The Quick Guide To Website Project Management in 2024

Annalisa Pacini
Last Updated:
April 23, 2024

When it comes to management of website projects, focusing on visual appeal is not enough.

Instead, delivering a website that resonates with the customer's target audience (i.e. potential customers for the business) and optimizing for converting visitors into leads should be your top priorities.

Let’s see how website project management has changed over time and uncover 11 key ingredients necessary for crafting a successful website that your customers will love.

How Website Project Management Was Done Traditionally

Websites have come a long way since their inception. 

From static HTML pages in the 90s to dynamic web applications in the 2010s, the evolution of web technology has revolutionized the way businesses engage with their audiences. 

Similarly, the approach to managing website projects has also changed.

Waterfall methodologies?

Gone for good.

Each phase of the project was completed sequentially, which made sense conceptually.

But it also meant slow progress and zero communication—leading to outright bad outcomes.

How Website Project Management Should Be Done Today

At the heart of modern website project management is a set of core principles that guide the entire process from conception to launch to continued iteration and development:

  • User-centric design: When you're designing a website, the user is the thing you should obsess with the most. Every decision made throughout the project should be driven by the desires of your target audience and by empathizing with the users’ needs, creating experiences that resonate on a personal level.
  • Open communication: Successful website projects require collaboration across various disciplines, including design, development, marketing, and content creation.

Collaboration should not only exist within the team but also between the team and the client. That's easier said than done as email often causes a lot of communication mishaps, leading to lots of back and forth via Zoom calls and a lot of time wasted talking instead of doing.

Client portal platforms like ManyRequests solve this problem at the root thanks to a project management approach that links the customer's website project directly to the tasks assigned and assets delivered—allowing the client to actually participate in the process actively.

  • Data analysis: Decisions should be based on empirical evidence rather than intuition. By collecting and analyzing user data with behavior analytics tools like Hotjar or Microsoft Clarity, project managers can gain valuable insights into user behavior, preferences, and pain points, allowing them to make informed decisions and iterate on the designs quickly.
  • Continuous improvement: Launching a website is just the beginning. To stay ahead of the competition and meet the evolving needs of users, project managers must embrace a mindset of continuous improvement. By monitoring performance metrics, focusing on user feedback, and iterating on the design, websites can evolve over time to deliver results for the business.
  • Agile methodologies: Although nothing new, agile methodologies are also fundamental to approach a modern project. These methodologies, such as Scrum or Kanban, promote iterative development and continuous improvement, rather than a model that adheres to a rigid plan.

To make project management easier, platforms like ManyRequests aim to streamline client management processes, promoting collaboration between team members, freelancers and clients.

manyrequests client portal communication website management

The 11 Core Steps of a Modern Website Project

Let’s organize a modern website project in 11 steps:

Step #1: Listening to the client

Effective communication with the client is essential to understanding their goals, objectives, and vision for the website. This initial phase, which interests mostly project managers, account managers, and client-facing team members, involves conducting discovery workshops, stakeholder interviews, and requirements gathering sessions to align expectations (this is done using tools such as project brief templates, questionnaires, and stakeholder interview guides to facilitate the process).

Source: FungiDube

The primary goal of this phase is to gain a comprehensive understanding of the client's vision, target audience, brand identity, and desired outcomes. Active listening and thoughtful questioning are essential for ensuring a clear understanding of the client's needs and preferences.

Step #2: Doing market & user research

After understanding your client's needs, make sure you get a better grip on their market. Conducting thorough market research and user testing is crucial to gaining insights into the target audience and competitive landscape.

This process involves analyzing demographic data, conducting surveys and interviews, and studying competitor websites to identify trends, opportunities, and gaps in the market.

The goal is to get the context necessary for later stages in the process, e.g. creating the brand’s positioning which is entirely dependent on how you want the customer to propose itself to the market.

Step #3: Positioning the brand

Now that you know the client and the landscape, it’s time to position the brand: defining the brand identity, value proposition, and messaging for the website is critical to establishing a strong online presence.

This involves establishing a unique message that sets the brand apart from competitors, but also developing brand guidelines, style guides, and tone of voice documents that ensure consistency across all touchpoints.

Brand strategists, marketing specialists, and copywriters usually conduct brand workshops, audits, or competitor analysis to define the brand's core values, personality, and tone of voice.

That’s why doing market research before this step is so useful!

Step #4: Strategizing the website’s UX

If the user is the most important consideration when designing a website, prioritizing the creation of a comprehensive UX strategy is essential. This may involve mapping out user personas, user journeys, and wireframes to visualize the ideal user experience and identify potential pain points.

During this phase, UX designers, information architects, and interaction designers play a critical role.

They conduct user interviews, persona workshops, and UX audits to gain insights into user needs and behaviors, ultimately developing user journey maps and wireframes to visualize the user experience.

Source: Medium

I can’t stress enough how important this phase is.

It’s the pivotal point that triggers all the value of the website’s project downstream.

Step #5: Writing the copy

Now it's time to write the copy. 

Compelling and engaging copy is essential for capturing the attention of users and effectively conveying the brand message. In this phase, copywriters, content strategists, and SEO specialists work together to create clear, concise, and persuasive copy that resonates with the target audience.

