Her latest Search Engine Land Just Behave (yes, she's a mother and it shows ) column 6 Commonly Ignored Website Requirements & 10 Tips To Remember by Kim Krause Berg, 24-June-2011, is a 'must read'. Although it might appear targeted to larger organisations the principles are universal.
There is one thing that I would add, that fits in at the very top of any business' website requirements document, that bounds all that follows: the business model. Or, in other words, identify, clarify, and specify the business purposes and goals that the website (and social interaction) are expected to meet.
I have seen far too many website and social media activities that appear disconnected from the actual business; damaging brand reputation, alienating customers, chasing unicorns over rainbows, and wondering what went wrong.
The missing overarching aspects such as business model and Information Architecture are weaknesses, however space is always at a premium, even on the web, when distilling an ocean into a teacup...
That said, Kim has written a solid primer. Read and heed.
I promote requirements documentation because it is both historical record and forecast, both guide and safety net.
The leading cause for website or software application failure is not having a requirements document prepared and shared with everyone attached to the project.
The days of simple business (goals, priorities, type of site) and functional (back-end, front-end user interface) requirements are gone. We use the Internet in countless ways, to do countless actions. Our devices have changed.
Therefore, I recommend to anyone wanting to create a proper formal document, that they include the following sections:
1. Search engine marketing
2. Usability/User experience design
3. Social media marketing
5. Content Writing
[the following is abridged]
The following are some items that may be overlooked but when considered, will add to an incredibly successful launch of your final project.
1. ...risk evaluation.
3. Donít neglect local search.
6. Testing. Never put this at the end.
7. Target marketing research and demographics
8. Reputation management
9. Establish a process that allows key stakeholders to know what key decisions are and allow them to sign off or discuss.
10. CYA. This is main reason I promote requirements documentation. Cover your donkey.
I include site requirements document as part of my rolling business plan along with business model, marketing plan, financial requirements document, etc. It keeps me on track, suggests when to switch tracks, et al.
iamlost and it's all documented