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Avoiding Roadblocks in the Web Design Process

When designing a new site (or redesigning a current one), a common question that I receive from clients is, “How long will the project take?”. I’m usually able to provide a pretty accurate estimate of when I’ll have a sample design (a graphical representation of what the site will look like) ready for their review. From there, we make any necessary revisions and then I begin to turn that design into a real, working website. Usually it takes anywhere from a few weeks to a month, depending on how many revisions are required.

That part of the process often goes pretty smoothly. It’s the next phase of things that can be a real challenge.

The Biggest Roadblock

Caution: Roadblock AheadAfter figuring out the basic look and layout of the website, it’s on to developing the content. This is often the most gut-wrenching experience for both the designer and client.

Over and over, I ask myself, “Why?”.

I think it boils down to a few main culprits:

Lack of Time

This is probably the most understandable of reasons (at least, from my perspective). No matter what business you’re in, chances are that you have a lot of work on your plate. We’ve all been there. Finding time to sit there and write content requires your total attention. It’s hard to get that focus if you’re too busy with other tasks.

The Solution: Perhaps this isn’t a great time to try to go it alone. Delegating the task to another member of your organization can help keep things moving forward. If that’s not an option, hiring a professional content writer might be the answer.

Committee Approval Required

Oh boy. This one is the most frustrating of them all. You’re in a room full of people and nobody can agree on what should be on the website. Even if someone in the group bothers to take initiative and try to get things done on their own, their hard work can be picked apart by the others until there’s nothing of use left.

The Solution: If your committee has a leader, this is the time for them to step up and take control. Assign specific tasks to different members (or groups of members) within the committee and have them report back with a finished product. When no one is willing to take charge, the content development process is bound to go nowhere.

Confusion

We all have different talents. We all have tasks that we just aren’t very good at. Just ask me to fix your plumbing if you want to see an example of the latter. In all seriousness, some folks just aren’t great writers. Some have no idea what they want on their website. That’s completely okay! There’s no shame in needing a helping hand.

The Solution: Once again, consider consulting with others in your organization or hiring a content writer. You can also feel free to discuss the process with me. I’m here to answer your questions!

The Dangers of a Content Roadblock

The longer the content development process goes on, the worse it is for your business. It means you’ll either a) go without having a website; or b) you’ll be stuck with an old website with out-of-date content.

Beyond that, consider that delaying this process for weeks, months or even years can lead to:

  • Losing any momentum your organization had for building the new site.
  • Seeing competitors pass you by with their online presence.
  • Causing panic when someone asks why the project hasn’t been completed yet.
  • Having a disinterested web designer who has been waiting six months for a few pages of content 🙂

The bottom line is that letting a project drag on for long periods of time is not good for anyone. The website development process works best when everyone involved is committed to making each aspect of the project the best it can be. Delivering quality should be the #1 goal.

On a positive note, that’s why I’m here! My job is to help you along in the process. That doesn’t mean it’s going to be 100% easy, but it does mean that you have someone to lean on when developing content.