Bad website development? It just needs to stop!

Perhaps it doesn’t. After all, the mistakes of so many are the good fortunes of a few. There it was, staring me in the face for the second time this year. For the fifth time in 17 months. For the ninth time in the last two and a half years.

It wasn’t just another bad website someone developed for a prospective client of ours — those we see almost every week now. It was another bad website that was only a few months old, and the client was upset, miffed, put out, and feeling betrayed. Money down the drain, time well wasted, opportunities squandered.

There are so many reasons why website design and development go haywire. Certainly, people want things on the cheap, only to learn a short time later they need a do-over. Ouch. But more frequently it’s because the communications industry is filled with ambitious communicators. There are a whole lot of talkers, but not many listeners. A whole lot of chest-thumping, but not much brain-pumping. And most of all, a whole lot of “we can do that” and not enough “we just can’t do that.”

Redesigning a company’s website when it just had its website redesigned is a painful and sad experience. For almost everyone. The client has been taken, you feel awful for them, and the “takee” lives another day. But if you’re seeing red now, chances are there were red flags and red herrings at the outset. Believe me, it’s okay to walk away and save some time and money in the process.

Here are a few questions to ask that separate the men from the boys in the world of website design and development. The first three are obvious, the others not so much. Sure, there are plenty of other questions to be asked, but this is a start.

  1. How many websites have you designed? Personally, nothing fewer than 100 would be suitable to me.
  2. How long have you been doing it?
  3. Show me a handful of sites that you’ve designed in our industry or a related business. This is a critical difference-maker.



Those are the basics. If satisfied, move on to these.

  1. At what point will we see the initial designs? The correct answer is after we’re provided with the content — you always design websites based on content.
  2. Tell us everything you can about the person who will manage this project. There are so many moving parts and pieces to a successful website project that you must have a project manager with deep experience; for instance, advertising agencies tend to assign an account executive to manage a Web project, and that can be a huge mistake.
  3. What percentage of your business is website design and development? If it’s not more than 50%, be careful.
  4. Tell us how Google’s new algorithm has impacted the Internet. You should get an eyeball-popping, jaw-dropping response to this.

And that will do it. That will save you the agony and deliver on the ecstasy. Oh, and don’t be fooled by price — 85% of decision-makers pass judgment about you based on your website and other online attributes. Don’t get passed over, passed up, or passed by because of a few dollars. You’ll make it up in no time at all.

P.S. Here’s one bonus observation. Listening speaks volumes.

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