Developing a website is a lot of work for both the web development company and the client. Making a website takes hours of planning, creating, editing, revising, and developing. As with any project of such a large scope, challenges will arise along the way. Pre-planning with your web development company can help you avoid running into some of these issues. Other problems are unanticipated; you might be trying to solve them a few days before launch. The keys to solving the biggest problems with web development can be found in your communication strategies and in the hands of your web development team. A two-way street of communication should be taking place at all times to ensure goals are shared and objectives are understood.
Looking to solve the biggest problems with web development? Here’s a good start:
Define the requirements. Communicate with your web development company what you are looking to achieve with your website. Be as specific as possible: Do you need a search option? Administrator login? Integrations? A mobile version? Share every possible detail with the company developing your website so that when it’s time to launch, they know exactly how the website should look and function.
Set a budget. Understand that web development is an ongoing project; it doesn’t end when the website is launched. Agree to a budget up front, but make sure it covers all the features you need to include. Set aside an extra portion of the budget for training, maintenance, and support (or take these into account from the start). Many companies offer a month’s worth of post-launch support. Additional training can always be added on if more questions arise after the period of time specified in the contract.
Structure the website. A structure should be set in place before the design process begins. This includes understanding what content will live on each page and what links will be present. Ensure web pages are linked properly so that users can easily navigate the site. If navigation is simple, they are likely to stay on the page longer. Make sure the website is scalable, that additional pages can be added in the future without complicating the functionality.
Make it compatible. When searching the Internet, people use different browsers, such as Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Safari. Web pages will look different depending on the browser. Make sure your site is compatible across the board. The easiest way to do this is to implement a responsive design.
Have a backup plan. Make sure your website is backed up and secure. Many content management systems store content in a database, but most do not tell you how to back up the files. Website backups are critical if databases run the website. Make sure your web developer or the hosting company has the entire database backed up so that if something were to happen, it can be recovered easily.
Developing a website requires a lot of thought, a lot of effort, and a lot of time. The process may wear you out, but your web development team is there to ease the headaches. Not sure where to find a development company? Keep in mind what results you want your website to drive. Marketing efforts might not be a concrete goal laid out in the aim of your website, but it plays a largely influential role in driving traffic and generating leads. Consider hiring a marketing firm to build your website.
Most importantly, when your website launches, think of it as the beginning of the project. You’ve already avoided (or overcome) the biggest challenges. It’s time to see how people respond. Check in and look at the analytics weekly. See what’s working, what’s not, and make changes accordingly.