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Why Client Deadlines are Important in Web Development

By Jessica Brown

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Everyone responds to deadlines differently. Some people thrive on deadlines, seeing them as challenges and a chance for them to rise to the occasion. Others see them as a source of anxiety and pressure that can slow down their creative process.

Just like every client at Imagebox is unique, their needs are also. Some clients don’t have a certain date that they need their website completed by, while others need to get it launched before a fundraising event or a restaurant launch. Each client’s level of responsibility is unique, also, with some writing their own content or providing the bulk of the images.


Order Matters

There can be a lot going on in a project at one time, with certain people working on content while others are working on design. Other team members may be coding while others are collecting photographs to be placed on the site. Because there are so many moving parts involved in creating a website, the order in which things are done is very important.

For instance, if a client does a great job at writing and sending over content to be edited… but they stalled in approving the design of the site, the content can’t be placed. Without an approved design, the website cannot be coded.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, if a client is quick to approve design and the website is coded out and ready to go, it won’t be launching until all of the content is completed. Just because someone completes a certain task quickly, it doesn’t mean that the project will be done faster if that task is done out of order.


It’s a Domino Effect

Similarly, it’s important to keep in mind that a delay in one aspect of the project could cause delays in the rest of the project. If images were due and the client sends them three days later, that may delay the launch date by three days also. While it is sometimes possible to have things move more quickly to keep the original deadline, that isn’t always possible.


Everyone Must Be Realistic

We understand that the website development process is new for most of our clients, and that drafting content and choosing imagery doesn’t always come quickly to them. We try to keep a realistic mindset when helping clients set deadlines, giving them some time to brainstorm and think over their decisions before we give them a second look.

In turn, clients need to have realistic expectations as to how quickly their website can be launched. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and good websites can’t be either.

Some key things to help everyone meet deadlines:

  • Be clear and honest with expectations at the beginning of the project. Set clear deadlines to give clear deadline ranges upfront so that no one is blindsided by them.
  • Under-promise. If you think that something will take you three days, give yourself five.
  • Ask for help when you’re feeling stuck. Sometimes you just need another person to bounce ideas off of. The developers, writers, and project managers you are working with are the experts, and they will be happy to give you their opinion or help.

The good news is that when clients and their web development firm have a good relationship, they can be a little bit flexible on deadline, as long as each understands that one slow move on anyone’s part could lead to a later launch for the website.

Things come up all of the time. Work complications and personal emergencies are two very common things that happen and can cause a project to stall. But know that one delay will lead to another, and that it’s possible that you will have to redefine the project timeline based on the roadblocks that come up.

The best that both sides can do is to try their best to meet deadline and work efficiently, and to give proper warning if they don’t think that deadlines can be met.