Get your website content ready

The biggest hurdle to getting a website up and running quickly is every web developer’s catch-cry, “Waiting on Content.”

It’s an industry problem. These days we try to get all new clients to forward website content before sending the first invoice. It doesn’t always work out right. Supplying all your content in advance not only speeds the web development process up, it can save you money. Sometimes content is supplied to the web developer (which is rarely agreed upon in the first place – gallery images, an entirely new database or an FAQ page). New items not discussed will appear as additional jobs and you’ll be invoiced for them.

Gathering all your content before you start is a great way to avoid such surprises.

What content do I need?

It doesn’t really matter what sort of state your content is in, but supplying stuff such as the following will really help your web developer and avoid delays further down the track.

  • images
  • page text
  • audio
  • video
  • PDF Files
  • 3 x starter news items or blog posts

All of the above can be emailed as a zip file, or even snail-mailed on CD (this is often quicker if there are a lot of large files). A zipped file is best, but everything burnt to a CD or DVD is also fine. If your zipped file is very big, you may need to send large files using a large file sending service because email attachment sizes are limited. I use any of the free large file sending services (Mashable reviewed a bunch of free file sending services here).

When your web designer has all the content up front, there’s no excuse for late delivery and you will receive a more accurate quote. A website takes me about 6 weeks to complete – maybe only 4 if it’s quiet.

In cases where you don’t have all the raw materials, your web designer will include dummy content and lorem ipsum (Greeked) text. This is just placeholder text that will have to replaced later.

I work on a 40% deposit, 30% when I’m happy and 30% when you’re happy scenario. Once I receive final payment, a site goes live (is shown to the public). Without the right text or information, a site may be finished structurally, but it hasn’t got the right content up there.

In my case, once a website goes live, I do some Search Engine Optimisation work on the site – so there’s still stuff to do on my part – even after I’ve received the final payment.

I’d love to hear how other web developers (or DTP firms) deal with this issue.