During a recent home bathroom renovation, I was struck by how close the construction process was to a website redesign process. How?
Over the month-long renovation, our house was a veritable parade of specialty contractors, each working in tandem on their part of the project. In addition to our general contractor, there were carpenters, electricians, drywall guys, tile guys, and painters.
Similarly, it takes a talented team of specialists to build a new website. At a minimum, you’ll interact with a designer and programmer. But there are several other people working away behind the scenes, including copywriters, photographers, project managers and others, that help bring the project together.
As part of the renovation, my wife and I were responsible for selecting and purchasing our materials, and we were asked repeatedly to have them ready before the project started. Why? Because the contractor needed everything on hand to finalize his plans. For example, the medicine cabinet, lights and outlets were to be centered over the vanity, which affected the electrical wiring done on day 2.
We dutifully pre-purchased all of our materials, but forgot touch-up paint for an exterior hallway. No big deal, right? Not for the painter who patiently sat on our front porch clocking up Saturday overtime, while we rushed to Lowes (twice!) to match the discontinued color.
It’s just as important to compile your website materials at the start of the project. Logos, photography, marketing content and copywriting, staff bios, legal disclaimers, hosting account information and other information should all be reviewed early in the planning phase, so they can be appropriately built into the project plan.
Sure, it’s tempting to just start on the design and “figure it out later.” But those projects inevitably suffer. The design may fall short since there’s no predefined message or goal to build around. Or the added-at-the-last-minute content may be weak and ineffective, since it was cobbled together in a rush to get the website live.
Measure Twice, Cut Once
With a couple exceptions, our renovation went smoothly. But a small storage cabinet was built next to the bathtub. The contractor forgot to tell the tile guys, who used a precious few square feet of tile under the would-be cabinet. Then, they ran out of tile a foot short of covering the rest of the floor. The project was stopped for a week as we waited for more tile to be rush-delivered.
This further demonstrates the importance of a website production process. While the web team waits on a missing piece of content or an elusive server login, the project schedule slips a day here and a week there. And the overall work suffers through a series of starts and fits. We’ve seen projects delayed by weeks and months, all for lack of a few hours of planning at the start.
So how to avoid these issues? Planning, planning planning!
We advocate a thorough planning phase at the start of a project, to hammer out all the details before we put pen to paper. For more information, read a more detailed description of our project process. Or give us a call and we’ll walk you through it!