“Design for show, plan for dough”

Here’s a trick question for you. What’s the single most important risk that determines if your website project succeeds or fails?

Clients are always excited by the prospect of a new design, some clever functionality or the prospect of 10X traffic.

But the risk with a website project isn’t that you might not get the design of your dreams. Or brand consistency. Or get mired in stakeholder confusion. Or get endless feature creep. Or get stodgy progress. Or get a product you can’t actually use.

It’s all of that and more. That’s why the greatest risk of all is not having a passion for planning and process. I know, it’s not what gets most people out of bed in the morning, either.  But for those like me, what gets us excited, and gets projects delivered, is the “boring” stuff.

Here’s my list of not-remotely-sexy must-haves for any web project, to ensure you get a great return on the time, money and emotions you invest.

✅ Accurate analytics: Historical data gives context and the the ability to measure impact
✅ Clear brief: I’ve written about briefs in previous posts. Don’t start unless you know why and everyone else does too.
✅ Realistic roadmap: It doesn’t have to be set in stone, but a list of tasks and dates will help you stay on track.
✅ Sitemap: You might not even know what’s on your website, or what needs to be, until you create one of these.
✅ Wireframes: You could go straight to the flashy stuff, but a nice grey, uninspiring wireframe will ensure there’s a place for everything
✅ Platform: Make admin easy. What’s more depressing than getting the keys to a Ferrari you can’t drive?

Before you embark on your web project, get excited about the boring stuff or find someone like me who’ll get excited for you.

To borrow and ruin a good golfing phrase…..

“Design for show, plan for dough.”