Some executives come from a development world, but if they don’t it’s difficult for them to understand and appreciate the complexity of building and managing a website. These misunderstandings and misconceptions can cause hurdles during the development process. Software developers get frustrated since they can’t communicate common issues, and executives get frustrated from their own expectations. To overcome these frustrations, it’s important for executives to understand common misconceptions. Here are the top five common misconceptions executives have when they work with a web development team.
1) Everyone Should Have a Say in the Development Process
Developers take direction from people who will use the application, but too many people providing input can make the entire process a disaster. Input on design and functionality should come from the fewest people possible. In the enterprise, it’s common for the developers to work with a project manager (PM). The project manager gets input from various people interested in the app’s success, and then the requests are condensed and edited for the developer.
It’s common for managers from different departments to disagree on the way an app should work. It’s then the executive’s decision to determine the final outcome. Put yourself in the developer’s shoes. If two managers are giving you different directions, which functionality requests do you follow? Streamlining the process will cut down on a lot of confusion and misunderstandings. It’s expensive to have a developer rewrite sections of code, so having direct input from just one source saves you money.
2) Just Buy a Prepackaged Site and Save Money
A blogger new to the web and no followers can get away with buying a theme used by thousands of other people, but using the same design as other people screams unprofessionalism to your customers.
Plenty of template sites on the market will promise a clean design with little support. It works for unknown website owners, but for a professional look you need a unique design and logo that develops your brand. Go to the McDonald’s website and the colors, logo, and theme are all unique to the company. Even if you couldn’t see the URL in your browser, you would immediately know that you’re on the official McDonald’s website. This is what you want for your own site design. You want to stand out to your users, and you can’t do that with a regurgitated theme.
Themes from third-party designers can also be dangerous. Some designers insert malware or backdoors in their themes to gain control of your site. The malicious code runs silent until the attacker decides to take advantage of it. Most attackers hide their injected code or continue to keep access and steal data. It could be months before you realize that the site has been compromised.
With a unique design and code provided by a professional, you ensure your site’s security and offer a more professional look to visitors.
3) You Just Need the Site Built and You’re Done
Even a small, simple site needs maintenance. As the company grows, you’ll need additions to the application whether it’s for the public-facing website, internal modules, or even just reporting services. A website is rarely ever “done.” As a matter of fact, the initial launch of an application is just the beginning.
Good development comes with building a relationship with your developer. If you need a team of developers, you can work with a company that offers development and contractual terms that give you access to a team every month. In-house developers are expensive, but they also give you a personalized relationship where they understand your business more thoroughly. With an agency, you can work directly with a project manager who will relay directions to the development team. Either choice requires a good relationship with developers who can maintain the application after it’s first deployed.
It takes time to find the right development team, so you might switch teams after initial deployment. It’s important that your team understands business nuances, which takes anyone several months to get up to speed. This is why it’s important to research and have conversations with developers before you unleash them on your code.
4) It’s Better to Hire a Full Stack Developer
A full stack developer is one in which the developer creates the design, user experience, backend code, and database. These developers do everything from start to finish. While it’s commonly a cheaper option, it’s also a mistake. Full stack developers aren’t experts in any one field, so your user experience, design or backend code suffers.
If you need a designer, programmer, database administrator and testing team all-in-one, it’s best to look to an agency who has each of these experts under one roof. You’ll get a much higher quality site by working with a different person for each area of expertise. It’s a common mistake to have one person for all development aspects and then the business suffers through poor conversion rates and sales based on their site.
A project manager can help you hire the right people for each of your website’s components. A PM knows what you’ll need for initial development and then for future modifications to the application.
5) Metrics Aren’t Necessary When You Know Your Customers
The best designs come from gathering metrics and understanding your customers. It’s a mistake to build a site without understanding visitor patterns. If you already have a website, it helps to have some kind of metrics to work with before you start a redesign. If you have a prototype application, you should be gathering data that will be used for analysis and user experience in the official application.
If you have no website, your sales numbers can help. What do people buy the most? How often do they buy? Demographics can be a helpful metric in determining your theme, colors and prominent products on the front page. These metrics play a huge role in your site’s success and future sales.
Should You Work with In-House or Outsourced Developers?
With so many misconceptions, executives need direction on who to hire, website design, hosting suggestions, and future maintenance guidance. Most small businesses start with an outsourced agency. It’s best to work with a local agency that you can meet with and call during business hours. Working with an agency in the same country gives you a legal foothold should things go awry.
In-house developers are hired later to maintain the site when revenue increases. This is the common path for most small businesses that eventually become mid-sized organizations with several employees.
The right development team can help you overcome misconceptions and create an application that takes your sales to the next level.