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How to manage the deadlines of a website?

Web Design,Freelance,Business
Photo by Chris Lawton on Unsplash

We all dream of signing a big contract, of realizing a big project of website creation... And if one day, this dream becomes reality? In fact, I recently had the chance to live my dream. Everything didn't happen as planned, unfortunately. I made a mistake: I didn't know how to manage the deadlines of a website. Yet, respecting deadlines is important.

Why do we have to meet the deadlines?

Isn't it important to deliver a quality project, regardless of the delivery date? That's not wrong; quality is the most important thing. But managing the deadlines of a website and respecting them is the same as respecting the client himself. Your image is then enhanced in his eyes. He trusts you so much that he will not hesitate to recommend you to his network.

On the other hand, there is a reason why at the beginning of your exchange, he asked you how long will you be able to complete his project. He also has projects and deadlines that he has to stick to. He too has probably announced to his colleagues and clients a specific date (depending on the deadline you have estimated). He may even be in danger of losing his business if the deadline is not met.

However, managing a website's deadlines and meeting them goes beyond these facts. It's also a way for you to work less. The more you accumulate delays, the more work you have to do and the harder it gets ... As the saying goes: "the sooner the better".

I know you're aware of that. In fact, I was aware of it too when I offered my last client a two-month delay on a big project. However, the problem was that I didn't analyze the situation properly. But how do you analyze it?

Photo by Simon Berger on Unsplash

How to manage the deadlines of a website?

I will guide you according to my mistakes.

First mistake: all projects look the same

However, this is not the case. They are all different depending on the client's requests (details, functionalities, number of pages, type of design...). And managing the deadlines of a large website is never easy.

Before, I used to take care of average projects, that is to say websites of 5 to 10 pages. I used to complete them in less than two months, more or less. It was natural for me to think that the recent project my client entrusted me with was the same. It was very different that I even had a few people helping me. 3 other people helped me.

Second mistake: not being reasonable with dates

Since this was a larger project, 2 months was obviously not enough time. The estimate was simply unreasonable, because in reality it took me about 6 months. I didn't take into account any contingencies.

For this case, my client is understandable and responsive. But have you ever thought about the kinds of clients who are not very responsive? Their attitude will delay the project.

How to organize a project?

I have a roadmap on which I base myself before managing the deadlines of a website, and set a date.

There is a YouTube video in which I describe this at the bottom of the article. Support me by subscribing to the YouTube channel "Happy Desk Design".

Photo by Mariam Soliman on Unsplash

1) Divide your project to better manage the timeframe of a website

I divide each web project into 5 distinct steps:

  • vision
  • structure
  • design
  • development
  • uploading

As you can see, I don't only deal with the design of a website (it is only one part of the long step); a whole reflection, a collection of elements... are behind it. You should consider each of them. Not only will this save you a lot of time in the realization of the project, but you will be able to better estimate the delivery time.

When dividing your project in this way, try to be as detailed as possible (obviously, by setting a non-exhaustive date).

2) Take margins

To help you stay as realistic as possible when you start managing website deadlines, how about taking margins for each date you set? A 30% margin is more than enough in my opinion.

Maybe you've noticed: e-commerce sites offer a delivery date of 5 days, but after 2 days, the package arrives at your home. So take your cues from them. Your customers can only be satisfied!

Photo by Timothy Eberly on Unsplash

Put in place some precautions

Even if you've taken all these steps, you need to look ahead. What will you do if you fail to deliver your project on time? This is where you need to take the necessary steps, by setting a very specific general condition of sale. For my part, I have written that the deadlines set are only indicative. I will not be penalized if I fail to deliver the project on time.

I prefer to warn you: missing a delivery date is not professional. Maybe for beginners it's okay, but not for the experienced ones!

Managing the deadlines of a website is of paramount importance. There is no excuse for late deliveries, and this must be true for beginners. So you are very lucky that I am sharing my experiences with you. Take advantage of this and don't make the same mistakes as I did! Don't think that all projects are the same and stop trying to impress your clients with unrealistic deadlines.

Come back to this page whenever you want. Did you find any ideas that I forgot? If so, what are they? Leave a comment below or send an email to hello@happydesk.be
Kevin Palombo, Manager of Happydesk
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