February 23, 2023

Websites: The Handover Process and What it Entails

Unpacking the steps taken when a municipal website is transferred from one supplier to the next; the steps it entails and how to go about securing a smooth process.

Handing over an existing website design for government, to a web design agency like Town Web can be a daunting task. The process can be time-consuming and requires careful planning and execution to ensure a smooth transition. The length of the process is largely determined by the scope of the brief and the complexity of the design. However, there are certain steps that need to be followed to ensure a successful handover.

Firstly, it is important to provide a clear and concise brief to the web design agency. This should include details about the current website, including its purpose, target audience, and any existing problems or limitations as well as integrations, must-haves and plans for the future. The brief should also outline the desired look and feel of the new website, including any branding guidelines or design preferences.

Once the brief has been agreed upon, the web design agency will begin working on the design of the new website. This typically involves creating a series of wireframes or mockups that illustrate the layout and functionality of the site. These designs will be shared with the client for feedback and approval.

It is important to note that the design process can take some time, particularly if the website is complex or requires a lot of custom development and design work. However, it is essential to get the design right before moving on to the next stage of the process.

Once the design has been done and approved, the next step is to transfer the data from the existing website to the new one. This is a critical stage and needs to be done carefully to ensure that all of the necessary data is transferred correctly. To make the process as simple as possible, it is important to set up the data entry system beforehand. This involves identifying the required fields and ensuring that the data is properly formatted. Having an appointed contact person to deal with general everyday questions makes this process much easier!  It is important to remember that not all data needs to be transferred to the new website. It is often a good idea to take this opportunity to review the existing data and remove any outdated or irrelevant information. This can help to streamline the new website and make it more user-friendly.

Once the data transfer is complete, the new website will be staged. This involves setting up the site on a test server so that the owners can preview it and provide feedback. During this stage, it is important to encourage feedback from all stakeholders, including staff and board members. This feedback can be used to make final tweaks and adjustments to the site before it goes live. The staging process may take some time, particularly if there are a lot of changes to be made. However, it is essential to get the site right before it goes live to ensure that it meets the needs of all stakeholders.

Tips to Remember When Choosing a Service Provider

  1. Finding an established enterprise with solid reviews and a speciality is the first step. 
  2. As a municipality, your needs are unique: team up with a specialized supplier to ensure you get access to the tools and technology that are available to make “Clerk-work” easier. Industries have different website needs, like website design for government require meeting minutes and agendas to be readily available. Also ask about emergency alerts, security compliance and accessibility of the website.
  3. Is the backend user-friendly? What is the support service like? Having friendly, competent support is a must-have! 

Transferring Domains and its Benefits

Transferring your domain when changing web design hosts can offer a variety of benefits. 

  1. It provides the municipality with complete control over their website's domain and avoids any potential confusion that may arise from hosting and domain registration being handled by different companies. 
  2. Secondly, it has the potential to be a cost saving step by consolidating all of your website-related expenses into one. Many companies are able to provide a package deal or a discount if you choose more than one service from them. 
  3. It can help prevent any interruptions in the website's availability by ensuring that the domain's settings are properly configured to point to your new hosting provider. 
  4. Finally, transferring the domain can also offer increased security, as you will have full access to manage and secure your domain's settings, including the ability to add or modify DNS records, SSL certificates, and other security features to protect your website and its visitors. 

Transferring your domain when changing web design hosts can overall simplify the management of your website and help ensure a smooth transition to your new hosting provider. This is especially true for municipalities, where the Clerk wear many hats, and when website design for government are hosted and managed by an organization knowledgeable in the field, it's one less thing Clerks need to worry about.

In conclusion, handing over an existing municipal website to a web design agency like Town Web requires careful planning and execution. The length of the process is largely determined by the scope of the brief and the complexity of the design. However, by providing a clear and concise brief, getting the design right, carefully transferring the data, and staging the site for feedback, it is possible to create a new website that meets the needs of your community.

Town Web is seasoned and specialized web design agency: making Clerks lives easier, with beautiful yet practical website design, accessible websites and hosting - all in one! Contact us today!

Town Web services are approved for use with ARPA funds!