phases to forge a unique, branded system.
The Operator Training Phase comes next. Haven Nexus systems come with fully customized user manuals and your Systems Director (your single point of contact in developing and maintaining your system) provides all members of your team with the training necessary to use and administer Haven Nexus.
Next comes the Content Loading Phase where search-optimized content gets loaded into the system. This includes free portal content, freemiums and freemium promotion. Premium content also gets loaded, along with any e-commerce or event sales pages. This phase may reoccur right before launch.
After the prototype is developed, the System Integration Phase takes over. This is where content management systems will be integrated with other systems the online publisher requires. These systems would include email management systems like WhatCounts, fulfillment systems like Quickfill or SFG, or credit card processing solutions like PayPal that allow online publishers to monetize their publications by selling products.
After the system is built, personalized and integrated with all the necessary components, it’s time for the System QA Phase. This phase allows the technology team working on the website to determine if everything is working properly.
If all parts are working separately and harmoniously together, the site is ready for the next phase, known respectfully as the Launch Phase.
At this point the system is ready to be shown to the online world where it can share content, sell products, develop a community and create a location for like-minded individuals to interact with one another.
It isn’t unheard of for lots of mock-ups to be made before the building out of a system to occur.
Once the site is launched, the System Optimization Phase begins, and is ongoing.
System Optimization revolves around your ACEM and your ADAS. Let me explain:
Getting your team focused on ACEM metrics is the path to success. Mequoda Systems come with the following ongoing system optimization ACEM metrics, and these are metrics any successful publisher tracks:
Attract: Google Visibility Index is tracked monthly for your entire website, each uber category, each primary cluster and each phrase in your Keyword Universe.
Capture: Email Capture rate is reported overall for the entire website and for each of the keyword-centric conversion zones on your audience development portal.
Engage: Email Retention Rate is calculated for each of your email newsletter segments.
Monetize: Revenue per Subscriber is calculated at the enterprise level and by each of your major revenue streams.
Mequoda Systems also track successes through an Audience Development Analytics Suite (ADAS) which is composed of more than half a dozen distinct reports. The suite of reports provides insights for publishers, editors and audience development professionals to create and deliver content that drives the most website traffic. ADAS reports are updated monthly and include but aren’t limited to:
- Google Visibility Report
- Keyword Performance Report:
- Content Performance Report:
- Traffic Source Report:
- Zone Conversion Report
- Referrals Report
- eCommerce Analytics Suite (ECAS)
- Registered User Life-Time Value
- Broad-match Sales Report
- Revenue by OSID
- Revenue by ASID
- Revenue by Product
This process of system optimization is ongoing, but the metrics are reviewed every month. There is no “end” to this final phase.
Now that you understand the process of phasing projects, it’s time to realize which content management system is right for you. If you’re a niche mulitplatform publisher, Haven Nexus may be an option worth exploring. It comes loaded with all Mequoda’s best practice 3C Zone Architecture built in, and includes planning your content, too. What other developer offers both? Schedule a call with me to talk more about it.
This post was originally published in 2010 and is updated frequently.