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Building a new site on GovCMS

Talk to us first

If you're going to be migrating to GovCMS, you need to sort out your hosting plan. Contact us early, we can give you advice on your hosting options, the differences between SaaS and PaaS (and which may be right for you), and we will prepare a quote so you know what your ongoing costs will be.

You don't need to lock in your hosting plan before you get started on your migration, you might choose to start with a development plan, and finalise things later in your project. We only invoice you for your hosting once your site is ready to go live. Development plans are invoiced separately, depending on what option you choose.

The minimum you need to do is sign your Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). This is a standard agreement signed by all our customers. The GovCMS team includes engagement and onboarding specialists and we will walk you through the entire process.

Things you should plan for

  • Ensure your service provider or your internal team know how to build a site in line with the requirements to have a website hosted on GovCMS - if you're going to be using the fully managed SaaS option - there are limitation on what changes you can make to your Drupal instance.
  • Look through the list of available and supported modules before you start building lots of custom code. With Drupal, there's often more than one way of doing something. GovCMS is fully open source, so you can reuse code created by others, this will save you time and project costs.
  • Allocate time in your project for designing a great information architecture and a content strategy that's based on user research, evidence, and an understanding of your user's needs - GovCMS is a great tool for managing your website, but it doesn't remove the need to focus on content.
  • Consider carefully what information your website is collecting from users. Are there privacy implications? You should plan to do a privacy impact assessment.
  • You can build your site any way you like, and make it look completely different to every other site on GovCMS if you want to. You can use a variety of third-party tools, and if you choose the PaaS hosting option you can develop custom modules and bespoke code. Consider the implications on testing.
  • The more customised your site, the more testing you need to do - and the bigger your security assessment will be. Sites on the SaaS platform are covered by an IRAP assessment completed by the Department of Finance. Agencies only need to test and assess the security of their site themes. On PaaS, you can leverage the existing IRAP work, but you will need to complete your own IRAP assessment.

Tips and good practices

  • keep you site design simple, less is more as they say, and your users will thank you
  • content, content, content - don't underestimate the effort needed - creating great content is part art, part craft and part science
  • look at what other agencies have done on their sites find elements you like and reuse them - you can reuse code, templates and design patterns - the Australian Government Design System is a great kick start for your project
  • Iterate and improve your site over time - you'll never create a perfect site the first time around - you'll get a better understanding of user needs over time