How to Run the Ultimate Website Workshop with Website Exercises

Category

Web Design

Read Time

23 min

Published

04 April, 2024

Conducting a website workshop is key for any business, as your website is often a customer’s first point of contact with you.

It’s important to remember that your website is much more than just its design and layout.

Fundamentally, it’s about the user experience—how visitors perceive, interact, and respond to your website, ultimately driving them to engage.

The Website Workshop Bundle

Running a website workshop is key to make sure everyone working on your website is aligned and working towards the sa...

However, achieving a seamless and impactful website requires strategic planning.

It hinges on factors such as:

  • A robust website structure
  • A well-defined target audience
  • Compelling content and messaging

These are just a few of the critical aspects we’ll delve into through practical website exercises, ensuring a comprehensive approach to your website strategy.

Even if you believe certain teams, like customer service or technical, may not require the same level of insight as your marketing and sales teams, think again.

That’s why we’re presenting you with the ultimate website workshop bundle, designed to facilitate the most effective learning experience for all participants.

Let’s dive in.

What Is a Website Workshop?

A website workshop involves any business or brand coming together to devise a plan for their website development.

By running through key elements such as the wireframe, sitemap, SEO optimisation, and the user journey, brands can be confident the website they create is a success.

Instead of jumping straight into building a website without a clear plan, conducting a website workshop ensures all parties in the business are aligned. Often different people can have different ideas about how a website should look and work, so this process ensures that everyone is in a unified position.

Regardless of your business, your website will often be your customers’ first impression of your brand.

Therefore it must be tailored to their needs and provide an experience that makes them convert into a customer. A website workshop is a worthwhile investment of your time and resources, ensuring that everyone in your business is on the same page.

Why Run a Website Workshop?

All businesses need to run a website workshop to eliminate any uncertainty regarding the website development and to ensure that all team members are in sync.

You might think it’s not as important for some teams in your business to be as concerned with your website compared to others, but the truth is, everyone in your business needs to understand how and why your website works the way it does.

Everyone, from your HR department, to your sales team needs to understand how it all operates, especially when their tasks intersect with the website. For example, HR are responsible for posting and promoting jobs within the organisation and having an understanding of the website ensures they can navigate the platform, optimise job listings, and communicate the company’s values to potential candidates.

After all, they’ll be using this day-to-day and it’s important they understand where everything is in case they have a query.

Using the example of your HR department, they might be creating a job ad which includes a list of reasons why people should work for the company. These might be stated on your ‘careers page’ which is located within your ‘about us’ page, which is only accessible from the website footer.

However, if this is a brand new website and HR don’t understand the website wireframe, or even worse, if they haven’t seen it, they wouldn’t know where to find the information.

They’ll probably have to bother your sales or marketing team which is unnecessary as it could have been sorted by running a website workshop and guiding them through the wireframe.

dart board icon with jigsaw pieces around the edge

The Goals of a Website Workshop

Businesses of all sizes should run a website workshop to align stakeholders, foster collaboration among different teams, and to define a strategic direction going forward.

This ensures a cohesive and informed approach to website development that meets both user and business goals.

Websites can be quite technical and not everyone in your business will have the same level of understanding. That’s why running this workshop and going through the different website exercises, helps people understand how various elements, from design and content, to functionality and user experience, contribute to the overall online presence.

Other goals of running a website workshop include:

  • Understanding user needs – Gaining a deep understanding of the target audience and what they need from the website.
  • Prioritise user experience – Evaluate the website’s design, navigation, and functionality to improve user satisfaction.
  • Set key performance indicators (KPIs) – Define key performance indicators (KPIs) that will be used to measure the success of the website. Establish benchmarks and goals for metrics such as conversion rates, page views, and engagement.
  • Develop content strategy – Create a robust content strategy that aligns with the brand, resonates with the target audience, and supports the overall goals of the website.
  • Address technical considerations – Assess technical aspects of the website, including speed, mobile responsiveness, security, and integrations. Ensure the technical infrastructure supports the intended user experience.
  • Create an action plan – Develop a concrete plan for implementing changes and improvements to the website.

