There are so many ways a website development project can go wrong. Often times it’s missed deadlines or delays. Then there is the situation when the website does not look as expected. These and many other issues can be avoided by simply following a few precautions:
Ask the developer for a mockup
This is the most important of all. The worst possible thing is to have an idea of what your final website will look like only to see something completely different. Ask for a simple image mockup of the website. Once you are happy with that, the layout, the colors etc ask for a mockups for all other pages. Now there can be very little deviation from what you see now (and have approved) and the final product.
Ask for timelines for very specific features
The best way to reduce delays is to ask for deadlines for very specific features. The granularity here is very important. It also focuses the designer on one very specific task at a time. One day for the home page, one day for four additional subpages, another day for the contact form and auto responder etc. This way any delays will be smaller and more manageable.
Provide all information and media upfront
One of the biggest cause for delays is when developers are waiting for all the text and media for the website. Ideally this should be provided right at the very beginning to create the mockup. Too many mockups look great with stock images but look completely different with the actuals provided by the client. Make sure the mockup uses all the media you want to use. The actual text also prevents any issues with space and alignment.