{{ searchResult.published_at | date:'d MMMM yyyy' }}

Loading ...
Loading ...

Enter a search term such as “mobile analytics” or browse our content using the filters above.

No_results

That’s not only a poor Scrabble score but we also couldn’t find any results matching “”.
Check your spelling or try broadening your search.

Logo_distressed

Sorry about this, there is a problem with our search at the moment.
Please try again later.

Last week web designer and author Paul Boag wrote a blog post called ‘What is the secret to a successful website?’, and offered to give away 10 free copies of his ‘Website Owner’s Manual’ to some lucky Econsultancy members (winners will receive emails soon). 

To enter the competition we asked members to tell us their biggest challenges in website management, and many dozens did exactly that. It makes for interesting reading. 

I thought I’d aggregate a few of these challenges for your viewing pleasure, and your empathy. I’m sure you’ll be familiar with a few of these issues. 

Names have been removed to protect the frustrated!

1. THE SKY IS BLUE

Having to re-build / re-imagine it, so that it acts as a shop window the sales team are proud of, while generating quality business leads. And that and keeps the directors happy (look and feel, and sales)! 

2. INHERITED HEADACHES

Taking the content from a text heavy website and translating it into a design, which relies more on visual aesthetics... something that had already been approved before my arrival. This could seriously affect our SEO on a few key phrases!

3. TIME IS TIGHT

Finding the time to keep the website regularly updated. We have things listed that are constantly changing and it is not always easy to find the time to update them. We don’t want to have just a static website: we want something that offers something interesting to people so they might check back every so often.

4. DEFINING ROI

Narrowing down where to spend the most amount of time based on where the most effective ROI is.

5. THE COBBLER'S CHILDREN HAVE NO SHOES

Getting myself to actually work on my own website! It may sound trite, but I suspect I'm not unique. I'm an independent consultant, and I spend all my time working on other people's sites and problems, while completely neglecting my site. Well, other than dreaming of all sorts of cool, proper and necessary things I'm going to do 'tomorrow'.

6. DIRECTION

Clear ownership.

7. BUNFIGHTS

Too many “stakeholders” with an “opinion” about how it should look and work, what should go on it and when, and more often than not the customer is an afterthought.

8. NOSEY PARKERS

The web is the most visible part of the business and it is something that everyone has an opinion on.

9. BUDGET CONSTRAINTS 

The question I get most often asked is “Why can’t we just….?” Which is fine if you have a large budget, but as an SME that has under invested in the web for years it is a question that makes my heart sink. More often than not I have to quash enthusiasm with a resounding 'no'.

10. ENCOURAGING DISCUSSION

Getting the internal stakeholders to integrate the Web into their communication strategies. And to understand the value of strategic planning and working collaboratively.

11. SILOS ARE FOR LOSERS

Trying to influence these various stakeholders in our multiple marketing and public affairs groups was difficult as the environment was decentralized and highly independent (silo mentality). 

12. LACK OF A CHEERLEADER

We needed a strong sponsor and web champion.

13. MYOPIA

Unfortunately, when it came to the web, the vision was often short-sighted in terms of sustainability and value.  

14. SPEED KILLS

The content value and usability considerations were often sacrificed in the rush to go online. 

15. A SHOTGUN APPROACH

We had multiple marketing one-off campaigns in the form of flash sites and important initiatives were reduced to PDFs, all which detracted rather than added to the organization's overall brand.

16. LOUSY HIPPOS

Managing web change requests that are a result of the ‘HIPPO’ in the organisation (the highest paid person’s opinion!), which will work against long established web best practise techniques and site objectives.

17. PERSUADING THE BOSS

Acting as an influencer with business stakeholders, convincing them of that there are more effective ways of developing the site to support the marketing function and to deliver relevant information to the site visitors. Design is great, but not at the expense of functionality and content.

18. SELF HARM

The biggest challenge for me is managing internal conflict, without a doubt. Our parent company has exclusivity on certain products from our suppliers however when these products get distributed by the trade side of our business, the etailers who purchase the items drop the suggested RRP to gain sales in volume, this is where the conflict happens simply because I have to sell at the RRP due to us representing the brand and supplier. How can I expect sales growth when the etailers are selling it cheaper than us and we are the ones who supply them?

19. LACK OF QUALITY CONTENT

Producing, locating, begging, borrowing (but certainly not stealing) compelling, fresh, and relevant content.  

Getting really high quality content from our clients or even commissioning it from external writers. Our client would be capable of writing inspiring content but they won't write at all or pay any attention to their sites most of the time.

Content is always the secret to success on the web. Everything else is superfluous to good, solid, engaging and attention-grabbing content.

20. COMMUNICATION BREAKDOWN

Coordinating between the web designer and myself (the administrator). 

