Project Failure is a Missed Detail Away
Web development projects can be a risky investment. One needs to walk the fine line between value and price in order to successfully create a useful and sustainable product.
I first started my journey into web development over 10 years ago and have seen countless projects rise and fall. I am proud to have been part of some successful projects, whilst at the same time cringe at those that failed. More often than not, miscommunication was to fault for the loss.
It all comes down to detail. Your developer needs to know exactly what it is you are aiming to accomplish in order to guide your project to success. Here are seven key aspects to cover with your web developer or project manager.
Clearly describe your line of business and its size. This information will greatly help the developer match the website to your specific needs and target audience.
Your aims for the website
Consider the reason that you are seeking a new website as this can affect the function and ‘flow’ of your website. Should you need to encourage sales or enquiries, your website would need the relevant “call to action”. If you need to gather data or obtain information from your audience, your web pages would need to direct them to an appropriate survey form.
Do you have an existing site?
Not all projects start from scratch, you may have an existing website elements you are looking to re-use. Include what you do and don’t like about the current site – such as the visual appearance, its navigation or functioning.
An important point that is often missed here, is the current software the website is running on – this may be WordPress, Joomla, Drupal or one of many other systems. If data has to be transferred from the old site, knowledge about the current infrastructure is imperative.
Try to include a link to at least one competitor’s website which has the functionality you desire. Mention what you do or don’t like about their site, and whether any of the functionality needs to be reproduced for your website.
Budget and time-scale
While many may be hesitant in including a budget in their web development brief, doing so will allow the developer to provide a realistic solution to your needs. Providing a ball-park figure often cuts down wasted time for both parties.
If you have an indication of when your project needs to start or end, include this detail to ensure the developer will be available when needed.
If you have features in mind for your website, such as a blog, newsletter or quotation form, it is necessary that these are mentioned as they will have an effect on the quoted amount.
For more complex or customized features, you may want to provide a link to a website with similar functionality and describe how you want yours to be different.
Keep in mind that you could ask the developer what functionality they could recommend for your type of business.
Your website will require hosting. If the web developer provides hosting services, include this requirement in the brief.
Also ensure that you know who will be maintaining the site and updating content. There is always a slight learning curve with using any new software, so if you would prefer this is handled for you, include this too.
Lastly, and possibly most importantly, is whether you require marketing services for your website such as SEO or Adwords.