How Long Is a Website Workshop?

A website workshop usually lasts around a day, however some might last several days depending on the size and complexity of the business.

That said, a day is usually long enough to cover all essential aspects without causing participants to become disengaged or bored in the process.

Throughout the day you should follow an itinerary to keep the workshop on track (as outlined in our website workshop presentation) – otherwise it’s easy to spend hours on one exercise and leave yourself short for time at the end.

This also gives you enough time to break and lunch in between the different exercises, as you want participants to be refuelled and ready to contribute. As we’ve already covered, the main goal of a website workshop is to achieve alignment for all team members by getting everyone on the same page.

But, no one is going to be ready to contribute to anything on an empty stomach!

When to Run a Website Workshop

Running a website workshop should be strategically timed to maximise its impact on organisational goals.

There are numerous times when running a website website might be particularly useful which we have outlined below:

Routine website updates and improvements

Regularly scheduled website workshops are essential when planning routine updates and enhancements to keep the site aligned with the latest industry trends, technological advancements, and user expectations. This ensures that the website remains a dynamic and relevant tool for the business.

New website launch or redesign

When launching a new website or undergoing a significant redesign, a workshop becomes pivotal. It serves as a platform for teams involved in the development process, such as design, development, and content creation, to align their efforts and ensure the successful launch of a cohesive website.

Introduction of new features / functionalities

If the business is introducing new features or functionalities to the website, a workshop is crucial for training teams on how to leverage these additions effectively. This helps in maximising the benefits of the new features and ensures a smooth integration into the existing framework.

Change in business goals

A shift in the business objectives or strategies may necessitate a website workshop to realign the website’s purpose, content, and functionality. This ensures that the website remains in sync with the broader business goals and messaging.

User experience optimisation

When focusing on enhancing the overall user experience, a workshop becomes instrumental. Teams can collaboratively analyse user feedback, discuss pain points, and strategise improvements, fostering a user-centric approach to website development.

Rebranding and Its Impact on Workshop Timing

Rebranding efforts, such as changes in brand messaging, logo, or overall identity, warrant a dedicated website workshop.

This is a key moment to align the website with the refreshed brand image, ensuring consistency across all online touchpoints.

Conducting a website workshop early in the rebranding process is advisable.

This allows teams to understand the new brand direction and collaboratively plan how the website can reflect and reinforce the updated brand identity. Waiting until the rebranding is complete might lead to inconsistencies between the brand launch and the website presentation.

two cartoon people talking and holding magnifying glass

How to Run a Website Workshop

Before you run a website workshop, you need to work out some key elements.

This ensures that you’ve got:

a) the goal of the workshop crystal clear
b) the right people in attendance
c) someone who will lead/ guide the workshop

Without these things being in place, the website workshop will most likely end up going off on a tangent and you might lose the purpose of holding the workshop in the first place.

Let’s start with defining the goal.

Define the purpose of the website workshop

You need to understand what you want to achieve from the website workshop otherwise you’re taking up a day of people’s time for no reason!

Start by defining the goals you want to achieve during the session. This could involve a pre-workshop survey or needs assessment among the participants.

This allows organisers to understand the skill levels, expectations, and challenges of the attendees, enabling them to tailor the workshop content accordingly.

You also need to consider the broader objectives of the website itself. Whether it’s to launch a new site, optimise an existing one, or focus on a particular aspect like design, SEO, or user experience, aligning the workshop goals with the broader website objectives keeps the content relevant.

A detailed agenda can help keep the day on track by breaking down the content into manageable sections, ensuring that each session contributes to the overall purpose. This not only helps in maintaining focus but also aids participants in tracking their progress throughout the workshop.

Decide who to invite

Deciding who to invite to the website workshop will depend on the size of your business.

For example:

If you’re a small team with 10 employees, it makes sense for everyone to attend as you’ll most likely only have one or two people in each department.

However, if you’re a large business with hundreds of employees, it’s impractical to invite everyone as the information can be passed down by heads of departments and managers.

