Web design projects? Here are seven things to avoid if you want success
As experienced web designers and developers, we have seen countless websites brought to fruition, sites that support business excellence, delight audiences and achieve what their owners want them to achieve. We are very proud of them. However, now and again we step away from even quoting for a project because we can see that it just isn’t going to work. Here are seven common reasons why web design projects fail.
Turning a web project into an IT project
We use IT technology, of course. However, a web design project is not the same as an IT project. Far from it. Turning your web development project into an IT thing is more or less guaranteed to fail since while IT departments are eager to please, they tend to wrap the process up in so much technical red tape that they strip the life out of it. That is why we – and every other web design company worth its salt – tends to work so closely with marketing and sales development people, not necessary the IT people. Web sites do live on computers and do take technical expertise to create and keep secure. But don’t make the mistake of handing the keys over to the IT department.
Underestimating the content side of things
We joke that content is 70% of the process. However, it is no joke. A website is worthless without content, but too many people underestimate the amount of written copy it takes to launch a website, whether it is auditing and editing existing content or writing fresh stuff. It takes much work to create the content, it touches on every aspect of the company, and struggling to produce decent copy will delay any web design project for weeks if not months. When you plan properly – which we talk more about later – you know where you stand and can deliver the required content to your designers on time.
The web design process should always start with detailed planning. It does not have to be a nightmare. You can work everything out using a white boards or pen and paper. Get those plans right, and the rest of the process will make sense. Get it wrong, and everything will feel increasingly disjointed as time passes. You will find yourself going back and forth endlessly, which costs a lot more in money, time and effort than creating a solid, well thought through the plan in the first place.
Not having decision makers in the planning sessions
You have a planning session, and it goes brilliantly. Everyone is fired up and raring to go. However, because you did not invite the decision makers to the meeting, they do not really ‘get’ it and veto a load of important decisions, or question every tiny thing. Often decisions are made after long discussions, with all the different options explored and dismissed before settling on a final one. Without that all-important context, decisions can look arbitrary. If you are the decision maker, you need to either attend the meetings or trust your team and empower them to make expert decisions on your behalf. If you are Batman, either trust Robin, or come along to the meeting yourself.
Process, not project
You could get a web agency in to make your website and then usher them out the door a few months later to avoid further bills. However, that is the very point when they can be most valuable. Who will provide you with the data about how well – or not – your website is performing? Who will keep it safe and secure? Who will specify and create fresh content, and who will keep the CMS up to date? Simple testing and refining in the wake of real data tend to improve your results significantly. So. you either need the internal expertise or keep your agency on to support longer term excellence. Working in partnership with you for the long haul and making your goals their goals is the most valuable service any web agency can provide.
Picking the cheapest option
Just like having a kitchen remodelled, the most affordable option is often unrealistic and seldom what you want. Companies with the time to pitch often aren’t the right ones to use. Cheap is usually nasty. It either doesn’t include everything you need or is cheap for another reason. If it looks too good to be true, it probably is. Your business is worthy of a great website, and short-changing yourself on a high-end web design front never bears fruit.
Unrealistic expectations and silly budgets
We all want to look like Apple, but the reality is they spend an absolute fortune on their marketing – evidently shown by their multi-million-pound website. It makes more commercial sense to be realistic about what you can achieve. Invest the right amount in the right places, respect quality over quantity, and you should be okay. You are paying for a web design agency’s time, so use it wisely. The best companies will help steer you in the right direction and be confident enough in their abilities.
Put your web project in good hands
When you pick an experienced web design agency, trust them. Work together to plan properly and provide everything they ask for when they need it. Your web project will be likely to go smoothly as a result. Avoid these seven top pitfalls, and you will end up with a website worth having! If you are struggling with your current web agency, we would be happy to talk you through a long-term, working relationships.