As VIEO's website project manager, I deal with things that stall the website redesign process on a daily basis. These pitfalls are different for each project, but certain issues do seem to arise more often and cause bigger delays--but the good news is that most of these are things that the client can control.
If you're undergoing a website redesign, you can take steps to prevent problems and start benefiting from your new website more quickly. Here are 4 of the most common issues, and how to avoid them!
Pitfall #1: Confusion about the Process
At the beginning of the website redesign process, we hold a design and content consultation. One of the goals of this meeting is to find out, in depth, what you need and want out of your website.
But there's another important goal, too: to make the process clear so that you know what to expect from us, and what we need from you to move forward. We'll carefully explain the timeframes for each milestone and give you a record of the process you can refer to any time.
There's a lot to remember, especially if it's your first time going through this process. Often, delays happen when there are misunderstandings about when things are supposed to happen and what's expected (on both sides of the agency-client relationship).
We're very focused on communicating clearly, but it's important that you ask any questions you have at any point during the design process. Our process was designed to balance the quality of the end result with a rapid turnaround time, and we're always happy to explain why we do things the way that we do. At the end of the day, we're here to supply you with the best possible website and build a great working relationship, and communication is the most important part of that process.
Pitfall #2: Not Prioritizing the Project
We completely understand that you're a busy person, and we're more than happy to work with you to accommodate your busy schedule. However, one of the things that derails projects most easily is when the client isn't making the new website a priority.
While there will always be fires to put out when you're running a business, few things are more important to improving your business in the future than your website. Whether it means devoting the necessary time yourself or delegating the project to the right people, making the website redesign a priority will speed the process up significantly.
We'll do everything we can to make the process easy for you, but it's important that we are able to contact you regularly with questions and updates, many of which require a response before we can move forward. If you know you won't have time yourself, designate a trusted member of your team to be the point person. If there's something that needs to come to your attention, they'll still be able to involve you.
Pitfall #3: Content Delays
Even if everything goes smoothly with design and development, there's still one more thing a website needs: content. It can't go live without images and copy, and in most cases those are provided by the client.
In our experience, content delays are the most common problem with website redesign projects. For whatever reason, clients often put off gathering content for their websites, adding weeks or even months to the project.
The two most common options are to use the content from your existing website, and to create new content that reflects your current business. In both cases, people often want to make changes after they've approved the final content. It's completely understandable that typos slip through and images don't look right, but if we can limit these changes, the process will move forward more quickly.
If you're writing new content, it's best to start on it as soon as possible and give yourself time to proof and review it as a whole before you submit it. If you'd rather not worry about any of it, we offer copywriting services and can provide stock images as well.
Pitfall #4: Problems with Image Size and Quality
It's not always major things that cause major delays; sometimes, a little thing can be just as time-consuming. Incorrect image sizes are one of those little things. There's nothing we can do to make a small image look clear and professional at a larger size, so we're forced to come back to the client and ask again. It's no fun for anybody!
We need the highest resolution possible, and one of the best shortcuts is to provide the original image. Screenshots, images saved from Facebook, and other secondary forms may not provide the quality necessary for web use. The last thing you want on your beautiful new website is a pixelated image. The original may or may not be large enough, but it's aways the best bet!
The necessary image size and quality also depends on where the image will be placed on the website. If it's going to span the full width of the website (for example, as a background image), it needs to be no fewer than 1920 pixels wide. For images that will be imbedded in the text, simply provide the largest version you have. If it needs to be scaled down or cropped, we'll do so in a way that preserves the quality. It's always better to have too much than too little.
When it comes to the website redesign process, there will always be issues that can't be avoided, and we're ready to address them as they come up. However, together we can eliminate many of the common pitfalls, and the entire project will move more quickly as a result.