That said, there are some general things to keep in mind when deciding on who to invite which we’ve outlined below:

  • Invite individuals with a direct stake in the website’s success and impact. This may include Marketing Teams as they contribute to brand messaging and online campaigns, Product Managers as they offer insights into product-related content and website functionality, Customer Service Representatives as they can give valuable feedback on user experiences, and Senior Leadership who can offer guidance aligning website goals with overall business objectives.
  • Consider forming cross-functional teams that include representatives from marketing, sales, design, product development, and customer support. This helps ensure that various aspects of the website are addressed.
  • Depending on the workshop’s goals and your businesses resources, consider bringing in external website experts, consultants, or agencies with specialised knowledge and a fresh approach.
  • If possible, involve decision-makers or high-level executives who can approve and implement changes that stem from the website workshop.
  • The size of the group should be manageable to facilitate productive discussions. Smaller groups may work best for in-depth workshops, while larger groups can be used for brainstorming.
  • Once you’ve decided who to invite, communicate the purpose, goals, and expectations to participants in advance so that they come feeling more prepared.

Choose a facilitator

Choosing the right facilitator for your website workshop is key as they’re responsible for leading the different branding exercises to ensure you achieve your goals.

This means they ask questions to get people talking and step in when there are disagreements to help keep things on track. When deciding who should be the facilitator, consider choosing someone who is good at guiding discussions, keeping participants engaged, and managing group dynamics.

There will be a lot of different personalities and viewpoints to handle, so choosing someone who has experience with this, or someone who is confident, is sensible.

Choosing someone with good communication skills is also key as they will need to convey ideas clearly, listen actively, and foster a positive and collaborative atmosphere.

Brand strategy image

How to Use Our Website Workshop Bundle

To make life nice and simple for you, we’ve put together a complete website workshop bundle which you can download at the top of this blog and here.

Inside our website workshop bundle, you’ll find:

  • The website workshop presentation
  • Relevant printed materials to accompany the website workshop exercises
  • A user guide which tells you everything you need to know to get started

If you have any questions about the website workshop exercises, we’re running through each of these in more detail below. Some exercises involve two steps as you’ll need to prepare the printed materials beforehand – all of which can be found in your website workshop bundle.

That said, let’s get started.

Website Exercises

Below are a list of website exercises that help ensure your website workshop is comprehensive and covers all areas.

For each exercise we’ve listed; what the website exercise is, the purpose of the exercise, and the method for carrying out the exercise.

Conduct Website Audits

What?

Conducting website audit involves examining and analysing a website to assess its performance, content, structure, and overall health. It includes reviewing technical aspects, content quality, user experience, and adherence to best practices.

Why?

Website audits help identify technical and content-related issues that may impact performance or user experience so that businesses can optimise their website for better visibility in search engines.

How?

Step 1: Sections for Website Audit Checklist

  • Define the key focus areas for the website audit, such as SEO, content quality, user experience, and technical aspects.
  • For each focus area, break down the evaluation into specific criteria. For example:
    -SEO: Meta tags, keyword usage, backlink profile.
    -Content: Relevance, recency, engagement.
    -User Experience: Navigation, design, responsiveness.
    -Technical Aspects: Page speed, mobile-friendliness, security.
  • Define clear metrics for each criterion. For instance:
    -SEO: Check if meta tags are optimised for relevant keywords.
    -Content: Assess if content is regularly updated and aligns with business goals.
    -User Experience: Evaluate the website’s ease of navigation and overall design.
    -Technical Aspects: Ensure pages load within an acceptable timeframe and are secure.

  • Leave space in the checklist for participants to jot down observations and note actionable items based on their evaluations.

Step 2: Conduct Exercise

  • Choose a publicly accessible website for this exercise that is relevant to your industry. Make sure the website chosen has various elements like different types of content, navigation menus, etc.
  • Divide participants into small groups and instruct each group to define specific goals for the website audit, focusing on areas like SEO, content, and user experience.
  • Distribute the website audit checklist provided in your website workshop bundle and guide groups to conduct a basic audit of the website. Encourage them to explore different pages, assess content quality, check for technical issues, and note any observations.
  • Each group should summarise their findings from the audit and proposed actions before presenting their action plan to the entire workshop.
  • Facilitate a discussion on common observations and differences between the groups.

infographic showing questions to ask when deciding on target audience

Create Audience Personas

What?

