Budget is a bit of a double-edge sword. On one hand, you could say it is the most important focus area because without adequate money or resources, nothing else would be possible. But, on the other hand, budget is budget. You have what you have and that doesn’t change the scope of what you should be doing to successfully manage your website. For that reason we put budget last on this list of focus areas. As you develop your site management plan, it’s best to consider all your options for success with an open mind. Then, as you work on implementing and prioritizing your plan, let your budget limitations factor into those decisions.
For a company with a very limited budget, the challenge is going to be how to spend those resources wisely. In that scenario, it’s absolutely imperative that the organization’s leaders are directly involved in planning and executing. They can’t afford to waste budget on poorly designed website efforts that need to be rolled back. They may also need to hire team members that can fulfill two or more roles on the website management roster, possibly as part time employees or contractors. And their technology decisions may tend toward open-source and less expensive solutions. And their tools and processes will likely be limited but all the more important as drivers of efficiency.
For an organization with a larger budget the challenges will be different. Even the most well-funded website management program will have challenges deciding how to use those resources. If a business is able to fund a robust digital marketing program, the budgeting of money, time and personnel should be determined by the results that organization needs to realize.
Here is an example, loosely based on one of Tenrec’s client engagements, that illustrates how budgeting can play out:
The leadership of a global professional services firm has found that their current website platform doesn’t meet their needs. It’s too inflexible and changes are taking too long to implement. They need a more agile solution and one that they can manage internally, with some help from an outside team. They don’t need a new design.
The firm hires an outside consultant to help them analyze their needs, goals and budget to determine the best path forward. Together, based on that analysis, they review and select the next platform. The firm plans to hire an outside team to re-platform the site. They also plan to train internal team members on managing the new system and its content. The firm determines that it won’t use internal resources to manage security, software updates and other technical aspects of the site’s backend so plans to hire an outside agency for those services. Resources and budget are then allocated for executing the plan over a five year period.
Because this organization wasn’t budget restrained, the plan was defined by the results they needed to achieve. Where costs were found to exceed their budget, the plan was adjusted and cuts were made. If projected costs had been lower than anticipated, additional initiatives, such as a search engine marketing campaign or marketing automation effort, might have been added to enhance the effort.
The important takeaway is that starting to define your website management program with a budget in place will limit your ability to see the opportunities that are available. Instead, create a comprehensive plan that is designed to meet your organization’s goals and KPI’s. Then craft that plan to meet your budget constraints, prioritizing the highest value items and deprioritizing lower value items that can be added back into your program at a later date.