Fresh beginnings… It’s the start to a new website build.
Everyone, from client side to agency/implementation side, is excited to get started. Roles are assigned; dates are added to the project plan and the Risk Register is completed.
But your Risk Register isn’t completed until you’ve considered these common reasons for project delays.
1- Site Content isn’t ready till the end of the project
This may seem counter-intuitive, but it happens all the time. There is so much effort put into the design, business requirements and build, that the actual content of the site becomes an afterthought. This leads to several ensuing headaches:
- The effort to load the content is underestimated – the purpose of any content management system is to give the marketing side of the business the ability to update and add content at will without having to go to the tech side of the house to have their updates made for them. This also means that it is generally their responsibility to load all of the new content into the new site. This is an unexpected workload on an already busy team.
- The Content doesn’t fit designs – Many times, those tasked with creating the content have not been a part of the core team. They don’t know exactly what content is needed, or the content that is created doesn’t fit with the designs. As the content is loaded, sentences and phrases are wrapping and breaking in weird ways; there’s not enough content to fill out a page; there are asides, or additional content that needs to be on the site, with no real place to go; the designers added a cool looking widget, but there is really no content to go in it.
Having a solid content strategy from the get-go, and having those in charge of creating content be a part of the design and business requirements process review is key. Then, those team members need to start producing the content right away. Consider contracting additional resources for content loading or remembering to schedule time around other major marketing efforts like campaign launches and events.
2- SEO Strategy is more complicated than anyone realized
SEO is no longer just your basic Title, Description and Keyword meta tags. In fact, keyword meta tags are nearly obsolete. Many variables are involved to have your site data appear in search results the way you want them.
When someone searches for your product or solution, you want a high ranking in the result set. But have you thought about what you want your listing to look like when your listing does come up? Your SEO Strategy, Requirements and Content can be the difference of your result looking like this:
Or looking like this:
The second example is much more eye catching, and provides more information thus making it more likely to be clicked on, and the visitor knows that they are going to find information relevant to them which translates to fewer bounces and more time spent on your site. But this doesn’t happen automatically. Your site must be coded in a certain way for the content to be displayed like this in search engines, and you have to have the content on the site to support it.
We always recommend including an expert on SEO on the project- either advisory consulting from your digital agency, contract or in house. Your design and site architecture can play a role in the SEO of the site and this should be included in the initial planning and updated throughout the project.
3- No one understands your Google Analytics results
Curious how your campaigns are performing and an easy view of your Google Analytics? Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a FREE login to Arke Data Insights. In 5 minutes of self guided set up, your dashboard will provide an easy way to interpret your Google Analytics results.
4- GDPR, Consent and ADA Compliance weren’t planned
Even if your company is based in the USA, if your website, in any way, targets users in the European Union, then your site must abide by the regulations set out in GDPR. California recently passed similar legislation around data privacy. Both of these pieces of legislation are multi-faceted and complex, but again, if you aren’t thinking about them from the on-set of your project, then you are placing your company at a high risk for litigation. To be compliant with ADA requirements, you must also consider fonts and colors, alt text equivalents for images and other accommodations for users with assistive technology.
5- Testing and Redirects take longer than expected
- Testing Strategy – A test plan should be put in place early on in the project to define what types of testing need to be done – functional testing, load testing, and performance testing are a few types of tests that may be conducted. The plan should also indicate who is responsible for the testing, when the testing will be done, and what the process for the testing will be.
- 301 Redirects – Your new site will likely not have the identical structure to your existing site. When the new site is launched urls for the old site may still come in search engines for a bit, they may still exist in user’s browser history and bookmarks, and they may be used on other websites that were linking to yours. You don’t want users to click a link and end up with a 404 – Page Not Found error. Someone needs to go through the existing site and map the urls on the existing site to urls on the new site and set up 301 redirects so that if a user clicks a link for the old site, they are redirected to the proper page on the new site.
- Error Pages – If an unexpected error occurs, or an old url does not have redirect in place, or someone simply mistypes a url, you don’t want them seeing an ugly error page. Instead you should include in your design and implementation nice looking error pages so that users know that they are on the right site, but just not in the right place. Having a link back to the home page or a sitemap page is also helpful.
With awareness of these issues, planning and team collaboration all of these delays can be minimized. Explore other ways to ensure your project’s success at https://www.arke.com/thinking/.