web-developer-problems

 

Four common web development problems and how to deal with them

Posted on February 3, 2016

 

As a web developer, implementing a website project can be a complex process and, like any complicated project, it helps to anticipate potential problems so that you can plan the solutions.

Problem 1: The cost

One of the first questions that a client asks a web developer is what is it going to cost. Unless the client has a clear idea about what elements are needed for the website then it is difficult to quote for the total cost.

Apart from the number of pages, there are various elements that can add to the cost including forms, shopping carts, databases, videos, slide shows, interactive menus and so on, each of which takes the developer time to implement.

The solution is to create the exact specification for the site, written up and itemised. If the cost of everything that the client requires is above their budget, then features need to be prioritised and less important ones dropped.

If the developer is on their game then features can be easily added at a later date should the client wish to revisit them, this helps to get the website finished and live within budget yet still allows for the expansion of the website further down the line.

Problem 2: As the web project develops the client wants to make changes

After the web project has begun it’s only natural that the client wants to see the work in progress. This is when clients might say things like:

“Yes, that’s great, but maybe we could add this.”

“I’ve seen a competitor’s web site and they have this cool 3D animation feature to show off their products, can we have the same?”

This is what is known in the industry as ‘feature creep’ – where the agreed brief slowly but surely expands to includes other elements not agreed upon or costed. This is something developers and web designers need to be very careful about, as they could end up designing a very different and more complicated website to the one agreed.

Some web design companies will do this as a matter of course, but then submit a far higher invoice at the end of the project for a price much higher than that agreed with the client at the outset. These costs then take the client by surprise. At Engage Web we cost a website at the outset of the project and we don’t increase the costs based on time spent, so clients aren’t surprised by their invoices.

Problem 3: The site looks great, is live, but where are the visitors?

Some people have a “build it and they will come” mentality towards their websites. Even some web designers believe this. The site may look great, exactly fulfilling the client’s expectations, but that does not guarantee visitors. Without search engine optimisation, advertising, a marketing strategy and regularly adding content, the site will probably not reach its audience.

From the beginning of the project, SEO and marketing needs to be discussed. Ideally the web developer or the web development company hired should have SEO expertise so that SEO is built into the web development.

Problem 4: The website gets hacked

Many websites use content management systems such as WordPress that keep content in a database. Unless kept updated to the latest versions, they could be vulnerable to hackers. If content is uploaded by means of FTP (file transfer protocol), and if anyone gets hold of the password, unauthorised content can be uploaded.

A security breach that brings down a website is the worst case scenario, but this needs to be planned for at the beginning of the project. Backup systems and security protocols need to be part of the project specifications. Plan to have an automatic alert for the website going down, so that the backup can be used to recover the site quickly with the minimum of downtime.

We automatically back up all of our clients websites, and the websites we host, and we keep our clients websites up-to-date with the latest versions to ensure any risk of hacking is at a minimum.

Anticipating problems and knowing solutions is the key to a successful website project.

Technical Director at Engage Web
Darren is Technical Director at Engage Web, as well as being a co-founder of the company. He takes a hands-on approach to SEO and web design, helped by more than 20 years’ experience in these fields.
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