Did you see that? The landscape has changed. There are new ways to be hired, find staff, reach new clients, and (gasp!) for them to contact you. The rules for doing business have changed. The economies of scale have flipped; it is now more affordable to carry out tasks on a small scale than to carry them out on a large scale. Mass-market goods have lost their allure in a world of franchise sameness, and consumers long for honest, personal connections.
As consumers, we demand everything. We want to learn more about your products, their features, and their advantages. We might check out what people say about you on Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yelp, or any of the thousands of other websites because we want to know what others have experienced. Oh, and we also don’t want to pay extra. Do you hear me?
We’ve listened to our clients and developed a brand-new approach to assisting with their online success. By doing this, we’ve realized that web development has been broken. Incredibly, any sites are completed at all. Here are ten issues with how online projects are usually carried out. These issues have arisen, but more significantly, we have discovered solutions.
First issue: Everyone wants to know how much it will cost.
With how we used to operate, we could not estimate the price of any specific project. We don’t know what you want to buy or how much detailed work will be required before we can declare success and finish the project, which is one aspect of the issue.
First, establish a budget upfront.
If a budget is appropriate for the goal you have in mind, we can let you know. If money is limited, we can assist you in setting priorities and ensuring that the essential features are completed before the budget runs out.
Second issue: The requirements are not well specified.
In the last 15 years, if you’ve hired a company to work on your website, you’ve undoubtedly realized how important it is to be clear and detailed about the final product’s appearance and functionality. Because of seemingly few needs, the project’s ultimate cost may alter significantly, potentially rendering an existing platform unsuitable.
Problem 3: For business purposes, requirements must alter.
You’re working on a new website project, and the specifications left out a crucial component you need, or they weren’t specific enough regarding the source data. Now that the developer wants to renegotiate the contract and add a change order, all work comes to a screaming halt. The customer is dissatisfied since the project is late, and they are paying more. All too frequently, we would toss in work without doing this and then have difficulties paying our bills because the developer was irritated about having to stop what he was doing and discuss business.
Problem 4: Requirements make it impossible to switch to a better solution.
When we are halfway through creating a website, we often find that the customer would have been considerably happier with the outcome if we had chosen a different strategy or platform. Our initial approach does meet the condition, and we are far enough along the present development’s path to turn back. Our consumers receive a clunkier, less-than-ideal site due to our unhappy delivery of a place that could be better, but it’s simpler to do this than to go back and renegotiate with the client.
Solution 2, 3, and 4: Remove the prerequisites.
Requirements have only one function: they act as a leverage point for one party to demand more labor or money from the other. They nearly always cause anger, and for modest online projects, they are largely unnecessary.
Don’t get me wrong; understanding what is being purchased and provided is crucial. The issue is that there are several variables, many of which are not identified until the project is already well underway. About half of a project’s actual work is likely spent on setting up potential dangers, and in most circumstances, the client doesn’t want to commit that much time and money without seeing any results. We’ve undertaken several such “discovery projects” and, almost always, invested significantly more in the discovery than we had anticipated. We lose money if we don’t succeed with the rest of the project. This implies we must charge our customers enough to compensate, raising the overall cost.
Instead of rigid requirements, we work with clients to set and prioritize goals. We begin with a configuration that has already been completed and then adjusts it according to the objectives using the budget.
Problem 5: Launching the new website takes FOREVER.
Once you’ve decided to launch a new website, defined the needs, selected a vendor, and begun, something amusing occurs. The developer vanishes off the planet’s face. As the customer, you are unaware of what took place. When you decide to call them two or three weeks later, they’ve completed a portion of the work but haven’t yet finished since other clients have requested an appointment. Two months later, they’ve made progress, and there is material to consider, but more work remains to be done on it. So the intense back and forth begins, and the requirements paper starts to get in the way. You start working on the material four months from now. After a year, a small surge of work results in the site’s launch, but nobody is pleased. It’s a relief to launch, but not much more. The developers have forgotten about all the neat little tactics they used to make your site do something snappy, and you’re bored of worrying about it.
Start with a pre-configured installation on a simple platform to alter as a fifth option.
Let me explain the situation as it is. Any competent freelancer or development company manages a large number of clients. It’s pretty challenging to plan out projects when there are so many diverse criteria and an undetermined amount of time to implement them. When one is ended, you don’t know when to begin the next one. To find more work, you must continue to hustle. Numerous tasks take longer than you anticipate. Meanwhile, former clients are returning with minor modifications they want to be made.
It is very likely to turn into a time management disaster. So, how do you organize your time? Set some restrictions. With a Drupal installation profile, we can launch a completely functional site in hours, with a few color changes, several pages, and everything ready for the customer to bring in content. A site hidden from the public on a development server is entirely useless. People visit websites for information, engagement, and other things on them. Many wildly successful Internet firms got their start with shoddy websites. The good news is that you can increase the number of reasons visitors have to return to your website by upgrading it more frequently, especially if you’re doing so in response to their comments. Get the site out early and be ready to update, but don’t blow your full load immediately. We want to create your website as soon as we can because we know these things:
Sixth issue: A website is never truly finished before it goes live.
