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top 10 reasons web sites fail

top 10 reasons web sites fail

Sadly, there are a lot of ways for web sites to fail. They may fail to make money or attract an audience; they may fail to work properly. Or they may fail, as many do, to launch at all. So as you build your site, beware the perils that can ruin your plans. We've made these mistakes so you don't have to.

  1. Sabotage by co-workers. Don't laugh! The biggest obstacle most web developers face isn't technology or funding or bandwidth; it's people. People and their petty office politics. If your project doesn't have support from key people in the organization, you'll almost certainly find yourself sabotaged—whether it's by the engineer who won't give straight answers, the manager who won't commit resources, or the CEO who says, two weeks before launch, that she just doesn't like it. Managing a web project & team p. 320

  2. Failure to identify users. The most successful sites are built from the ground up to fill a specific need for a specific type of person. And sites fail when they don't think through who will use their site and why. Getting to know your users p. 44

  3. Underestimating the competition. It's a classic error in business: failing to recognize one's competition, or notice when the playing field has changed. Things can move quickly on the web, and competition can come from unlikely places. You have to keep your eyes open if you're going to keep up. Sizing up the competition p. 38

  4. Overestimating the customer base. Another classic error. It's easy, when you're passionate about a product or subject, to assume everyone else is, too. Alas! They usually aren't! So before you begin, be realistic about how many users you'll actually attract. Estimating audience size p. 52

  5. Lack of a clear leader. Collaboration is key on the web. You need a balanced, cross-disciplinary team to create a successful site. But you also need a single leader if the project's going to move forward. When you lack a clear leader, it's hard to set direction, stay focused, or make key decisions. Managing a web project & team p. 320

  6. Not enough time or money. People often underestimate what it takes to create a web site. If you're not realistic about your resources and your team's skills, you're likely to run out of time or money before the site is complete. Managing a web project p. 321

  7. New technologies don't perform as expected. There's always a risk when you're developing with new, unproven, or changing technologies. They may not work properly, may not mesh with your other systems, may not work on all browsers or platforms, or may not scale to size. Also, the company that produced the technology may go out of business. It happens. Evaluating a new technology p. 229

  8. Lack of focus. Web sites are particularly prone to "feature creep": If the team's ambition goes unchecked, the site will expand in scope until it does everything except tie the user's shoes. But a bloated, complex site isn't good for anyone. They're hard to launch, hard to explain, and hard to use. All of which makes them very likely to fail. Deciding what goes on the site p. 16

  9. Miscommunication among team members. If the people building the site can't clearly explain what they need—and be understood—the project will inevitably face stumbling blocks. How to encourage collaboration p. 330

  10. Failure to think about how the site will make money. If you are, ostensibly, a money-making venture, but you haven't thought through how your site will make money, well, that's a surefire way to ensure it doesn't. Making money p. 67

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