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Overcoming Common Web Development Pitfalls

     -     Sep 18th, 2018   -     Websites   -     0 Comments

Image -techlaunch.io

Redesigning a company’s website is an exciting time for all involved. For management it represents the opportunity to refresh the company’s image online. For marketing it’s a chance to build a site that not only looks fresh and modern but is built with the latest search engine marketing (SEM) and search engine optimization (SEO) tools and best practices. The goal is to create a finished product that conveys the company’s unique value to both customers and prospects. Although exciting there are many steps between project approval and site launch that can encompass the full spectrum of emotions from joy and elation to disappointment and frustration. Since I have worked on literally dozens of custom website development projects (as a project manager, SEO consultant and in other roles) I have become familiar with the most common issues and challenges faced. To help clients, prospects and others understand these issues and how to overcome them, FlashPoint Marketing has provided a summary of key considerations below.

Before the Project Starts

  • Define FunctionalityAs with most things in life preparation is essential for success. I have worked on many projects where management and the marketing department did not identify what functionality they wanted their new website to include. It’s important to document what you want the website to do on each page. For some companies this may mean having the ability to purchase a product while others will want to feature the ability to subscribe to a newsletter or other method of marketing communication. It’s important to take the necessary time to review and research exactly what you want the new website to do. To help get the wheels turning consider the following:
  • What should happen on each page?
  • How should products and services be featured?
  • Do I need e-commerce ability?
  • Are there unique contact forms throughout the site? Who will the forms go to? What areas of the site do they belong to?
  • Will there be a Careers section? If so, what is the primary purpose?
  • What level of security will be needed?
  • Is blog, news and/or event feeds required on the homepage?
  • Will blog posts allow comments? Should they be shareable via social media?
  • What about video headers, parallax images or other interactive design features?

 

  • Sitemap – When redesigning a site it’s important to understand exactly what type of content is going to appear on it. For some this simply means transferring the current site’s content onto the new site. For others it means significantly changing the site’s structure. Before engaging a web development company be sure to complete a full outline of the sitemap. This will not only help you understand what the new site will look like, but also offer the web development company insight into the scope of the project and what work needs to be completed. When a customer doesn’t know what they need it makes it incredibly difficult for a vendor to provide an accurate estimate of project costs.

Project Management Best Practices

  • Open Communication – Redesigning a website is an enormous task that involves many, many layers of details which requires frequent and clear communication to ensure expectations are met. Foer this reason, it’s important to always keep an open line of communication between yourself and the firm building your website. Have frequent discussions and be sure to follow up talks with written documentation as you may need to refer to the notes from conversations several weeks later (this has been an invaluable practice for us). If something is not clear or a detail in the process doesn’t make sense, talk to your firm and don’t feel uncomfortable repeating yourself. It’s better to repeat yourself a few times to ensure the point is made than to have an expectation or important detail missed due to confusion or lack of communication. At the same time, if you want to make a change to a design feature or add functionality it’s best to communicate this as early as possible. It will allow the web development company to make the needed adjustments quickly. Consider scheduling regular check in calls every week (or whatever duration makes the most sense) as this will help to facilitate the process.
  • Meeting Deadlines – This may seem like an obvious one but it’s one that many marketers struggle with. When taking on the task of a website redesign marketers are tasked with providing content, imagery, design review and approval, site logins, hosting and other important information. Like many companies, yours might have several tiers of decision makers that need to review and approve designs and proposed functionality. The larger the company there are generally more levels of review and approval. From the get-go it is important that those involved know their role and which deliverables are expected of them. When there are missed deadlines, it makes it difficult for the web development company to maintain the original production schedule. It’s unrealistic to believe that you can miss deadlines and it have no impact on the project calendar.

In Perspective

Redesigning your company’s website is a BIG project that requires a lot of energy, focus and attention. To get the most from your vendor and from your company it’s important to provide as much information as possible to your provider while working closely with them to meet deadlines and maintain open lines of communication. In the end this will ensure the site you want is the one that is produced. If you have questions about web development best practices or need assistance with your next web design project, FlashPoint Marketing can help! For additional information please call us at 954-621-8080 or click here to contact us. We look forward to speaking with you soon.

 

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