An audience persona is a fictional, detailed representation of a target audience or customer segment, encompassing their demographics, behaviours, preferences, and needs.

Why?

The purpose of creating an audience persona is to gain a deep understanding of your target audience, allowing you to tailor marketing strategies, products, and services to better meet their specific needs and preferences, ultimately improving engagement and conversion rates.

How?

  • Provide each participant with a copy of the audience profile persona worksheet. Ask them to individually fill out the sections based on their understanding of the target audience.
  • Have participants form small groups (3-5 members per group). Each member takes turns sharing their individual findings. As a group, discuss commonalities and differences in the identified demographics, pain points, challenges, and aspirations.
  • Ask each group to work together to create a consolidated audience profile persona based on the shared insights. Discuss any disagreements and find common ground.
  • Instruct each group to prepare a brief presentation summarising their consolidated audience profile persona. Encourage them to use examples to illustrate key points.
  • Have each group present their audience profile persona to the entire group. After each presentation, open the floor for questions and feedback from other participants. Encourage constructive discussions about the insights gained and potential areas of improvement.

Set Up User Testing

What?

User testing involves real users interacting with your website to evaluate its usability, functionality, and overall user experience. This helps identify navigational issues, confusing elements, and opportunities for improvement from the perspective of your target audience.

Why?

Conducting user testing is key for understanding how users interact with your website, what challenges they face, and what parts they find engaging. Insights gained from user testing can significantly improve website usability, leading to higher satisfaction rates, and increased engagement.

How?

  • Divide participants into small groups.
  • Instruct each group to create a simple user persona (name, age, occupation, goals) for their target audience using pens and flipcharts.
  • Have each group list three key tasks that their target user should be able to perform on the website.
  • Based on the identified tasks, instruct each group to create a real-life scenario or story of how their user might navigate through the website to accomplish those tasks.
  • Using sticky notes, have each group outline a plan for conducting user testing, including the number of participants, testing environment, and key scenarios to test.
  • Each group presents their user persona, identified tasks, scenarios, and testing plans.
  • Encourage discussion on commonalities and differences among the groups.

Net Promoter Score

Carry Out Performance Testing

What?

Performance testing involves evaluating the speed, responsiveness, and stability of a website under various conditions. The aim is to identify any issues that could affect user experience, such as slow page load times and sluggish response to user actions.

Why?

This website exercise is key to ensure that your website delivers an efficient user experience. It helps in optimising page load times, improving search engine rankings, and improving overall website reliability.

How?

Step 1: Prepare for Performance Testing

  • Identify the KPIs that are key for your website’s performance, such as page load time, time to first byte, and the number of concurrent users the site can handle without any drop in performance.
  • Choose tools that can help you measure these KPIs such as Google PageSpeed Insights for load times, GTmetrix for performance analysis, and Load Impact for stress testing.
  • Outline what parts of the website will be tested, such as the homepage, product pages, or checkout process. Determine the conditions under which each part will be tested, including different devices, network speeds, and user loads.
  • Distribute the performance testing checklist from your website workshop bundle. This will guide attendees through the process of performing an initial performance analysis of their website or a specific page.

Step 2: Conduct Exercise

  • Divide attendees into teams. Each team is assigned different sections of the website or different conditions (e.g., mobile vs. desktop, low vs. high bandwidth) to test.
  • Teams use the performance testing checklist from the website workshop bundle and selected tools to conduct performance tests on their assigned sections under the specified conditions. They record the performance metrics, noting any areas where performance does not meet the identified KPIs.
  • Teams analyse the data to identify patterns, anomalies, or areas where performance falls short of expectations. Brainstorm potential solutions.
  • Each team presents their findings and suggests actionable recommendations for improving website performance.

Conduct Responsive Design Checks

What?

