Jun 25, 2014
The 5 Biggest Downfalls of Building a Website
Having a strong online presence is an essential business tool these days, but a website can come with many downfalls and unexpected costs. But you don’t need to be a web guru to avoid these pitfalls. With the right amount of planning, emphasis on detail, and a tech partner you can rely on, your website build can be (mostly) stress-free and on budget.
You may have heard this in the news recently: ‘Three websites for Foreign Minister Julie Bishop's foreign affairs portfolio have cost taxpayers $113,130…The costs include more than $68,000 for "website testing", $19,000 for training, $15,000 for "website release management" and $10,000 for "website deployment".’
One of the most common downfalls of a website build, no matter who is behind it, is last-minute or unexpected changes. And one of the most common causes of these changes is a weak strategy. Without sufficient short and long term planning securely in place, a business is likely to rush in and switch up their plan on the fly as the project continues. This leads to delays, frustration, and extra costs.
Web strategy must be flexible and there will always be adjustments and learning opportunities along the way, but to avoid the big (and expensive) changes that can seriously upset a website launch, think of both the details and the bigger picture in the earliest stages of your web project.
There are many free or inexpensive platforms, tools and partners to work with on the web, and while these can sometimes be a helpful way to mitigate website costs, they can also cause issues in the long run. Security concerns, for example, are a real danger for any business operating on the web. Finding a security solution that will protect your data – and that of your customers – is essential, and not a place to cut corners. If your website “goes down” due to security flaws, that immediately affects your customer communications and your overall business goals. For eCommerce websites, security becomes that much more important when dealing with payment information. Don’t skimp out on security when building your website in the name of cutting costs; you’ll pay in the long run.
Web design and development is all about the details. Platform options, site loading speeds, images, colours, buttons, links, navigation – even the smallest details can affect the user’s experience on your website. But design can also get in the way of your business objectives if you put too much focus in the wrong direction. A cool, expensive-looking website isn’t a business goal. Some web designers offer up cheap prices for design projects, but are they really considering your organisation’s goals for that website? And where will they be when you need to make adjustments down the road? Working with a web development and design partner allows you to work with experts in not only appearance and functionality, but also overall business strategy.
Forgetting the Audience
Finding the balance between your own perspective and your business needs AND those of the target audience can be tricky, but it will make your web project successful and effective. Too often, a business will try to make its website pleasing to each and every type of user out there in the hopes of attracting a larger audience. In the end, your marketing message is too broad, your calls to action aren’t specific enough for your real audience, and you don’t attract anyone. Get to know your target audience(s) and build your strategy around them. The design, content, and user experience must be built with these users in mind. Not sure you’re doing it right? TEST. TEST. TEST. Allowing actual users to test your website as it’s being built is a great way to find a new perspective and step back from your own work. It can be so easy to get caught up in tiny details during a web project, and having another opinion (especially that of an actual customer) can be invaluable. Now there’s no need to bring someone in once a week for testing, but once or twice is enough to get great insights.
Building a website isn’t like purchasing a product, it’s an ongoing service. Websites must be maintained – and be ready for adjustments - as your organisation grows and develops. This is another reason to work with a partner that can provide both the technology and the strategy to back up your overall business goals. Small changes and additional technology doesn’t have to break the bank – with the right planning and tech partner, you can adjust to new audience demands, new business requirements, or meet any other challenges inherent in the changing web environment without the stress.