A lot of people needing help with their websites don’t know the first thing to expect. James and JBayStudios‘ Charl Coetzee have put this episode together for them, to outline the most important steps of the website design and development process.
Charl will discuss the first step of defining, what is the scope of the project?
He’ll discuss factors that affect a website development timeline.
And he and James will go into the aspects of, how much does website development cost?
Table of contents
1. What does the project cover?
2. The tools and the timeline
3. Defining who does what
4. The inevitable question of pricing
5. The lines of communication
6. How to mitigate the risks
7. Assuring the quality of the thing
8. Handover and setting expectations
9. Once you’ve launched it…
What does the project cover?
Regardless of project size, scope is a critical starting point, says Charl. It might range from minor website fixes to massive transitions, like shifting platforms from WordPress WooCommerce to another platform like Kleq.
Understanding the goal, the deliverables, and the deadlines is key. A well-defined scope provides the clarity needed for achieving momentum.
Charl adds that a project’s scope is critical in identifying potential risks and constraints. By drawing on past patterns and experiences, one can anticipate potential issues and plan accordingly.
Scope also effectively narrows focus. Often, clients come with grand visions that might not be practical or necessary for the project’s success. The goal is to strike a balance and avoid being too ambitious.
Charl also highlights the importance of providing the most significant impact for the stakeholders and not trying to be everything to everyone.
The tools and the timeline
The correct choice of tools can greatly impact a project’s success. Using too many separate tools for a single project can complicate things and increase the chances of breakdowns and miscommunications.
Charl loves a tool like Kleq, which targets specific goals and simplifies tasks. The right tool for the job equals efficiency and simplicity, saving time and money, and reducing stress.
Clear goals and reliable tools also shorten the project timeline. James is another Kleq user – the platform has helped him streamline his operations and allows his team to focus on marketing rather than dealing with technical issues.
Prebuilt functionalities, such as campaign builders for specific needs, make for quicker implementation.
And it’s a great thing, says Charl, to have control over your own project. Relying on others for minor changes can limit your speed to market, which is critical in today’s fast-paced environment.
Charl is all for providing clients with the knowledge and resources that will let them make tweaks as needed. And while customers will often return for additional support, providing them with this autonomy fosters trust and a stronger working relationship.
Defining who does what
The third important step is clearly defining roles and responsibilities in a project.
James and Charl agree, it’s crucial to specify what tasks are expected from the parties involved, including the person who commissioned the job, the project manager, and other team members.
Often, stakeholders will need to provide specific inputs such as texts, copywriting, or a design style guide. By outlining responsibilities, everyone in on the project knows what’s expected and when.
Charl says he prefers to finish a job on paper first, creating a blueprint of what needs to be done by whom. Whether it’s the business owner providing course videos, a separate copywriter providing the texts, or in-house professionals doing their part, each task must be assigned clearly and transparently.
This also extends to deadlines for deliverables, to ensure the project maintains momentum.
The inevitable question of pricing
Then of course there’s the project pricing and budgeting.
Charl has mentioned in a previous episode the main three components of web campaigns: copywriting, technology, and design. He believes in providing clients with options where his team handles all aspects (‘done for you’) or collaborates with the client’s team (‘done with you’).
It is critical to properly scope and budget for both of the above scenarios, and for clients to understand their role in the project, especially when they have in-house resources or preferred suppliers.
Charl also highlights the importance of timing when investing in software or services, to avoid unnecessary expense. He suggests clients prepare to use software or services before signing up, to ensure they’re being used fully from the get-go.
Clients also need to factor in other potential costs, like traffic management for a fully functional sales funnel. While Charl’s team provides the working website and a handover document for the client’s traffic team, it is ultimately the client’s responsibility to manage and budget for traffic.
Charl emphasizes that a well-implemented project should be seen as an investment rather than a cost, given that it should generate revenue for the client. To this end, he encourages clients to be clear on the cost of operations and on their market, offer, and target audience.
The lines of communication
Charl stresses the importance of explicit, black-and-white communication between parties to prevent misinterpretation or confusion following meetings. It is crucial to clearly identify and document who is responsible for each deliverable, when it’s due, and how it will be completed.
As an example, Charl cites a recent project of theirs in which numerous webpages were converted into a new format. By mapping out all the tasks in advance and creating an external document, the client was able to follow the progress and tick off completed tasks, regardless of time zone differences. This allowed for smooth and efficient completion of the project.