Responsive design checks involve testing a website to ensure it looks and functions well across all devices. This process checks layout, content readability, and interactive elements to provide a seamless user experience across all screen sizes.

Why?

Having a responsive website is key as it improves user experience, boosts SEO rankings, and ensures your site is accessible to all users, regardless of the device they are using.

How?

  • Divide attendees into ‘device groups’. Assign each group a specific device type (desktop, tablet, smartphone) or orientation (landscape, portrait) to focus on.
  • Choose a tool such as Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test, BrowserStack, or Chrome Developer Tools which tests how your website renders on different devices. These tools can simulate various screen sizes and environments.
  • Using the assigned device or simulation tools, groups go through the website, noting any issues with layout, navigation, or interactive elements that negatively impact user experience.
  • Each group collates their findings, noting any suggestions and areas for improvement.
  • Share findings with all attendees, discussing common issues and potential solutions. Develop an action plan for addressing identified responsive design problems.

custom illustration showing a woman on a laptop

Create a Sitemap

What?

A sitemap is a blueprint of your website that outlines its structure, including all the pages and content elements, and how they are interconnected. It serves as a planning tool for web design and content development.

Why?

Creating a sitemap helps in planning and organising the structure of your website, ensuring a logical flow that enhances user experience. It also aids in identifying the scope of content required and helps search engines crawl your website more effectively.

How?

  • Identify the primary categories of your website, such as Home, About Us, Services, Blog, and Contact. These will form the main sections of your sitemap.
  • For each main category, list out any subcategories or individual pages that fall under them. This step helps in understanding the depth of content and how users will navigate through your site.
  • Choose a sitemap generation tool that fits your needs. There are various online tools and software like XMind for mind mapping, Lucidchart for creating flowcharts, or automated tools like Screaming Frog SEO Spider for larger sites.
  • Divide attendees into groups. Each group is assigned a section of the website, such as the blog or services section.
  • Using the main categories and subcategories identified, groups sketch out a sitemap structure. Encourage them to think about the user journey and how different pages link together.
  • Groups present their sitemap, explaining their rationale for the structure and navigation flow. This is an opportunity for feedback and discussion on how the sitemap can be improved.

Create a Wireframe

What?

A wireframe is a basic visual guide used in website design to suggest the layout of fundamental elements in the interface. It’s like a blueprint for a website.

Why?

Creating a wireframe allows for the planning of the site’s structure, user flow, and key components, ensuring that the site’s goals are met through its design.

How?

  • Discuss the importance of wireframing and show examples of wireframes (Dribbble or Behance often have designers who showcase their wireframes).
  • Divide attendees into small groups and provide each group with paper, pencils, and erasers or use digital wireframing tools if preferred.
  • Assign each group a specific section of the website to wireframe (e.g., homepage, contact page).
  • Encourage brainstorming on layout, user journey, and key elements.
  • Each group sketches their section’s wireframe, discussing the rationale behind their design choices.
  • Groups present their wireframes, explaining their approach and how it meets user needs.
  • Facilitate a feedback session, discussing the strengths and areas for improvement in each wireframe.

Carry Out Visual Research

What?

Visual research involves gathering and analysing visual elements such as images, graphics, and design inspirations to inform and improve the decision-making process during the design and development of a website.

Why?

This process gives you a deeper understanding of design trends, user preferences, and industry aesthetics, ultimately facilitating the creation of visually appealing and effective websites.

How?

Step 1: Sections for content calendar

  • Define the main themes, topics, and goals for your content. This could be based on product launches, seasonal events, or industry trends.
  • Decide on the types of content you will include, such as blog posts, social media updates, email newsletters, and promotional material.
  • Ensure a balanced mix that caters to the interests and needs of your target audience.

Step 2: Conduct exercise

  • Break attendees into groups and provide them with templates for content calendars.
  • Assign each group a specific part of the website’s content strategy (e.g., blog, social media).
  • Groups brainstorm content ideas and plot them on the content calendar provided in your website workshop bundle, considering key dates, themes, and campaigns.
  • Discuss how to balance different types of content to keep the audience engaged.
  • Each group presents their content calendar, explaining the logic behind their scheduling and content choices.

illustrated graphic of a bar chart, arrows, and magnifying glass

Choose Analytical Tools

What?

