Top Reasons Why Web Designs Don’t Launch

By Jacqueline Sinex, Thursday, June 13, 2024
Website launch failure concept broken rocket ship
Website launch challenges concept. AI-enhanced illustration.

Despite how truly exciting designing a new website is, many people find it overwhelming. Even the smartest marketing leaders experience frustration at the time it takes to finish their web design project, feeling like there is no end in sight.

In my years of working with a variety of organizations, I have noticed there are many reasons why a new web design does not launch in a timely manner. Can you relate to any of these road blocks?


Lack of website content halts the web design project.

The website discovery meeting goes smoothly. The mockup designs are beautiful. Web development on the staging server is moving right along. Then suddenly, the project seems to halt. The natural next phase of the web design project should be content integration. However, content involves more work than most companies realize. If you are redesigning a website with the exact same pages and the exact same content that you previously had, that will be an easier bridge to cross. But that is not a common scenario. Even if you have a full-time copywriter on staff, decision-making is required for:

  • What content to be consolidated or removed
  • New page content that needs to be written
  • How to lay out content in the new design formats
  • How to align content with your brand messaging


Unfortunately, some marketers feel burdened with this responsibility without the proper amount of resources from expert content teams. Business leaders also over-promise their time and resources at the beginning of a project, and find they did not deliver when the deadline for content actually arrives.

I believe much of this issue with lack of content is just fear and prioritization. It’s perfectly normal to find content creation daunting. But, the content should be made a priority at the start of the project. If you focus a little devoted time to it, it will be checked off your list.

Starting with the site map and navigation flow helps tremendously. Our team also likes to create a spreadsheet against the sitemap that clearly defines which pages are in the visible navigation menu and which layout design pairs with each page. This kind of reference really helps the site owner and the web design team.


The website isn’t perfect enough to launch.

Of course, you want the best website, right? Your dreams include rising high above your competitors and receiving acclamations from your peers. The best web design in your industry is sure to result from all this hard work. But it’s just not ready yet. It’s not quite perfect enough.

The “perfect” website is probably not what you really need. Afterall, if the website never launches, how can it ever serve you well? While a web development project should involve quality, the nature of the web is ever-evolving. You can let go of perfection and still rise up with an incredibly impactful, on-brand digital presence. And, you can continue to grow and iterate the website. Unlike a printed sign or a brick building, what you publish online does not have to be the last version.

Some website owners get lost in the smallest details – like a particular font for a particular design element – and allow that obsession with design change requests to delay the launch for weeks or even months.

Instead of focusing on every perfect detail, define what the must-have information and functionality is. If some aspects of the project require complex coding or a longer timeline, maybe they are reserved for a “phase two” effort, while you go live with your minimum viable product. If the new site is still something you are proud to share, that is in alignment with your branding and goals, it will work out just fine.


New people and opinions derail the web design project.

I have had the privilege of working with many talented people in different organizations – successful marketing officers, eager sales executives, inspiring leaders. But sometimes the point of contact is not the full picture. Somewhere in the background, there is another executive or board member with strong opinions. And despite the fact that they told their marketing director to “own” the web design project, they insert themselves into the conversation midway and demand change.

These are challenging circumstances. The most accomplished web designers can’t control when a client’s company is acquired or when a board of directors meets.

To help a project stay on track and avoid change orders that cause major delays:

  • Set expectations up front at the discovery meeting.
  • Define who the point of contact is, and who the final decision maker is.
  • Get in sync with meeting availability between your team and the web development team.
  • Be realistic about the scope and budget with your colleagues.
  • Communicate clearly and promptly with your web design team about any changes in the company’s focus.


Technology blips happen.

We often have that feeling that something, sometime, is going to break. Maybe it is not as dramatic as breaking, but technology often poses some kind of challenge that was unexpected. In fact, you should pad your timeline just a bit with the understanding that unplanned technology blips will probably pop up.

For example, the integration of a third-party software or API requires deeper education and testing before it is fully understood. The estimate that a web developer gives at the beginning of a project before they have had any opportunity to work with it is only that – an estimate. Sometimes there is a discovery that the web hosting solution you invested in does not support the things you need. And another common challenge for large existing sites is the migration process of moving over thousands of pages of existing material and ensuring that it will remain functional in the new system.

Some of these things are minor delays, while others require more careful planning and change of course.


Misinterpreted expectations lead to the wrong fit.

Unfortunately, sometimes a provider relationship is just not working out. It really is hard to realize that the investment you made in a new website project is turning out to mismatch your goals, and the provider cannot seem to clearly understand what you want to achieve.

I find this is usually because the communication at the beginning was poor, and the provider was trying to fit the project into a familiar box (some kind of packaged solution they are used to performing). Maybe they even over-promised their capabilities. What they should have been doing was listening to the client first, and determining how (and if) they can achieve the result they need. There are a lot of great web agencies, and they do not necessarily all do the same exact thing. Some specialize in certain technologies, others create custom solutions, and some only do a particular size of project. Perhaps more importantly, providers may have a different communication style and culture that is not aligned with your organization; therefore, there is always friction in the relationship.

Know when it is time to cut your losses. Have honest conversations with your web developer and your own team to see if the project is salvageable. If it is time to move on, even if you lost significant marketing dollars, you are now more educated about what did not work and what you need from a new provider. That knowledge will help you find the right fit and ability to reach a website launch.


If you are facing a delayed website launch, just know that you are not alone. Many people experience frustrating periods with web design projects, because they are a significant effort and involve many people and phases. The good news is that you can get past this, through prioritization, perspective, and collaboration.

Posted in: Small Business, Web Application Development, Web Design, Web Design Resource, WWW Learning Center

Comments are closed.