Transparency is also key throughout the project, both among the team and with the client. Charl argues this is crucial both when working with external teams, and within the industry in general. Regular communication ensures all parties remain involved and up-to-date on the project’s status.
Further on the topic, Charl says if a client has to request an update on their project, then the service provider hasn’t been proactive in their communication.
Regular updates are critical to maintain the momentum of a project, even if the project is delayed. Without these, a client may feel abandoned or ignored.
Back when James ran a car dealership, customers who had ordered new vehicles would be kept informed throughout the entire process, from factory allocation to final delivery at the dealership. James made sure customers knew not just what to expect, but when to expect it, reducing their need to ask for updates.
How to mitigate the risks
James is interested in Charl’s experience managing risks in projects, particularly those that are long-term. After all, there can be changes in a client’s circumstances, changes in supplier costs, or potential problems with the tools being used.
Although Charl can recall such situations, the risks were generally mitigated through clear communication and by maintaining up-to-date records or ‘snapshots’ of the project.
Changes in a client’s offering, says Charl, can also pose a risk. In such cases, he stresses the need for advanced notification of any changes, so all parties know what needs to be done.
Of course, in the web industry, as opposed to car sales, the risks are less substantial. However, it can still be an issue if online traffic becomes more expensive, targeting options are removed, or conversion rates drop.
To mitigate these, the deliverables of the traffic team must be defined, and necessary adjustments made based on data feedback from the funnel.
Much like owning a car, clients also have responsibilities for the maintenance of the project. Charl says that understanding one’s role in managing the project, knowing what to do, and being prepared to make decisions is crucial in risk mitigation.
James agrees – a large part of it comes down to responsibility and knowing how to navigate situations correctly.
Assuring the quality of the thing
Once a project, such as a funnel, is built, Charl says it’s crucial to test all its functionalities. This includes checking the functions on the website pages, whether the CRM does what it should, and verifying if all the emails, tags, and automations are working as expected.
It’s important, says Charl, to go through the project as a user would, testing it on different devices to ensure it works across the board. The testing process not only verifies the functionality but also helps in identifying any errors or conflicts that might prevent the system from working as intended.
Charl recommends having a checklist for the quality assurance process, to ensure nothing is overlooked. Once all the functionalities have been tested and all boxes on the checklist have been ticked, the project can then be handed over to the client.
Upon handover, the client is provided with documents detailing all parts of the project, including the tags applied and a flowchart of the funnel, so they understand what has been done. This rigorous process is crucial to ensure the successful completion of a project.
Handover and setting expectations
James and Charl compare the handover process to picking up a new car, where the dealership discusses the car’s servicing needs, potential updates, and ongoing management.
In the same vein, Charl advises discussing with clients who will manage the project moving forward, what happens if the software platform changes, and future plans for other agency services like quiz funnel surveys.
The project handover, says Charl, is all about managing expectations. The complexity of the process may vary depending on the size and specifics of the project. For simpler jobs, once everything is confirmed to be working fine, the project can be handed over smoothly. For more complex projects, especially those involving other service providers such as copywriters, more coordination is needed to ensure everything works as intended.
Charl has had projects where they helped clients come up with ideas, scripts, and benchmarking criteria. The goal was to identify potential issues early and solve them, whether they lay within the funnel, the offer, or the traffic.
After the handover, they assessed the need for additional help or technical implementation based on the client’s needs and future plans. This final step ensured that the client was ready to move forward effectively after the project handover.
Once you’ve launched it…
Launching a project is just the start of a journey. James and Charl agree on the need for reflection and learning after launching a project.
You have to understand what changes need to be made to meet set objectives and Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). And a supplier must, of course, evaluate customer satisfaction and the project’s success.
Charl underlines the need for consistent evaluation and improvement throughout a project’s lifecycle. His team, he says, keeps documentation of each project to note what they would do differently next time, what they learned, and how they can apply those lessons to future projects.
The ultimate goal for Charl and his team is a happy customer. This is crucial for client retention and successful project outcomes.
It’s important, too, to celebrate the team’s accomplishments and recognize individuals’ contributions. Charl maintains this is a positive boost to the team’s culture and morale.
The steps discussed are in the context of website development, but James believes people can apply them to any kind of project they’re trying to run.
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