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Five Reasons Why Most Website Projects Fail: Part 2

A website project has many moving parts – it’s virtually impossible for most organizations to properly prepare and engage in this complex process. Now that the problem has been identified, it’s time to discuss the solutions:

  1. Write a Good RFP. A website project requires a well thought-out plan – the RFP needs to be very specific and have defined details for vendors. Prior to writing an RFP your organization should understand the following:
    1. What are the goals of the website?
    2. Who are the major target audiences?
    3. What information do I want my targets to consume?
    4. How much, and what types of content do we have?
    5. What tools will I need to manage my website?
    6. What were the successes and failures of previous projects?

      The best way to understand these items is a collaborative strategy session between your organization’s major stakeholders and a qualified consultant. Finally, do not leave the responsibility of writing the RFP to an unqualified employee – nothing will sink a project faster.
  2. You know your organization better than your web design company. For some reason many organizations feel that web design companies will take the time to research your business and understand all of its inner workings. In truth, it’s the organization’s responsibility to educate the web vendor on the following:
    1. Branding requirements
    2. History of the organization and its people
    3. Target audiences
    4. Internal business processes
    5. Core competencies
    6. Niche markets
    7. Competitor set
    8. Internal resources

      If you expect a web design company to really understand your organization without providing necessary information you’re setting yourself up for failure.
  3. Be educated about web technologies. It’s crucial for you to be informed about the latest web tools, such as Content Management Systems. Take the time to demo a variety of different online systems so you are better prepared to ask good questions.
    1. Know the latest Content Management Systems
    2. Learn how social media can be leveraged across many mediums
    3. Understand the basics about Search Engine Optimization
    4. Learn the principals of a good user-centric interface
    5. Understand the basics of web analytics

      Make your web vendor defend their technology choices, not dictate them to you.
  4. Be prepared to be involved during the project lifecycle. You will need to provide clear direction to your web vendor on many aspects of the project. Be prepared to be the lead on the following:
    1. Content architecture
    2. Messaging
    3. Conceptual imagery
    4. Branding protocols
    5. Marketing strategies

      These items take a tremendous amount of time and thought on your part – start preparing three months prior to the RFP process.
  5. Create a post launch strategy. Most websites have the exact same lifecycle. They get a shiny new look and feel, get ignored for three or four years, and then get repainted. The vast majority of websites are neglected to the point where they are worthless. To prevent against this, prepare to invest time on your site every month. Update content, change out pictures, post recent company or industry-related news, add new technologies, and commit to on-going Social Media and Search Engine Optimization plans. A website that makes consistent changes over time will be more far successful and produce better results for your organization.

DC Web Designers, or our sister company, District Agency, can help you get through this difficult process. From pre-project consulting, including initial strategy, RFP creation, vendor selection, and project oversight, through to the custom design, development and on-going maintenance and management of your new website, we’ll tailor our services to the specific needs of you organization. If you’re planning or preparing for a website project, please give us a call: 410-740-9181


You can tell a lot about a company by who hires them.

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