21. TACTICAL

Getting the stakeholders (both internally and externally) to start at the “right” place, which is founded in strategy. More often than not, we are pressed for doing this particular thing or that particular thing, all tactics, without even a thought of what we’re trying to accomplish. Operating like that, everything is always a one-off and could become part of a fragmented solution instead of a cohesive whole. It sounds easy to get everyone to start at the “right” starting point, but it is not always practical/realistic in every day business life.

22. POLITICS

Balancing all stakeholder expectations. 

23. DEVELOPMENT CYCLES

We have a rather long cycle to get development approved, but management is already thinking about the next wave when we have not even started implementing the last one. 

24. ORGANISATIONAL CHANGES

Last year, marketing got involved in design features and it became very difficult to manage. We suddenly had the design agency drive components that impacted usability and our hands were tied. We had to learn some big lessons during that project.

25. CHOOSING THE RIGHT PARTNER

Understanding what web developers are selling. I have met with several and they all have a differing opinion. 

26. EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION

Educating clients.

27. TRAINING THE BOSS

The challenge always seems to be my colleagues' knowledge of the web and its use by users out there. The lack of understanding is now becoming a political issue with those who get it against those who don't. Unfortunately, the 'don'ts' are made up of senior managers and directors, blocking the proper direction the site content should take.

28. WEIRD SCOPE CREEP

I am full time developer but they want me to do the copywriting too!

So what's missing from this list? There must be a few other things that drive you crazy when trying to implement or manage a website? Please leave your own suggestions below...

Chris Lake

Published 22 February, 2010 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

582 more posts from this author

Comments (8)

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Avatar-blank-50x50

bristol copywriter

I was going to comment on #28 and maybe link to my own copywriting website… Then I realised that will be no good as I'm also suffering from #5!

almost 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

jarirouas

great list, i'd add - lack of focus on 'what success looks like', it might be discussed during strategy, but programs evolve by the time they launch and the initial goals may not be attainable with the final site.  2nd would be avoiding the wish site, if the agreed goal is to drive to say CRM, it should have a focal call-to-action vs lost in a sea of other things we wish a visitor would do.  

almost 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

John Braithwaite

Choosing a web developer with a 'one trick' solution... unfortunately not the right solution to your specific website requirements! So you get shoe-horned into an ill-fitting box.

almost 7 years ago

Ed Stivala

Ed Stivala, Managing Director at n3w media

@JohnBraithwaite that is so true! Too often we see clients accepting a web proposal without any apparent recognition that they are being sold the only solution that the designer / developer has in their 'shop'. I guess this is where #25 in the list comes from? 

almost 7 years ago

Avatar-blank-50x50

Brian

Convincing people that putting a link to a PDF of their latest magazine advert is not the best thing to do is my big problem.

almost 7 years ago

Roger Willcocks

Roger Willcocks, MD at Screen Pages

NO. 99 NO PLAN

Some (smaller) businesses just want one (the hippo says so), but have no idea how that arbitrary sales target (if there is one) will be achieved. 

NO. 100 "CAN I HAVE A QUOTE, PLEASE", by email

Which is a bit like asking a builder to quote for a house, with no further information provided. That'll be £2m then. Sorry, I meant £10k.

PS - Nice comment game!

almost 7 years ago

James Gurd

James Gurd, Owner at Digital JugglerSmall Business Multi-user

Chris you've opened the trap door to years of pent up industry frustration, perhaps Econsultancy can set-up a support line?

Having worked client and agency side, I've experienced all of the above and more.

I think the biggest challenge (and by this I don't mean the others aren't all highly relevant) is finding someone who is commercially astute with a thorough understanding of eCommerce to drive the online team. Too many companies employ somebody with a bit of web experience but no core business skills to commercially manage a business channel, or they get the eCommerce Manager to report to a Board level director who has no clue about eCommerce budgets and investment models.

The net result is a channel that stagnates because the internal skillset does not satisfy the requirements to evolve an eCommerce operation.

This then knocks on to other issues flagged, such as inability to find the right solution provider because you don't really know what you need and are unable/unwilling to allocate sufficient budget.

If a company is serious about eCommerce, they need to make the investment in people, technology and marketing.

Thanks

james

almost 7 years ago

James Gurd

James Gurd, Owner at Digital JugglerSmall Business Multi-user

Roger - like your #100 - I once received a Client brief for campaign landing pages which consisted of the following sentence in an email; "We would like to use landing pages for marketing campaigns such as PPC, Email and Affiliate. Please provide a quote for how much this will cost"

That was it. Genius. Nothing like having thought through what you want in detail:)

thanks

james

almost 7 years ago

Comment
No-profile-pic
Save or Cancel
Daily_pulse_signup_wide

Enjoying this article?

Get more just like this, delivered to your inbox.

Keep up to date with the latest analysis, inspiration and learning from the Econsultancy blog with our free Daily Pulse newsletter. Each weekday, you ll receive a hand-picked digest of the latest and greatest articles, as well as snippets of new market data, best practice guides and trends research.