Avoiding website projects going awry

Feb 08, 2024 4:15 pm

I've built hundreds of websites in the last 20+ years, so I understand the importance of a well-executed website project. Even with the best intentions of all involved, website projects can sometimes go wrong, leading to frustration, setbacks, and extra costs. Let's discuss the common oversights and provide insights on how to avoid them.

Clear Goals

It all starts with the goal of your website. Your goal(s) should be well-defined with details. Are you trying to generate leads (how many a week), persuade people with a message (how do you know if you convinced them), make sales (what monthly revenue equals success), or something else? Specifying the desired outcomes will guide the development process to ensure your website meets your business needs. Many skip this step (or don't do enough to validate their assumptions) and go right to...

Scoping and Expectations

Once you have the business goals, it is time to discuss the scoping and expectations of your website project itself. First, align the project's scope with your business goals and expectations. Then, discuss tactics and needs within the website (sitemap, features, content, call-to-actions, etc.) that support these needs. Clear communication and detailed discussions around these topics — internal to your business and with any vendors — will help ensure the website project meets your needs.

Content Generation

Who will generate the content for your website? Whether it be text, video, images, or other types of content, content creation is a critical aspect of a successful website project, which is often overlooked. High-quality, relevant content is essential for engaging your audience and achieving your business objectives both on the page for visitors and for search engines to be able to find you. Define content creation responsibilities and ensure that the content reflects your brand identity and resonates with your target audience. You may need to hire people to do this right; too many overlook this and pay for it with a lackluster site.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

If you're relying on search engines and social media to send you traffic, it's essential to address SEO strategies to improve its visibility and reach your target audience effectively right from the beginning. Building a website does not mean you will be found — it is not "build it and they will come." SEO best practices include generating original and valuable content, optimizing your website's content for search engines, and many other tactics that all add up to being found. There is no one magic pill to make SEO perfect, but you can significantly enhance its online presence and attract more visitors with foresight.

Maintenance Requirements

What technical maintenance is needed for your website? Understanding the ongoing maintenance requirements is too often overlooked. Regular updates, security measures, and one-time fixes are needed to keep the site working as intended. Web maintenance is like an oil change in your car; it helps you avoid the most expensive repairs. Establishing a maintenance plan and allocating resources for ongoing upkeep will help ensure your website remains functional and up-to-date.

Understanding ALL The Costs

Understanding all the initial, short-term, and long-term costs associated with your website project is important. This includes development, hosting, maintenance, content, SEO, and additional expenses. A clear understanding of the costs will help plan effectively and prioritize decisions. It's also beneficial to consider potential future expenses that may arise as your website evolves and new features or revamps are required.

I hope these insights guide your upcoming or ongoing website projects! Contact me anytime if you have any questions or need assistance.

Your tech pal,


P.S. What if you have a current website and didn't do all the above? It is never too late to learn and improve! Perhaps start with my "Website Self Assessment Checksheet" (it's free!).