Have you ever watched Grand Designs? You know, that programme where people set out with huge ideas to build ridiculous houses, with limited time and nowhere-near-enough budget.
It seems like building a house and building a new website have a lot of similarities.
Both are big projects that take a lot of time and take a lot of resource. That always run over time and often run over budget. But in the end, everyone is so happy with the result they forget all the troubles and everyone lives happily ever after.
One of the biggest challenges on Grand Designs is time, and it’s no different when developing a new website. Website projects often overrun - dragging into weeks, sometimes months, past the intended go-live date. Teams can find themselves in limbo, tensions can be high and everyone can feel frustrated.
However, website projects aren’t always destined to overrun. There are actually steps you can take early on to avoid your website project eating into months way beyond its original deadline. We asked our website development team, how can you avoid significant delays when launching a new website?
1. Lay your foundations first
Another similarity between Grand Designs and a website project is that everyone involved wants to see something. We want something to show for our work and we want that as soon as possible. This can often result in the foundations being rushed just to get on with the more exciting bits. but rushing the foundations can mean, well, that your house falls down.
2. Give yourself plenty of time
A website project takes a long time. Think about the time you’ve planned for this project - then double it. And add a bit more. Everything will take much longer than you imagined. So the best way to cope with this is to allow much more time than you expect the project will take. It’s always better to under promise and overdeliver.
3. Set realistic goals
Everything will cost more and take longer than you expect, so it’s important that you agree in advance the absolute essentials of your new website. Of course, you will always want those extra features, but it’s important to set your goals based on your absolute must-haves. Anything else is bonus.
4. Remember that too many cooks spoil the broth
There will obviously need to be a lot of people involved in the project. Marketing managers, design teams, developers, copywriters… but ensure that you don’t let too many opinions freeze your ability to make decisions. Involve people only at their relevant place in the process, set deadlines for decisions and involve as few people as possible.
5. Ensure strategies are aligned
Speaking of getting people involved - it’s important to be sure that everyone involved in your project is focusing on the same strategies. Your development team needs to be working to the same strategy as your UX team, and the same strategy as your design team.. Ensure you have a project manager in place to keep everyone on track and focused on the same goal.
6. Do everything in the right order
As with rushing the foundations above, it’s important to ensure you have a clear plan and do everything in the right order, otherwise you can waste time and resource if you end up doing things more than once. Have a clear timeline in place can ensure you don’t find yourself waiting around for something that should already have been done.
7. Test as you go
Don’t save all your testing til the end - get your development team to build small sections at a time and test them as you go, so you don’t end up with more delays when it comes close to the live date.
8. Involve content marketing early on
Don’t wait to involve content marketing until the end of your project - content marketing should be introduced early on in your website development as its practises can not just complement but support your website project.
Learn more in our ebook, How content marketing makes building your new website easier.