Website development is a complex business and the risk of failure is high. Here are top 4 reasons that projects fail.
- Website does not meet business purpose. Your website must support your marketing goals and business purpose. Do you need a traditional website, a blog, a sales letter, a video squeeze page, an eCommerce site? Is your messaging (business name and tagline) descriptive, and your copy direct and to the point? Do your graphics support your message or detract from it? Does your website pass the “5 seconds test” (most people won’t stay on your site more than that unless you clearly communicate your purpose). Websites that don’t meet your business purpose are worse than useless — they will turn people off, people who might have had a favorable impression from meeting you in person, for instance. This is a particular danger when hiring offshore contractors.
- Failure to leverage modern development methodologies.
Almost all software these days is developed using a methodology called Agile. There is an equivalent small-business development system called Lean Startup. Both of these systems rely on short development and testing cycles and rapid iterations (prototype building). WordPress is an ideal Agile development platform — and yet traditional website development rarely uses these principles. You typically sign a long contract, hand over many thousand dollars, and pray. This is not ideal for most businesses, and could be disastrous.
- Failure to leverage modern theme frameworks.
The best WordPress theme frameworks make it very easy to customize your site, can be quite attractive, and will dramatically reduce your long-term maintenance costs. And yet, many WordPress websites are still made with custom themes or themes designed using earlier technologies such as PSD to WordPress. We don’t like flashy themes that aren’t actively developed and that you can’t maintain yourself. Of course, if you find a theme that you adore, even if it’s not actively developed, we’ll use it.
- “Scope creep”. This is another major problem with traditional website design: requirements that get revealed during the website development process that were not included in the contract… resulting in exceeded budgets and misunderstandings. In our experience, it is better to start with a simpler website and build it up as required (and as cash-flow improves!). This avoids a lot of problems and really optimizes the customer experience.