Take the Pain Out of Your New Website Project

Website Project

Planning tactics to avoid time and money overages

Whether you are building a new website for your casino or revamping your current one, it’s a daunting task, and typically not an inexpensive one. If you are the lucky one responsible for making it happen, there’s so much you can do that will save you time, money and headaches.

It’s vital to have a top-notch website that’s compelling in design and user experience. Your digital marketing budget is bigger than it’s ever been, and your banners, ads, videos, Facebook posts, blogs and tweets are all driving active and potential players back to your website; so if the site is not the best it can be already, you are feeling the pressure to upgrade it quickly.

First, please understand that there is no “quickly” when building a website. But the planning tactics I’m about to share are designed to accelerate the process once it gets to your chosen website vendor/partner, because if you are undecided or unprepared when that clock starts ticking, it’s costing you time and money unnecessarily.

To start the process, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you need a new Content Management System? Is yours outdated or less than user-friendly?
  • Where is the new site going to be hosted?
  • Which photos from your current website or your branding library do you want to use on the new website?
  • Do you need to have a photo shoot? A full property refresh, or just key areas like remodeled rooms?
  • Do you plan to use any stock photos? If so, don’t forget to budget for those.
  • Are you going to shoot new in-room video or property tours? (If so, check out the cool, new 360° cameras).
  • What copy from the current website do you want to use, and what pages need new copy written?
  • Is someone internally going to handle website updating, or do you need to look at a website maintenance option?
  • At what point do you need to get IT involved?

Now that you know the assets that you have and the assets that you’ll need, we can get to the nuts and bolts. If you follow these essential steps before you send out your RFP, you’ll save yourself time, money and headaches:

  1. Make a site map of your current website so that you can have a linear view of the number of pages you currently have and how deep your website visitors have to go to get the information they need – a good reality check
  2. Make a detailed list of everything that you like and dislike about your current site, from functionality to colors, photos, content organization, etc.
  3. Ask some of your players what they like and dislike about your site; invite them into your host office to get their first-hand impressions (you’ll get great info and engage your players in a very positive way by asking their opinions)
  4. Make a list of “inspiration” websites – sites you love for one reason or another, maybe it’s the color scheme of this one and players club login of that one etc.; what are your players’ favorite casino websites and why?
  5. Research website visitation patterns for your current site – Google Analytics provides this information and understanding the behavior patterns will tell you what pages are most popular and where people go from page to page
  6. If you don’t have a players club login function or want to add deeper features with a player portal, work with your system manufacturer, regulatory body and IT team ahead of time to really understand what is going to be possible to do with the new website
  7. Make a list of all systems that need to be integrated like players club, hotel, dinner, spa reservations etc. with contact info for each one
  8. Gather and organize your photo and video assets – create a library of photos and videos that you want to use on the new website and label them with simple, descriptive names i.e. “double queen room”, “burger from The Grill”.
  9. Create a Word doc with any and all copy from your current website that you want to use again on your new site

Mark Astone