Top 10 Mistakes of Website management

Website management comes in three flavours

  • Actual Website management
  • UI or the look and parts the user interacts with
  • Most importantly the content

    The three become a balancing act, to much or little of one will upset the others and users will fail to buy, visit.

    1) No what the website is for

    This is always a question I ask when I interview clients. Often they look at me puzzled. I'll rephraze it like this, what do you hope to achieve buy building a website. Ahh money, users, more sales, show case a new product, a profile for myself, informative page for users.

    You must know this before you start an business venture and the website is know different.

    2) Designing the website to your tastes

    There times when this is the right thing to do, but even then the focus should be around what users want. This is common, a website owner will do everything they want and like without stopping to think what might be good for the user or what might be more profitable for all.

    A good example is designing a platform for user driven content, but making it so restrictive because of what you want to see you drive the users away. Many platforms have failed when they gone from freedom to restrictive use because of corporate pressure to force content on users. Yes there needs to be a balance, but when your starting out things should be a loose as possible.

    3)Making your site as complicated as your internal company structure

    Keep things simple, combine pages where possible, organise things in common logical groups not because one department is next to another.

    4)Outsourcing to multiple agencies

    I have seen this go wrong so many times. Unless you really understand building a website inside and out don't do this. There will be endless arguing and finger pointing. For example if you choose a designer who makes a nice design, but its 5 years out of date it will affect everything.

    A common one I see is a client gets a website designed and mockup. The designer has really bonded with the client. The client goes to the developer and says here you go I have all the .jpgs for you. Developers say well now I'll need to get our design team to do them correctly in .PSD the 'industry stand'. Or worse the design is 10 years out of date it won't work on tablets and mobiles, we will have to redesign it. On and on it can go.

    The worst case is all parts come together at the end and nothing works. Everyone blames everyone else and walks away from the project leaving you to start again.

    Hire one place, if they can't do it DONT HIRE THEM.

    5) No budget for maintenance

    Websites code needs updates. The web world is changing constantly with security threats, OS updates, device changes. Code also can become corupted over time.

    Furthermore Servers need maintanence, less on a hosted plan, but alot on VPS and Dedicated servers. It needs to be done and regular checkups a much cheaper than massive failures.

    6) Websites aren't TV, Print or Radio

    The old interuption type marketing doesn't have a lot of affect online. The Web is a new medium it is content driven, short engaging things are what drives a lot of the web. You'll have to jump on the bandwagon or be left behind.

    7) Wasting link Opportunites

    The web is literally a web of links. Use it, link your stuff to stuff. Don't expect users to find it on there own. There is also a real benefit to doing it to quality pages.

    8) Internet and Intranet sites the same
    Internal intranet Web sites need to be managed very differently from public Internet sites. The key difference is that each company only has a single intranet and thus can manage it to a much greater degree of consistency and predictability than we can hope for on the wild Web for many years. (This is why there are hundreds of separate usability guidelines for intranet design .)

    Also, employees use the intranet for corporate productivity, meaning that any waste of users' time is a direct hit to the bottom line.

    9)Market research is a usablity index
    Thankfully, many sites have embraced the value of customer data for design, but unfortunately many of them rely solely on traditional market research like focus groups . Most of these methods relate to creating desire for a product and getting it sold and do not provide detailed information about how people operate the product. A Web design is an interactive product , and therefore usability engineering methods are necessary to study what happens during the user's interaction with the site.

    Users are not designers: no matter how many focus groups you run, they cannot tell you how to design your navigation. Focus groups are great for getting information about users' current concerns and areas where they would like help, but they will rarely teach you how to reinvent the fundamental way you do business. Listening carefully to customers will often reveal frustrations that can turn into opportunities for improvement, but once you have an idea for an improvement, you must create a prototype design and try it out with users in a usability test to see whether it really works for them.

    There are endless stories of customers who say in focus groups that they would love a certain feature, but who never use it once it is launched because it is too cumbersome, too expensive, or doesn't really meet their needs in real use. The point is that market research forms the starting point but has to be supplemented with usability engineering if you want a design that works when people try to use it.

    You may commission a traditional market research firm to question thousands of customers to measure whether they like your website more or less than your competition. Once you know that your site scores, say, 5.6 and your worst competitor scores 5.9, you may know that you need to improve, but you will not know how to improve. Specific insights into the detailed design of your site and the parts that must change because they are confusing, slow users down, or do not match the way users want to work can be derived from watching four or five users as they actually use your site to perform real tasks . A day or two in the usability lab and you will have a long list of changes that will improve your design.

    It is less common to find sites that only do user testing and never conduct any market research, but that would be a mistake too.

    10) Underestimating the strategic power of the web

    You can create a whole company within the internet. No external advertising at all. This is an incredibly powerful thing. Don't just stick your page up on the internets. Get involved, register use the tools and features of the internet to show users your company is here to stay its switched on.

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    Senior Developer at Mebsites on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Mebsites is an acclaimed Magento and Custom Framework Web Software coding house.
    Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia Website