Developing websites comes with its own unique brand of challenges. Even if you’re very good at what you do, you’re still going to face issues now and then, especially since it’s a client-driven industry.
And when those issues arise, it’s likely to send a mini-wave of panic through your body. Though it’s likely you take a deep breath and approach the problem as calmly as you can, that doesn’t mean you’re not internally screaming the whole time. Until you hand over the keys, so to speak, your site projects are likely filled with biggest development fears come true. That’s okay, though. Especially since we’re all in this together and we’ve all been there before.
But what about specifics? What things trigger that undeniable sense of dread?That’s what we’re exploring here today in tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek fashion.
That’s what we’re exploring here today in tongue-firmly-planted-in-cheek fashion.
1. “So, I Have This Idea for a Website…”
Ideas are a dime a dozen. Truly. So unless a potential client comes to you with a well-considered budget, that “idea for a website” is unlikely to see development. Too often, this phrase is uttered when someone’s looking to have a site built for free. Which is, just, no.
2. “It’s Really Easy!”
Uh-huh. Sure it is. And I bet it could be completed in ten minutes, too. If it’s really all that easy, the client would’ve done it himself. When someone says this, they’re hoping to get something for nothing, which makes developers want to run and hide.
3. “I’ll Google the Problem and Fix it Myself”
While taking initiative is something that should be praised, it’s often a source of dread for developers. When a client refuses a developer’s offer to fix something and insists on doing it himself, he’s more often than not trying to go cheap and avoid having to pay for site maintenance. Unfortunately, a site in untrained hands can be dangerous. This leaves many developers shaking in their boots at the thought of all their hard work getting destroyed.
4. When the Client Insists on Perfection
I mean, really? Why on earth do you need that PSD to line up 100% with the live site? Unless you literally overlay that file onto the live site, no one’s going to notice anyway. Not to mention the slight changes that appear in cross-browser tests.
5. Local Server or Software Crashes
Nothing like a server crash to liven up your day! And it always seems to happen right when you’re in the middle of something super important. A crash requires relaunching the server, reloading the site, and getting everything open again, which breaks workflow and can result in a need to redo work, too.
6. When a Plugin Update Breaks Your Site
Ugh. This happens way too often. You’re like, “hey I’m going to update all my plugins right now” and you click the button and then your site goes all whitescreen. It’s the worst and enough to make you stop everything and panic, hoping against hope you’re backed up your site recently.
7. When You install a Plugin and It Causes Conflict
This is sort of like when you update a plugin and it breaks stuff, only it refers to those times you think, “Hey, this feature would be great to add to my site,” and you install the plugin on a whim and your site goes all whitescreen again. No fun. And emphasizes the importance of developing on a local server. That way you can be sure there are no plugin conflicts before your site is visible to the world.
8. “This Looks Good But I Need Changes”
The words that strike fear into the hearts of many a developer. While the client will more than likely just need a few tweaks here and there, there’s always that risk of a total design change that in the client’s mind should, “only take five minutes.” Gah!
9. Sudden Changes in Project Scope
Scope creep is real and it’s hazardous to your productivity and bottom line. Revisions are expected but when a client keeps adding new features to the project and doesn’t want to pay more for them, you’re truly in scary territory.
10. Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Content
The best site design and layout in the world isn’t going to fix awful copy. It’s truly terrifying when a client has invested in a nice-looking site but couldn’t care less about how the content reads. Then you have to walk that line between mentioning it or just taking the payment and high-tailing it out of there.
11. “We Don’t Have a Big Budget”
Some clients truly mean these words and have full plans to increase their development budget later. But more often than not, clients mean “we’re just starting out and don’t have money for a site but want one anyway—want to make one on the cheap for me?”
12. “It Can Be a Portfolio Piece”
This one makes devs want to run away fast. See also “free gig” and “for exposure.” Makes me shudder in fear just thinking of it.
13. The Text Editor Crashes and You Haven’t Saved
Oh, the horror! You’ve poured blood, sweat, and tears into those lines of code, only to see them vanish in a moment of poor computer function. I compulsively Command + S every ten seconds it seems for this very reason.
14. The Site Gets Hacked
Is there anything worse that finding out a site you built has been taken down by hackers or infected with malware? And you certainly don’t want to have to spend your time cleaning up the mess. If you have a good backup system in place, at least the cleanup effort shouldn’t be too bad.
15. “I Know You’ve Been Working on This Design But I Just Found This Theme…”
While there’s no law that says once someone hires a developer they have to stop looking at other designs and themes, it’s frustrating when the continued research slows down project progress. Devs fear getting stuck in the feedback loop with clients who want revision after revision based on “this cool thing” they just found.
16. Learning a New Trick Right Before a Site is Done
And said trick could’ve saved you a ton of time on the development process. The fear of time wasted is real.
17. “Needing” Too Many Plugins
When a client wants every feature under the sun on their site, it’s easy to go the plugin route. But too many can slow down the site you’re working hard to build. And manually adding in functions is time-consuming. It’s the ultimate catch-22.
18. Slow Load Times
You’ve optimized your images, reduced the number of plugins you’re running to the bare minimum, and minified your code, and pages are still loading much too slowly. Terrifying, to be sure.
19. Improperly Sized Images
Speaking of slow load times, it can be downright frightening when your client begins to create content and uploads images that haven’t been resized or compressed. Holy slowdown, Batman!
20. When the Client Becomes Non-Responsive
You’ve submitted the final site and your inbox is quiet. You stalk the client’s social media and they’re even being silent there. Did they take an unexpected online break? Or are they dodging you to avoid final payment? It’s enough to make an overworked developer hyperventilate.
What Are You Afraid Of?
WordPress developers and implementers, alike all have at least one thing that leaves them shaking in their boots. So now I want to hear from you. What’s something during the development process that scares the daylights out of you or makes you panic? Share or confess below because I’m sure you’re not alone in how you feel!