Don’t Let These Issues Derail Your Web Project
When we ask clients when they would like to launch their new website, most say, “Yesterday!” Knowing the most common reasons for website delays can help you keep your website development on track. Below are the top four things that delay website launches.
1. Too Many People on Your Website Committee
In our experience launching hundreds of websites, the more decision-makers involved in the project, the longer it takes to launch the website. On average, website committees comprised of over seven members tend to push the website timeline beyond a year. Conversely, sites with only one decision-maker tend to launch much more quickly (a soon as a month). We recommend keeping your website committee as lean as possible to streamline the decision-making process.
Takeaway: Keep your website committee as small as possible (three members or less).
2. Underestimating Content
Even if you have a long-standing current website, your new site will likely feature some new content or updates to existing content. Writing web content is a big project and many law firms and businesses underestimate this task. We recommend budgeting three hours per web page, including planning, research, writing, edits, optimization, and uploading the content to your content management system or content file.
Writing content is stressful and overwhelming for many small business owners. For busy lawyers who may be expert writers, writing website content is not billable to a client. Since it does not contribute to the bottom line, it often falls to the bottom of the to-do list.
If you have over five pages of content to write, we recommend assigning the work to a qualified writer or group of writers within your organization with a firm deadline. If you have the budget, hiring an experienced web copywriter can help speed up the content process and ensure that pages are properly optimized and written for the web.
Takeaway: Don’t underestimate the time and work involved in producing quality content for your new site.
3. Lack of a Take-Charge Project Manager
Every web project needs a project manager or point person to manage the project. In a solo firm, that might be the sole practitioner; in a mid-size firm, it may be a senior attorney; in a large firm, it might be the marketing director or firm administrator. Your firm needs a strong project manager who can take charge, corral all stakeholders into making decisions and push the project forward. A project manager who lacks focus or does not have time to devote to the process leaves the project in limbo for months at a time. Similarly, a project manager who lacks any decision-making power will need to circle back with his or her team on every decision, inevitably causing delays.
Switching project managers mid-project can also prolong the process. The new project manager must get up to speed with all aspects of the project (content, design, development, SEO). Often the new project manager has different ideas and wants to change the site architecture, design, SEO keywords, content or other aspects of the website that have already been decided.
Takeaway: Appoint a project manager who has time to devote to the project, has decision-making authority and will remain with the project until launch.
4. Rushing Aspects of Your Web Project
If you want your website to launch as soon as possible, it seems logical to rush through each step to get to the finish line. However, in our experience, rushing any aspect of the website process – SEO, content, design, development or punch list – often extends the final launch date. Rushing causes firm members to overlook important details, cut corners or rethink decisions that were made on the fly, creating the need to redo work, make major changes mid-project or take a step backward.
Takeaway: Set realistic timelines and set aside proper time for each stage of the project.
Everyone wants their site to launch quickly. Proper planning, a proactive project manager, and a lean web committee will help you reach your launch date sooner.