This involves evaluating and selecting appropriate tools that allow the business to gather, analyse, and interpret data related to website performance. It includes exploring options, considering features, and making an informed decision on the most suitable analytical tool.

Why?

The right analytical tool can be tailored to meet specific business goals and objectives, providing a customised solution and facilitating effective decision making.

How?

Step 1: Sections for Comparison Matrix

  • List the criteria for evaluation (e.g., features, ease of use, scalability, integration capabilities, pricing).
  • Choose the analytical tools to be compared.
  • Using a scale (e.g., 1 to 5), rate each tool for each criterion.

Step 2: Conduct Exercise

  • Divide participants into small groups. Task each group with identifying specific goals and key metrics they believe are crucial for their business.
  • Provide time for each group to independently research different analytical tools and encourage them to explore features, reviews, and pricing.
  • Ask each group to assess the budget and resources available for implementing an analytical tool.
  • Instruct groups to complete the comparison matrix from your website workshop bundle to list the pros and cons of the tools they researched.
  • Have each group present their findings, including feedback from the trial sessions, to the entire workshop.
  • Facilitate a discussion among participants to share insights, concerns, and considerations. Encourage teams to collectively make an informed decision on the most suitable analytical tool for their business.

Carry Out SEO Keyword Research

What?

SEO keyword research involves identifying popular words and phrases people enter into search engines related to your website’s content and industry.

Why?

The purpose is to optimise content to rank higher in search engine results, driving more targeted traffic to your site.

How?

  • Choose a publicly accessible website for this exercise that is relevant to your industry and talk through the website with attendees.
  • Introduce tools for keyword research (e.g., Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush).
  • Instruct attendees to brainstorm potential search queries related to the website.
  • Use keyword research tools to explore search volume and competition for these terms.
  • Each group selects a set of keywords to target, considering relevance, search volume, and competition.
  • Share strategies on how to incorporate these keywords naturally into website content.

Devise a Content Calendar

What?

A content calendar is a schedule of when and where you plan to publish upcoming content. It includes blog posts, social media posts, promotions, and other content types.

Why?

It helps in organising content creation, ensuring consistent publication, and aligning content with your website goals.

How?

Step 1: Sections for content calendar

  • Define the main themes, topics, and goals for your content. This could be based on product launches, seasonal events, or industry trends.
  • Decide on the types of content you will include, such as blog posts, social media updates, email newsletters, and promotional material.
  • Ensure a balanced mix that caters to the interests and needs of your target audience.

Step 2: Conduct exercise

  • Break attendees into groups and provide them with templates for content calendars.
  • Assign each group a specific part of the website’s content strategy (e.g., blog, social media).
  • Groups brainstorm content ideas and plot them on the content calendar provided in your website workshop bundle, considering key dates, themes, and campaigns.
  • Discuss how to balance different types of content to keep the audience engaged.
  • Each group presents their content calendar, explaining the logic behind their scheduling and content choices.

How to Run the Ultimate Website Workshop with Website Exercises

A website workshop is key for individuals involved in the development and management of your online presence.

Instead of different teams working independently and making assumptions about what they think is right when it comes to your website, organising a website workshop, and following the website exercises outlined above, ensures alignment across all participants.

It is crucial for every member of your team to share and understand this information, fostering a unified direction. Just as employees have the potential to become strong advocates for your brand in a branding workshop, the effectiveness of website development and management hinges on their understanding of the website’s unique features, mission, and messaging.

If you need help running your own website workshop, get in touch with our team! Drawing from our experience of running previous workshosp, we can make sure that all participants leave with a clearer and more informed understanding of your website development and management.

Hi, I'm Amy, Content Strategist at Canny. In my day-to-day role, I'm responsible for creating content that gets you noticed and makes you stand out from the competition. Naturally, I love writing and creating engaging copy that brings your brand to life.

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