The website is live now, although it needs some work. You’re satisfied with it, but there are still a few things you’d like it to be able to do before you’re finished working with the developer. Even if you could have them do more work for you, you don’t want to because you know they will charge more to recoup some additional expenses they incurred to launch the site.
And there’s a long list of tasks you’d like to complete in the future, but you need a break right now. Your website quickly begins to amass cobwebs. Many spammers have created user accounts. Your email form is gathering spam. Because of spam, you disable comments. And then, after a year or two, you decide to start looking for a new developer, go through the entire stupid procedure once more, and most likely get the same outcome.
Make the website launch the project’s beginning rather than its conclusion.
Undoubtedly, the debut of a new website marks a significant achievement. However, you won’t get all your clients or website visitors on the first day the site is live—you’ll acquire a lot more of them over time. Your opening day is only one day, no matter how thorough you are, how many hours you spent painting your store, setting up your inventory, etc.
With the kinds of web projects we work on, visitors regularly engage with your site. And some of them will request permission to log in using their Facebook account and post a comment. Or to provide them with a table that contrasts particular qualities of your product line. Also, to review anything.
We discover that most of our clients frequently return to us for assistance in identifying new ways to set up their websites, streamline their purchase procedures, and make fulfillment easier.
We’ll have a list of things we can build out for you, one at a time, each deserving of a new announcement, if we discard the fundamental prerequisites thing in favor of a prioritized list of aims.
Seventh issue: My posh content management system and online store were hacked!
It appears that the Internet is a pretty unpleasant place. Many criminals are trying to use your website to propagate malware and spam. Or using the server of your web host to attack rival websites. Or possibly stealing the payment card or personal data of your clients.
Any website could be compromised. However, there is more to keep up-to-date to ward off criminals for content management systems, e-commerce websites, and other applications operating on a computer someplace.
Solution 7: Ensure that security measures are current and the site is adequately backed up.
A database is where most content management systems keep their content. Rarely do generic web hosting instruct you on how to back up these. Fewer still can selectively recover particular objects that may have been deleted or maintain various backups throughout time. Furthermore, most hosts still rely on the incredibly unsafe FTP protocol for file transfers, which means that if your developer copies only one file over an unprotected wifi network, anyone might discover the password and take control of your website.
When you control your servers, these issues are relatively straightforward to resolve.
Problem 8: My expensive content management system is no longer supported!
Developers are continually creating new software to replace outdated versions, another issue never considered in the beginning. They eventually issue full new versions because they lack the time or capacity to support older versions permanently. After two or three years, your developer suddenly informs you that your site is no longer secure. And to upgrade, you’ll need to shell out a few thousand more dollars.
Plan and budget for renovations as part of solution 8.
A dirty little secret about content management systems: They are more expensive. No matter what your developer promised you up front, you won’t have to pay them to update content on your site if you can update it yourself. Although you can update the information yourself, you will still need to hire someone to maintain the program updated. Additionally, it will be more expensive than using a static site.
However, you aren’t purchasing a content management system to cut costs. (I hope). To increase sales is why you’re doing it. You’ll run more web specials and generate more revenue if you don’t need to wait for a developer to create a promotional offer that draws customers in. You will require assistance with the technical aspects of using your website efficiently if you invest some of your time and marketing resources. Instead of focusing on how to increase sales or improve customer service, the company owner or marketing manager should be doing it. You might have a tech-savvy employee, but do they stay on top of all the security updates that might impact your website? And how much do you pay them? You might as well hire a company to do this upkeep for several other websites, one that has optimized the upgrading process, good backups, the ability to fix broken things, and knowledge of genuine attack hotspots.
My website broke following an upgrade, which is issue 9.
Ok. We now understand that using a content management system comes at a price that must be paid for upgrades. And now, a corollary: Things happen. There are more points of failure in systems that are more complex. One of the biggest obstacles to developing a website is that there is always some nook or cranny where something isn’t perfect. Additionally, fixing one problem breaks another else.
Having a support contract is option 9.
It is expensive and difficult to achieve perfection. The adversary of the excellent is perfect. While we aim for nothing less than perfection, the truth is that there are defects in the software we use because it results from thousands of developers’ work. These are frequently known; for example, releasing an experimental module to accomplish a particular aim often breaks when upgrading a related module. Even though we have tight controls over our change management process and can typically roll back upgrades when something goes wrong, mistakes happen frequently. Since we can’t prevent anything from going wrong, we aim to reduce its effects. Adequately testing every part of a website would cost ten times as much, take much longer to complete, and delay its launch.
Tenth problem: The upfront costs are too high!
Find a capable web development company to meet these demands over time.
Web development projects are inherently difficult since they are all centered on a single, fictitious fixed point: the launch of a website. The resources, the cost, and the breadth of labor are all concentrated on that one event. However, the wider picture—creating a web presence for your group or business and adjusting it as your business changes to serve its customers—is neglected throughout the process.
I would advise you to shift your attention away from a single, massive development initiative and instead take smaller, more gradual steps. Find a business that is interested in offering you ongoing, consistent service rather than accomplishing everything at once and then moving on to the next client.
Open Source Solutions for Small Business Problems, published in 2004, was written by John Locke, who founded Freelock Computing. Excellent websites are created, supported, and maintained in collaboration with corporations and organizations by Freelock Computing.
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