In reply: “how to sell [web redesign] to senior management?”

I recently began working as managing director of the web department for an institution in dire need of a web overhaul. The institution is made up of about 20 colleges. Their sites – from the main website that serves as a gateway to the individual colleges sites – all need to be (re)designed and the content moved to a CMS. I’ve been doing research, developing a plan for moving forward but have run into tremendous resistance from senior management with regards to a realistic understanding of what needs to be done and the costs involved. Anyone have any guidance on what realistic expectations for a web redesign budget should be (per site, design and coding) and how to sell it to senior management? And/or least expensive options for a site redesign.

Have you read Kristina Halvorson‘s book “Content Strategy for the Web“? The process of building a strategy around the most important part of this endeavor—the content—includes tying in business/institutional strategies and goals. If you can show how this project will support the institution at a business/strategic level, you go a long way with senior admin.

Also, the warning is inherent: You can put all the money you want into Design and CMS and Coding, but if the content sucks, you’ve wasted their money. Show how you can insure that the design/cms/etc costs are worthwhile by showing how they support a content strategy (that you developed before beginning the entire process, right?).

Someone (probably on Twitter) said that content strategy is a business asset, not just a change to your web process. Senior admin like to make decisions about business assets. Once they see your strategy for their business web content, if you show them how producing this content supports their overall strategy, they will want to know how they can protect it.

Well, you protect it with editorial staff, good design, and a CMS to run it.