How to Shorten the Longest Part of the Website Development Process by 90%
Pop quiz: When developing a new website, what part of the process takes the longest and is responsible for most of the delays?
- A) Creating the design (template/theme)
- B) Making revisions to the design
- C) Installing of the content management system and its plugins
Actually, it’s a trick question.
The part of the website development process that takes the longest and is responsible for the most delays is…
D) Content entry
We can knock out the design, revisions, installation and configuration of a new custom-designed website in 6 weeks (when the client is responsive). But after those phases are complete, we often wait months for the client to create and gather all the content they want on the site.
Sometimes it delays the launch of the new site by 3 months or more. Sometimes, the delays continue for so long, the organization decides it’d be better to launch the site with some of the pages blank.
Two Causes of Delays
There are two primary things that cause the content entry to take so long:
1) Underestimated Time. Most people/organizations underestimate the amount of time & effort it takes to write the text for new web pages. Even if the organization has decided to simply copy the content from their old site it still takes time to copy the text, format it correctly, upload and embed media (images, audio, video), update links. It can take 5, 10 or even 20 hours to transfer content for even a small site.
2) Other Priorities. Generally, speaking the person responsible for creating a new website for an organization has been given that task on top of everything else they’re already doing. The people we often work with are pastors, school principles, small business owners and ministry leaders who have other full-time jobs. It’s not as if they have an extra 20 hours of free time in their schedule.
4 Ways to Cut the Content Entry Phase by 90%
Now that you understand content entry is a big task prone to delays, here are some things you can do to manage it better and reduce the delays.
1) Start with a content map. One of the first steps we undertake with a new web design client is to create a content map. A content map lists all the pages the new website will contain and the menu structure for those pages. Once you have a content map, you have a list of all the content needed to complete your site.
2) Create your content ahead of time. Don’t wait until the entire website is designed and installed and ready to go before you start thinking about content. Start creating your content as soon as you make the decision to move forward with a new site. If you have all your content done when the website is ready for it, you can dramatically reduce the content entry phase of the project.
3) Get your team started early. Organizations that have even a small staff usually need to get content from several staff people. Instead of waiting until you need the content to ask for it (which delays the project while you’re waiting for it), as soon as you’ve created your content map, determine who will be responsible for creating the content for each page, make the ask and give a deadline.
4) Hire someone else to do content entry. You are a busy person, right? A leader responsible for a lot of very important work. There may be no way for you to avoid having to create new content, but don’t get bogged down doing the task of entering it into the new website. That’s a slightly above minimum wage data entry job.
Website Transfer Service
For years, when developing new custom-designed websites for organizations, we have strongly encouraged them to let our team do the content entry for them because it saves so much time. Recently, though, we went through the process of examining all the questions people asked us via phone, help desk, chat and email in a 2 week period. One of the most common questions we were asked was, “Can you move my website for me?”
So, earlier this week we introduced a new Website Transfer Service to people who build their own websites with our NE1 Web Builder.
Now, all you have to do is place an order, pick the template for your website, and with the website transfer service, we’ll copy all the content from your old site to your new site.
Even if you are a “do it yourselfer” it’s important to recognize that as a leader, your job is to accomplish greater things through others than you can by yourself. Your mission is too important for you to get bogged down in content entry instead of the critical leadership tasks that only you can do.
With the Website Transfer Service, we can reduce the content entry phase from 10 weeks or more down to 1 week.
It’s another way we can help you achieve your mission online.
But, even if you don’t have us transfer your website, please get someone to do it. Your church, school, ministry or business needs you to lead!
- Have you ever been a part of the development of a new website that got bogged down with delays in the content entry phase? Can you describe it? How it happened, how it felt, how it impacted the organization?
- Do you have any additional advice for someone who may be about to start developing a new website?
- If you’re about to start the process of getting a new website for your organization, do you have any questions about content creation and entry?