3 Ways to keep your web project on track

Every project we do looks great, but lets be realistic, there can be some hiccups on the road to greatness. Here are the top three reason that web projects go wrong and how to keep that from happening:

1. Start content creation early

Most of our clients want to write the content themselves. This is a noble idea but when it comes down to it, writing is much harder than most people think. We always recommend hiring a writer and have written this post about how to make working with web content less horrible.

Content creation is the #1 timeline killer in our experience so weve changed the way we handle it, for starters we now have a writer on staff. We also outline the big chunks of content that are important to the users so the clients have an idea of what to write about. Then they fill in the detailed information: staff bios, lists of services, process descriptions, and program overviews. We call that The Broccoli.

After we have The Broccoli from the client we write the pieces of copy that move the users to through the content: calls to action, headlines, subheads, and intros. We call that The Cheese. We write the essential copy to make The Broccoli more digestible for users by covering it in Cheese. So far, so good.

2. Make sure you have enough people to do the work

Web projects require a significant amount of work on our end, it also requires time and people on the clients ends. A web project will require one person to manage the whole job, so make sure that person has enough free time to dedicate to the project. There will be a few in-person meetings, design and content to review, usually user testing, and a lot of daily back-and-forth.

If youre going to start a web project, make the person who is running the project has the authority to make and execute decisions. Theres nothing worse than trying to finish a project with a go-between who has no power to keep things moving.

That person will have ultimate control, and will need input from other people in the organization, so make sure those other people have time and understand where they fit into the whole project.

3. Take it seriously

Pay attention to the project from start to finish. If someone needs to get into the conversation to provide insight, or specialized content, get them involved early and keep on them to deliver what they’ve promised. As a client liaison between the agency and the rest of the organization, your job is possibly the most important throughout the project. Don’t wait until the last minute to review prototypes or write copy because things ususaly take longer than expected.

We take everything seriously. And your design firm probably has a lot of other projects going on at the same time, so when someone misses a deadline, your project and all of the the other projects get thrown off. Then someone’s work has to be late, which is no one’s favorite situation.

Here are some things to do to make sure this doesn’t happen:

  • Make sure there arent any other huge internal projects going on that could interfere with this one.
  • Everyone who needs to approve the project is involved from the beginning
  • The point person is a good communicator and is highly organized
  • Any assets, like hosting, domain names, and photography are available and sharable.

Anyone else have other ideas? Wed love to hear them.

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