It’s that time of year when many businesses are kicking off marketing initiatives. Usually that includes making changes to their company website. Website projects happen many times in the history of a business. Yet why is it that more often than not everyone is so unhappy with the outcome? Cybervise will give you the number one thing that will guarantee you are happy with the new website. Take part in the final website testing.
Make time for your Website Project.
If you don’t want to be unhappy with yet another website, do not delegate the entire project to a web developer. Make time to communicate and review the work completed during your website project. Don’t wait until its time to take the site live.
Plan Time to Test – Schedule Time to Test.
Testing doesn’t have to happen constantly during the project. Pick a time each week to checkin on the project. Sometimes the Developer will need to break things before its ready. So if you don’t have a coordinated schedule, you could choose to test the site at the absolutely wrong moment. Work together and plan when you should look at the website and review what’s ready.
Keep Track of What You Find.
Make a list of all your findings during testing. Document what you find and share it with your Developer.
A fresh pair of eyes is helpful during testing. Developers are looking at the project everyday. Don’t assume they will see it. Even if it seems obvious. Add it to the list and communicate what you find. Then if it doesn’t get fixed, bring it up during your project meetings until it is.
Let us give you an example of how NOT to manage a website project. Customer had a list of changes they found during testing. Things they wanted changed during the current project. They didn’t share it with the developer. They had a documented list of what they wanted done and never shared it. Instead, they were waiting to see if the developer found it first, without telling us. The rationale was they hired an expert and an expert should know what’s wrong without being told. Why would you hire a web developer only to see if they fail? No one can read your mind. Items you may not like could look good to a developer. It’s a different perspective. Whose time are you wasting by doing this? How does this get you a website you are happy with?
Have a Scheduled Time to Review with Developer.
Create a schedule of checkin meetings with your Web Developer. Take the lead on this to make it happen. Make sure and keep the appointments. This will help keep your project on track. During your checkin you can review your list of items that you found during testing. Present your list as a bundle. Bundling your requests is a much more efficient use of project resources. Emailing your web developer everyday with something you find only slows them down. Think about it, they have to stop working on your project to address each email. Control the communications.
In 2020, this needs to be part of your project. If your Developer is not bringing it up, you should.
Make sure you have an iPhone and an Android handy. Test using both types of phones.
Check with the developer when in the project schedule you can begin to look at the mobile version of your site. We will often do a second pass on the website to check mobile styling. Ask your Developer when it is time to test mobile. Make sure to have time scheduled to review the mobile before the new site goes live.
Go-Live Day Testing
Once you schedule the day for your new site to go live, block out this day on your calendar. Plan on being available for more testing.
Pick a time to flip the switch.
Plan the date and time to take the new site live. Make sure you and the Developer are available at that time. You will need resources handy in case anything goes wrong.
Takes about 24 hours to propagate around the world.
If you have offices on opposite coasts or overseas, not everyone will see the new website at the same time. Tell your fellow team members and bosses to keep refreshing the screen until they see the new site. Once you make the switch, it may be at least a couple of hours before you start to see the new site.
Example: We had a customer that wanted the site to go live timed with a press release and major company announcement. This will be tricky since a lot of the timing is out of your hands. If the new site can’t be live until the announcement, flip the switch once the press release has gone out. Or, if you want the press release to send people to the new site, schedule the go live for 2-24 hours before.
“Clear Your Cache” Instructions handy.
Be prepared. If people know you are the one in charge of the new website project, you will get calls and emails. People telling you they can’t get to the new website. To see the new site, they may need to clear their cache or history in their browser. Instructions are easy find online, have them handy. For most people, pressing Ctrl-F5 on their keyboard while looking at the website may solve it.
Once you see the new site:
– Run through your site map. Click all pages in your main navigation make sure everything loads OK.
– Test your login to back end or admin part of your website.
– Test all forms or anything sending emails. Make sure the people who need to get requests from the site are getting the emails.
– Complete a sale or call-to-action. You don’t want to see any error messages while trying to complete an online sale or download.
First 30 Days of Your New Website
Schedule at least one more checkin with your Developer.
Negotiate this ahead of time. What kind of support do you get once the site goes live? Remember web developers work in project mode. Once you are live, your project is no longer the focus of their attention. Most folks will still want help.
What is the procedure if you find issues?
What is the turnaround? What is within the scope of the current project? Should not be surprises at this point. Just looking for problems on existing items. You are not changing or adding to the website at this point.
Check your Analytics.
Make sure things like Google Analytics are tracking. Check your sales apps, paid ads or other third party tools and verify you are collecting data. If there is a problem, you don’t want to wait to long to fix it and miss weeks worth of data.
Plan on making an update to the website.
If your site has the ability for you to make your own updates (like a WordPress site), you will want to practice making content changes while you still have your developer’s attention. Don’t want to wait too long after training. Save something back for you to try with the new site. Something routine like posting a blog or updating a calendar.
Managing Website Projects
How a Non-Techie can get more from Web Developers.
Would you like more tips on managing a web project?
Listen to our archive recording of our 30 minute webinar.
Our discussion will help calm the fears of non-technical website owners. Managers who need to work with website developers on this year’s website project. Cybervise will outline a strategy to finally get a positive project outcome.