Getting Caught in the Web: Common Website Horrors and How To Avoid Them
Alright, so there’s a lot of spooky website content around this time of year.
But we thought it could be helpful for us to piggyback on the scariest season of the year to highlight some of the website horrors that can happen in poorly managed projects.
Made more horrific by the fact that they are really. Quite. Avoidable.
For any Marketing Managers out there who are approaching their website planning, being aware of the common trips and slips in website projects should be helpful in reducing the number of website-related nightmares.
1. Not Creepin’ it Real: Allow Enough Time Internally
Not allowing enough time to focus on or complete internal aspects of website projects is one of the top issues we come across.
And it’s one that can lead to long-term issues and have big financial consequences.
There’s always pressure and a need for speed in projects. However, the agency you work with often won’t be what’s holding you back. It’s likely to be you, your project group and wider stakeholders.
Not because you’re not working on the project hard enough, but because the amount of time needed for web projects is so often underestimated.
Ensuring enough time is given for all the project stages including wireframe and design reviews, copy and content preparation, and stakeholder sign off, is essential.
Your agency will be able to advise you on approximate timings and give you realistic timeframes for each milestone and final delivery.
It’s probably a good shout to take their advice – after all, it’s what they do all day.
2. Mysterious Stakeholders: Be Clear On Your Website Project Group
The emergence of mysterious stakeholders is unfortunately another common peril of web projects.
And as with most areas, this tends to come down to a lack of planning.
As part of your project plan, you’ll need to consider who will be in your immediate project group and your wider stakeholder group. This will ensure all requirements for the website have been taken into consideration.
While the marketing department needs to have substantial input into the web project, there are often so many other teams who will need to input into the project considerably to ensure the website will serve your business effectively.
Avoid the turmoil these stakeholders could cause with some upfront planning and thought about who in your business needs to be included in your project and the level to which they need to be involved.
3. Foggy Vision: Keep Focused On Each Stage
Without adequate explanation of each stage of the web project, feedback from the project group and wider stakeholders can become focused on the wrong areas, causing project delays at best.
For example, one of your stakeholders could start to focus on the web page copy and messaging when this area isn’t even in the project brief for your agency.
It’s crucial to ensure your stakeholders understand the exact areas which need to be focused on at each milestone. And in addition to this, the consequences of delayed or confused feedback on your project.
Your agency should be able to support you to ensure the group stays focused on the current task at hand. But it’s also key for website project leaders to keep the team – particularly senior stakeholders – focused on the relevant areas of each stage.
4. Spirited Senior Stakeholders: Understand Your CEO’s Expectations
Assessing the level of interest from your CEO is important. This part of the planning for your website project helps ensure you’re aware of which stages they’d like to be involved with, and can include this in your planning and timings.
Not taking this into account can have wretched consequences. It can mean that potentially your project becomes derailed, losing its momentum and pace.
Making sure you speak to senior members of your marketing team is essential in ensuring you’re clear about the level of involvement your CEO would like to have. They might want to be in every meeting, or they might be happy to leave you or your CMO as the most senior stakeholder on the project.
5. DNS Doom: Don’t Get Caught Out On The Technical Side
DNS is one of those technical areas that everyone assumes their IT will just take care of – you might not even have heard of it.
But your DNS is like an address book for your website – it tells all of your traffic (including your emails) where they should be sent.
Discussing your DNS with your agency fairly early on in the process gives them visibility on how your existing systems work. So, if you are moving to new hosting, or changing your domain name – or anything about your technical setup is changing as a result of your website build, they need to know so they can advise what to do.
So the best thing to do is to either give your agency access to your DNS, or to put them in touch with the people responsible for it. This way you can ensure that your emails, website and any server remote accesses you have set up will still work following the changes you make, and any downtime is minimised.
6. Getting Caught in the Web: Keep Your Website Project Group Slim
As discussed earlier, consulting with colleagues across your organisation will be essential to capturing all the requirements for your website.
However beware of the age old tale of having too many cooks. This can lead to a lack of focus, unnecessary confusion, and ultimately a disappointing end result for your website.
It’s essential that in your planning stages you establish exactly who needs to be a part of your project group as well as who needs to be in your wider stakeholder group.
This should ensure that your website feedback approach is focused and relevant, and that the website delivered at the end of your project is striking, vibrant and serves your business effectively.
7. Developer Dread: Give Your Website Agency Time and Trust
Going back to our earlier point of allowing enough time for your web project – one of the biggest areas of potential risk can happen when putting time pressure on your website agency.
There’s nothing wrong with setting deadlines, but moving deadlines forwards, or not listening to ‘we think it will take longer than that’ can create technical debt.
And the reason for that is that website code – the foundation and bedrock of your site – will not get written to a high quality under pressure.
This might not matter as much in a small website, but if you’re planning a substantial system or dynamic web application, decisions made quickly under pressure to deploy sooner can lead to bigger problems that need to be solved later.
If a client is putting pressure on their website agency, you can be sure that the Project Manager is putting pressure on their Web Developers.
Unless technical hitches and glitches sound fun, or you enjoy having to go back and repeat work, you’ll want to make sure you’re giving your agency the time to build a robust and technically sound product which will serve your organisation for years to come.
Say Goodbye to the Curses of Web Projects
With the nature of web projects being such large and fantastical beasts, the volume of issues and pitfalls that can occur are no surprise.
But all these horrors really are avoidable, and with a bit of planning and time can be easily navigated and avoided.
Do you have concerns about an upcoming project and you’re not sure where to start?
Why not avoid the scary moments and sign up to our B2B Website Planning Series for a thorough step-by-step approach to your web project.