This will all be based on the brand’s positioning (step #3). It may also involve conducting keyword research and messaging workshops to identify recurring key themes and messages.

Later on you’ll also want to develop a content strategy and editorial calendar

However, focus on the key messages and sales copy first, then integrate them in future content.

Step #6: Wireframing the website

Using wireframes and prototypes helps you visualize the layout and structure of the website before it goes out. It’s fundamental to modern website project management and gives you a tool to share with customers before you flesh out visual details like colors, button style, fonts, etc.

Source: SmartDraw

From sketching out the key pages and user flows to ensuring optimal navigation and usability, this part of the process involves UX designers, interaction designers or information architects skilled in visual design, prototyping and usability testing.

During this phase, they design the layout and structure of the website to optimize usability and navigation, developing low-fidelity representations of the website to iterate on and gather feedback.

Try Sketch, Figma, or Balsamiq for this type of work.

Step #7: Setting up the CMS

As we move from wireframing to prototyping and implementation, selecting and configuring the right content management system (CMS) becomes crucial for efficient website management.

Note: You shouldn’t start creating the actual pages yet!

A good CMS offers intuitive interfaces and user-friendly features, helping users organize website content without the need for highly specialized technical skills.

The above is a fundamental requirement of all CMSs.

However, depending on the business, certain systems are better than others.

It's essential to evaluate various options based on factors like functionality, scalability, and ease of use. Once the CMS is selected, get it up and running and set it up with the brand’s assets.

Ultimately, the goal of this phase is to ensure that the chosen CMS meets the specific needs of the project and is operationally ready for the upcoming design and development phases.

Step #8: Creating a design system

Developing a coherent design system helps to maintain consistency throughout the website.

This is the job for UI designers, graphic designers, and brand specialists and it involves defining design principles, color palettes, typography, and UI components to create a cohesive visual language that reflects the brand’s identity and enhances the user experience.

During this phase, it’s important to define all the elements of the design system, from its principles to the UI component libraries, and to make sure they align with the brand identity and UX strategy.

The team will use specific tools such as Sketch or Figma to create design assets and style guides that document design decisions and ensure consistency across all touchpoints.

A creative project management platform like ManyRequests can help you share these assets with the customer in an interactive way to provide feedback quickly and move the project forward.

Step #9: Implementing CMS components

Back to the content management system! 

Now that we have the design system, the development team will start integrating custom modules and functionalities into the CMS to make the entire vision a reality..

All of the hard work you’ve done is about to pay off, so it’s important to do this right.

You want to develop modules that keep layout consistency but allow full content replacement.

(Remember, customers should be able to change all the content themselves.)

Contact forms, search functionality, and interactive elements are all features worth developing and implementing to enhance the website’s usability, user engagement and drive conversions.

During this phase, web developers and CMS specialists play a crucial role.

Step #10: Setting up page templates

Designing and implementing reusable page templates makes the customer’s life a lot easier, helping them streamline the content creation process and ensure consistency across the website.

This involves creating templates for different types of content—such as blog posts, product pages, and landing pages—that can be easily customized and updated as needed, helping with the website’s maintenance.

In modern website project management, re-usability is the name of the game. That’s why everything is a “component” or “module”: consistent layout and styling, different variants and content.

Source: Liferay learn

There’s a whole design philosophy behind this.

Front-end developers, web designers, and UX designers design page templates based on wireframes and design mockups, taking into account content hierarchy, visual hierarchy, and usability principles, using front-end development tools such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript frameworks, along with CMS templating languages and documentation, to create and implement page templates.

Step #11: Optimizing for SEO

Once the website is ready, it’s time to make sure it will be seen by your audience.

Optimizing the website for search engines is essential to improving its visibility and driving organic traffic.

Conducting keyword research and optimizing on-page elements such as meta tags and headings to improve search engine rankings are all fundamental steps even as website designers..

SEO specialists, content strategists, and web developers also implement technical SEO best practices such as site speed optimization, mobile optimization, and schema markup.

Launching Your New Website Without a Hitch

You’ve made it this far, congrats!

Launching a new website is a significant milestone, but it's also a critical moment that requires careful planning and execution. All of the management efforts are about to pay off.

To ensure a successful launch, here are some best practices:

  • Conduct thorough testing: Test the website across different devices, browsers, and screen sizes to identify and address any issues before launch.
  • Perform performance optimization: Optimize the website's performance by making sure it runs as smoothly as possible. Focus on minimizing page load times, optimizing images, and leveraging caching and content delivery networks (CDNs).
  • Coordinate with clients: Communicate with your customer, developers and marketing team to ensure everyone is aligned and prepared for the launch.
  • Develop a launch plan: Create a detailed launch plan that outlines the steps to be taken before, during, and after the launch—including backup procedures.
  • Monitor post-launch performance: When the website is out, make sure to track key performance metrics such as engagement and conversions to gauge the success of the launch and identify areas for improvement. Maintenance of the website is just as important as its creation.

By following these steps and best practices, you can ensure a seamless and successful launch that sets the stage for long-term success. And if you want to give your design team the extra motivation to deliver amazing website experiences, try out ManyRequest’s creative agency software, no card required.

It’s made specifically for designers like you!