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What to do when a web design project goes wrong

Jan 2017
Web design projects

Web design projects can go awry for many reasons. Perhaps the agency you’ve employed misunderstood your brief; the specification was wrong; the agency didn’t have the skills it claimed to have; the project is more complicated than anticipated; the agency has lost a key member of staff.

Whatever the reason web design projects going wrong can be very stressful – it can delay product launches, marketing campaigns, and disappoint your customers. So, what can you do when a web design project goes wrong?  

As a web design agency who have been around for over 10 years, we see a lot of “web design rescue” projects coming in. This article is aimed to help you detect the “bad smells” of a project going wrong, and how to rescue the project, based on our experiences.

Bad web design project smells

The first trick in your arsenal is to detect a bad – or potentially bad – project. One or two of the below indicators may occur in any given web design project, but if you nod your head at the majority of the below, your web design project may be in trouble:

  1. Long times between contact: are you struggling to contact your assigned project manager? Do team members take a long time to reply to emails? We’re all busy, but if you’ve lost your communication lines with the team working on your website, your project may be turning sour.
  2. A lot of what you were promised in initial meetings with the agency is now “unachievable” in the budget. Web design agencies can be guilty of over-selling, and once you have committed may try and reduce the features and scope of the project to keep the project sustainable for them. There are many genuine technical reasons an agency may decline a particular feature, however.
  3. Deadlines pass without contact – projects can overrun, but you should be informed ahead of a deadline if it won’t be made.
  4. Work presented is hugely different from the specification or project brief you had approved. Communication is a large factor in any project’s success, and it can cause huge misunderstandings in how your project develops. Bear in mind your web design agency may be working in a sector they’re not familiar with, which brings its whole new dictionary of jargon and acronyms; you may need to clarify how your industry works, and key processes within it.
  5. Poor quality control: if you’re receiving work of poor quality, it may be down to the agency’s quality control processes. Bugs are a natural part of any technical project, and no project is ever “bug free”, but agencies should be aiming to minimise the bugs in a system in a consistent process.

How to rescue your web design project

Every project is different, but there are many common factors in “bad” web design projects, as you’ve seen above. Below is a list of suggestions to help you rescue your web design project:

  1. Talk to your web design agency: this may seem obvious, but let your existing agency know you’re unhappy, and work with them to resolve it. Whilst transferring your project to a new web design agency may seem tempting, this can often over-complicate the issue and delay the project further. This is because the new agency will need to get up to speed on the project, and work out what is complete, and what is in need of rewriting or additional work. For simpler issues, therefore, it can be best to stick with your existing agency to complete the project.
  2. Mediate; if talking directly to your web design agency isn’t working, trying contacting a third party web design consultant who can help ascertain the state of the current project from a technical viewpoint, and where the issues lie.
  3. Consult other agencies: we offer website audits which can give you an idea of the state of the work that has been completed, and where you stand. These can be a great way of maintaining your relationship with the agency, and providing a guiding hand in ensuring you’re receiving work of a good quality to your requirements.
  4. Build on the existing project, or start it again? This is a question we’re asked frequently for “web design project rescue” scenarios – should you keep the work completed so far, and have another agency build on that, or start again?
  5. Most of all, try and remain calm – work with your agency, rather than – in all likelihood, they will want the project to succeed just as much as you do.

Need help to rescue your website project?

If you’d like to discuss how we can help you rescue your web design project, please do get in touch. Peacock Carter have over 10 years experience in mediation and auditing web design projects to help resolve issues between clients and agencies.

Website support & maintenance for Christmas & New Year 2016

Dec 2016
Web design agency Peacock Carter - Northern Design Centre office

Peacock Carter have had a bumper year in 2016 thanks to some fantastic clients, and we look forward to working with you in 2017 and beyond.

We’re winding down over the Christmas and New Year period to give our team a chance to have a break and come back refreshed in 2017. As such, our office will be closed during this period:

Our office closes: 15:00, Wednesday, 21st December 2016.

Our office reopens: 09:30, Wednesday 4th January 2017.

If you have a support contract with us, urgent issues will be dealt with as soon as we are able during this period; please email support@peacockcarter.com.

Introducing SEO book

Aug 2016
Apress' Introducing SEO book

What a great way to start the week: our copy of Introducing SEO arrived today!

Peacock Carter’s managing director Richard Carter acted as technical reviewer for the publication, overseeing that the content was technically correct and relevant to contemporary readers. Richard has worked on a long list of publications in the past decade and beyond, and has built a strong reputation as a specialist web consultant for work such as technical reviewing of web design and search engine marketing related content.

Published by specialist technology publisher ApressIntroducing SEO is aimed at readers who aren’t familiar with the fundamentals of search engine optimisation, and introduces key search engine concepts such as indexability, content optimisation and social media and its effect on SEO.

