The Vanguard View: Insight for Association Websites

5 Tips for a Successful Association Website Redesign and CMS Migration

Posted by Ray van Hilst on Thu, Dec 01, 2011


Next week is the ASAE 2011 Technology Conference and Expo.  On Wednesday, I will co-present a session on Web Redesign and CMS Migration Best Practices with Tobin Conley from Delcor and Kathryn Hamilton from NAIOP.

We will cover a number of elements of web redesign PM best practices including managing expectations, timelines and project management tools.

As a sneak peak of our session here are 5 CMS Tips co-speaker Kathryn Hamilton is sharing as one of our session handouts:

    1. It takes a village. Building your site is more than just one department’s task. What’s important to one department is peanuts to another, and there’s value in building a team of key players and clearly defining roles. People need buy-in, and there’s no better way to get it than giving them (or at least someone in their department) a voice.

    1. Don’t go too big. The capacity and functionality of CMS are often more than you’ll ever dream of needing. Understand your requirements before you start shopping, and plan for some growth, but don’t buy the Maserati if you don’t have the skill to drive it.

    1. Your CMS won’t do magic. Sites can’t write or manage their own content, edit careless writing, or make strategic decisions. Professional skill drives the CMS bus.

    1. Consider the unknowns. What’s lurking in the back-end of your site? What are the murky integration points? Be prepared to stumble upon these mysteries in your site evaluation – best done before you get started on your CMS.

    1. Timing isn’t everything. Don’t rush your planning and implementation. It will take longer than you expect! Stay away from aggressive timelines and planning to launch your site at an annual meeting. Plan a soft launch with room for your timeline to expand!

When the Vanguard Technology team talks with our clients working on association website redesigns these are very important points we review throughout every phase of the project.  This succinct list provides a great reminder of things to consider and remember when starting off a website redesign project.

We hope to see you at our session and the conference.  If you make it there, we look forward to connecting with you and hearing your stories and experiences.

Kathryn Hamilton is Vice President for Marketing and Communications at NAIOP, the Commercial Real Estate Development Association. Email her at hamilton(at)

Ray van Hilst is Director of Client Strategy and Marketing at Vanguard Technology. Connect with him @rvanhilst or rvanhilst(at)

Topics: Ray van Hilst, Tactics, CMS, Websites

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