Web Developers and Businesses Both Suffer
Content delays reflect those endless days, weeks or even months of waiting when you’ve completed website design and development, but there’s no approved content for the new site. You’ve slaved over the design, maybe going through several iterations to please your client. You’ve sweated the details to deliver a thing of beauty that’s guaranteed to make a splash.
Meanwhile, your client had no idea a new website was going to take so much time and energy. The old one only took a month to put together five years ago (although it shows, and you’ve persuaded them a new site is in his best interest). But you can’t use the content from that old site because of the changes, so the project screeches to a halt and content delays keep everything from moving forward.
Nobody Wins During a Content Delay
Content is often one of the last pieces of a website project. All that work to get to this point — all the pressure, all the deadlines — now seems like wasted effort. It seems so simple: just write down some words that describe the product or service. And yet, the client can’t seem to deliver anything, even though he’s had months to do this one little task.
Content delays are frustrating for everyone involved:
- You can’t close the project and collect your final payment until the website is live — and you can’t publish the new site without content.
- Your client can’t reap the benefits of the new website you built until it’s online — but he didn’t realize writing content for it was going to be so difficult.
So you’re stuck, your client’s stuck, and every day that passes, you both feel worse about starting the project in the first place. If this scenario sounds familiar, you’ve experienced a content delay that has sucked the energy out of a client relationship more thoroughly than even a nasty lawsuit.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are three ways to avoid content delays.
1. Get the Content First
If you could go back in time to the beginning of that website project, you might insist that your client deliver the new content before you start. So learn from your mistake and insist on it for your next project. Build it into the schedule — right at the beginning — and insist that you can’t move forward without approved content.
That’s not to say that the content won’t change at all, but at least you’ll have valid content that someone has reviewed before you put in the hours, days and weeks needed to design a website. You’ll have content that’s “good enough” for a website launch. And you’ll have content that reflects your client’s business from the inside. That’s valuable when designing for that client.
Smart website designers, in fact, prefer to design to the content, instead of trying to fit the content into a new design. In this way, form meets function, which improves the visitor experience on all levels. The website you produce, in the end, will be more effective, making you, your client and your client’s customers happier.
2. Prioritize the User Experience (UX)
You design and build websites for clients, but your clients really aren’t the people who’ll use the website. Their website has to attract and please visitors. So consider adding a UX specialist to your team. When you focus attention on the user experience of a website, the content naturally becomes part of the conversation. In the design process, therefore, content is an important deliverable, not an add-on line item.
User-centered design has been a trend in software since the days of the “helpful” Microsoft Office paperclip — “It looks like you’re trying to write a resume; do you want to use a thesaurus?” The industry has thankfully progressed well past that disaster. Now software is much more intuitive. Websites should be as well.
To avoid content delays, you must prioritize the content. If it’s important to a visitor’s website experience, it becomes important enough to devote resources to. Content delays often happen because no one thinks about the website content until the end of the project. A UX specialist would make it a priority.
3. Hire Professional Content Providers
Professional content providers like Ray Access specialize in effective content no matter what the industry, service or product. Not only can they research the topic so that they can write authoritatively about it, but they also understand how to use keywords, which in conjunction with search engine optimization helps people find the website online. Even the best site does nothing if no one can find it.
The professional writers and editors at Ray Access deliver an additional benefit to combat content delays: they are deadline-driven and deliver on time, every time. That means you’ll receive the content you need in time to keep your project on track. Your client will have the time to review — and if necessary, call for revisions of — the website content well in advance of your deadline to launch the site.
Effective content connects with the audience, providing a positive user experience. But only if you don’t have to wait weeks for it from your client. Be proactive and budget for a professional writer right from the start. Learn about the range of services Ray Access offers web developers and designers — agencies that have suffered from content delays.