Remember your last web development project? You went over budget, blew past deadlines and became frustrated with just about everyone involved at some point.
The bad news? It was rough.
The really bad news? It was probably your team’s fault.
Most CEOs have serious misconceptions about web development. This is a problem because businesses are more reliant than ever on their online presence.
CEOs in companies of all sizes struggle with this. Here are six myths that most CEOs struggle with:
1. Website development is easy.
Clients commonly request a "simple" 20-page website with a log-in setup, online payment, a blog and other widgets.
Websites such as Facebook and Craigslist may appear simple, but the necessary development work is time-consuming and complicated. The strange thing is that the simpler the design, often the more expensive the siteis. Some requests that seem small could involve complicated development work and require days of programming.
2. Everyone should be involved.
Rather than packing all the staff into a conference room to rattle off ideas involve only the people who’ll be doing the work.
Compile your content strategy, brand assets, business objectives and user flows. Don’t spend time mulling deep technical planning, database architecture, layouts, designs or widgets.
3. Websites are a commodity.
With the advent of templates, sites like 99designs and offshore development, many businesspeople harbor the misperception that web design is a cheap commodity.
Taking advantage of already created templates might work for some companies, but for those serious about their brand and online presence, such alternatives won’t suffice long-term.
Consider your website an investment and dedicate appropriate resources toward it. Find a team of designers who understands your business, ask the right questions and have happy customers. A good team will help you manage your goals along with your budget and find optimal solutions. It may seem expensive, but the return on investment will be worth it.
4. Once a site is built, it’s done.
Web development isn’t a once-and-done activity. Once your site is launched, it will need to be maintained. Many midmarket companies have round-the-clock teams monitoring their sites to ensure they remain without glitches.
Even if your website doesn’t handle a high volume of traffic, you still need someone keeping an eye on functionality. You’ll also need security updates and fresh content for SEO purposes.
5. Anyone can create a great user experience.
You can’t build the website yourself. Focus on leading your business and improving your products. Your intern, cousin or IT guy can’t build it either. A lot more that goes into a site than basic knowledge of web design, especially when building payment systems and ensuring integration with the company's internal systems.
There are free website-building tools that can be great for bootstrapped startup or running a small business site. But they aren’t robust enough for the needs of most established businesses.
For your website, you may need a team to design mostly from scratch, which requires a specific skill set. Let the web design firm hired do what it does best, but make sure its staffers are asking the right questions about the target audiences before they start.
6. It’s your website, so you dictate the design.
It’s natural to want to micromanage your company's website. Unfortunately, unless you’re a web designer, this isn’t the job for you. You need to trust your web designer if you want site visitors to become paying customers.
Web designers will understand your vision, but you need to let them design. They’re knowledgeable about structure and what helps visitors convert into customers.