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Why we want a website live in three months[ 6 min read ]

Are you procrastinating around your website build? 

You may think that you’re actually spending time to get it perfect, but this is something that can, in some cases, cause issues with getting your website live and out in the world. 

When we work with clients, we like them to have their site live within a reasonable amount of time, usually, we say three months. 

It sounds harsh, but there is a reason behind it. A good way to discuss this is with an example. So let’s have a look at a fictional business who has come to work with us to build their new website.

The client and the brief

Thomas is a business coach. He came to us for his initial quote in May 2019. He built his own site in Wix, but now his business is growing, he needs something which reflects his business as it is now. He also wants something that looks a bit more professional! 

He was working with high profile businesses in a face to face setting. He had a few different offerings which are all going to have a page each on the website. He fitted into our Ivy Package perfectly. We have picked a theme for the site and have started the build process. 

He didn’t have all the content that he needed for the site, so the build has stalled. We have meetings to keep him up to date, but he’s swamped with work, so the copy has taken a back seat. The website is currently half-finished. 

Then we hit mid-March 2020, and we’re in a national lockdown. 

His business model has to change completely to reflect this. What was once a brochure site, now has to have online courses and be able to take payments. So we’re waiting for him to create all the course details now too! 

As you can see the original brief has changed totally, and we’re getting close to 12 months since we started the build. 

Thomas is already well over our three months suggested build time, but we’re now in a critical place. Let’s look at the different things which could affect the go-live date of this site.

Image of a man in a waistcoat
FYI We don't actually know this man! He just matched our branding

Website theme updates

We build our sites using premium templates for WordPress. Normally you’ll get a license for the first 12 months from downloading. 

Under normal circumstances, that is more than enough time to complete a build and address any issues there may be. But if a build takes longer, then you’ve got the potential to get into sticky territory. 

So what can happen? First of all, you’re not just buying the theme files, you’re getting support from the theme developer too. This means that if there are issues with the theme, as long as you’re still in support, they’re obliged to look at trying to resolve them.

This becomes more important if you start adding plugins which are not part of the bundle which comes with the theme. The more niche they are, the more likely they are to cause some strange behaviour!  

At this point, we need to look at buying support for the theme. However at this point, the site still technically belongs to us, as it’s not live. So we’d need to buy the support and pass the extra cost to the client.

Plugin Support

Similar to themes, plugins can also change. 

We’ve come across many plugins which have started off working fine with a theme, then they have stopped working. The usual cause of major plugin issues is when WordPress has updated and they’re no longer supported. 

This is usually OK because there are often other plugins that can do similar things. When this becomes an issue is if you’ve again looked at something niche, where there are no options which work for your site.  

Your Situation Changes

This may sound obvious but in 2020, in three months a lot can change! 

Who would have thought that we’d be in a second lockdown in the UK? Even before we were put into the situation that we’re in, things change in business quicker than you’d expect. Particularly if you’re at the start of your business journey. 

The longer the build goes on, the more likely it is to deviate from the initial specification that we quoted for. This is where things like fear, procrastination and other people’s opinions start to kick in too. 

All this makes it exceptionally difficult for us to manage the process going forward as people start to forget what’s been said and agreed. Jumping in and out of the projects means both sides have to review where they were when they last looked at the site in anger, which takes up even more time of the build than is necessary.

This is when the relationship can become harder to maintain as frustration often kicks in on both sides. Particularly if the client doesn’t appreciate the complexities of a website build! 

There are of course often genuine reasons for timescales slipping, we understand that. But for changes, like in our example, then there is likely to be a much higher cost both in money and time for the build, and no one wants that do they?

As you can see from the scenario we’ve laid out above, there really is a good reason as to why we ask people for their web copy upfront, and why we progress our builds in the way that we do. It not only makes it easier for us to schedule work, it means you get the website you want with as least stress as possible!

If you’re looking for some support with your website, then why not get in touch using the form below or read our Frequently Asked Questions page for more information.




Suzi Smart Bear

I'm Suzi - the owner of The Smart Bear.

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