We look forward to working on future technical reviews of website design and ecommerce publications in coming months and years.

Business-to-business ecommerce considerations

Jul 2016
Magento 2 demo screenshot

If you’re considering entering your business-to-business market with an ecommerce website, there are a number of key areas to consider.

As a long-established web design agency with our fair share of business-to-business ecommerce experience, here’s our introductory guide to B2B ecommerce.

1. Chose your platform – and B2B agency – carefully

There are many ecommerce platforms available to businesses entering the ecommerce arena, but they are not all made equal. Peacock Carter work a lot with Magento Commerce and its licensed sister version, Magento Enterprise. Both can be readily adapted for use as a business-to-business ecommerce system. Oro Commerce is also worth consideration as an open source ecommerce platform specifically aimed at the B2B market.

You may also want to consider services such as Shopify (a hosted ecommerce platform with a monthly fee) though we find these are not typically suited well to B2B use. WooCommerce, WordPress’ most popular ecommerce offering, is also available, though we find this platform lacks many of the features of more developed ecommerce offerings such as Magento.

Finding the right B2B agency for your organisation is also key: it could well be a long partnership, so finding a web design agency who have the right approach. Sector experience isn’t necessarily key if the agency has the right technical approaches and the ability to research and adapt to your industry.

2. Niche can work well

As with “offline” business, niche offerings can greatly enhance your appeal and selling power to customers in ecommerce.

If you’re looking to test the water in your B2B sector, selecting a small product range to launch with and test the water can be a good way to mitigate some of the risk. In particular, large product catalogues can take a great deal of time and money to digitise, as content designed for offline brochures and marketing collateral often doesn’t translate well for online use.

Once you have the formula for success with the initial range of products, you can try enlarging your product catalogue online.

3. Integrate ecommerce in to your business processes

A key point missed by many entering the B2B ecommerce market is integrating existing business systems with your ecommerce systems. For example, if you’re using a CRM such as Salesforce in your other sales operations, integrate Salesforce in to your ecommerce store.

Most popular ecommerce platforms have significantly well developed integrations with common accountancy packages such as Xero and Sage, too, and platforms such as Brightpearl can be used to centralise stock control between multiple warehouses, amongst other tasks. Integrating your ecommerce website with existing processes not only saves you time and reduces errors and redundant data, but can streamline your processes and provide your customers with a smoother experience all round, too.

4. Consider your ecommerce audience

It’s worth considering that the type of customer who you interact with in offline and other sales channels may not be your typical ecommerce customer. For example, whilst you may deal with CEOs, procurement officers and managing directors through offline sales channels, your online sales channel may attract a different role from within the company. This is partly because a B2B ecommerce offering allows the task of purchasing to be delegated to another department within the customer’s company, even for larger purchases such as specialist equipment and machinery.

As such, ensuring that any technical specification and industry jargon used is likely to be known by the audience is key.

5. Provide your ecommerce customers with the right information

Businesses can be reluctant to share information with their customers online for fear of revealing too much to competitors. Whilst this is understandable in a competitive industry, not providing your customers with the information they need to make a purchase decision could well cause your entry in to B2B ecommerce to fail before your website has even launched.

Sharing carefully selected insights in to your industry in the form of blog posts can be a great tactic for digital marketing, establishing your company as the industry leader.

If you would like to discuss your next B2B ecommerce project with Peacock Carter, please contact us for an initial consultation.

 

Proud to be organising North East Ecommerce

Jun 2016
Web event at Campus North (not Ecommerce North East!)

Peacock Carter are really proud to be the new organisers of the North East Ecommerce meetup group.

Tony, the previous organiser of the group, did a superb job of organising the group, providing plenty of food for thought for ecommerce store owners. Both Peacock Carter and Alex Goodacre, our meetup co-organiser and long term member of the group, are keen to do the same!

What is North East Ecommerce?

The North East Ecommerce group is a free-to-attend meetup held on a monthly basis in Newcastle upon Tyne. The aim of the group is to help share knowledge and experience for merchants running online stores. Previous talk topics at North East Ecommerce have included:

  • Optimising eBay listings
  • FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon)
  • Search engine marketing for your ecommerce website
  • An introduction to Magento – by us!

We will be keeping the event free of charge, of course – partially thanks to the brilliant Campus North. The timing of the event will also remain as it was, in the first Wednesday of each month evening slot.

As a leading ecommerce agency in the North East, we feel very lucky to be able to support the meet up and bring our experience of running other website events such as WordPress North East and Magento North East. Organising North East Ecommerce will also be a fantastic opportunity from us to hear from owners of ecommerce websites of all sizes and fine tune our knowledge to be able to best help them.

If you have any suggestions of topics you would like to see covered at a future event, please let us know via hello@peacockcarter.com, and we’ll do our best to find a suitable speaker.