An article by Darrell Wilkins on 21 Apr 2022
Summary: Website builds often frustrate people because too many unexpected problems arise. To avoid angering your team, create a website plan, get stakeholder buy-in upfront, and communicate clearly and regularly about your site’s progress.
Building a FinTech website requires a unique mix of business nous, creativity, and technical ability. There are a lot of disparate parts and people that need to come together at the right time to complete the right activities to achieve success.
If your team can’t properly come together — and if you don’t have a good understanding of what you’re building and why — you are all but guaranteed to piss people off.
That’s because misalignment leads to costly, unexpected problems. And who’s not annoyed by unforeseen obstacles and expenses? You’ve probably experienced a frustrating website build before. You’re behind schedule, over budget, and nothing works as planned. The CEO is annoyed, marketing is exhausted, and your developers are ignoring your phone calls.
But working on your FinTech’s website doesn’t need to piss anyone off. Just focus on a few simple elements to avoid the unexpected.
Create a Bulletproof Website Plan
The most expensive part of a website is building the wrong thing, and that’s followed closely by changing your mind. Both scenarios require budget-blowing, unanticipated, frustrating rework. You need a great plan in place so you don’t build the wrong thing and so stakeholders don’t change their minds (more on this next).
The first step to an effective plan is research. You must uncover what your users want and what your business needs from your website. Proper research will lead you to the problem(s) your website needs to solve.
Once you’ve identified the problem, set objectives so you can measure how well you’re solving said problem. Your great website plan is then comprised of the steps you’ll take to solve the problem and reach your objectives.
Obtain Stakeholder Buy-In
The plan you document needs to clearly define what you’ll be creating, what you won’t be creating — and why. Get buy-in from your entire team on this plan ASAP, especially from senior stakeholders in all relevant departments.
Remember, a website is so much more than a marketing or sales tool. It’s what you’ll use to recruit new hires, attract investors, and, yes, convert leads. Your new site plan will need approval from HR, finance, and other stakeholders. Otherwise, you’ll run the risk of alienating these departments, potentially stifling your progress. For example, HR is unlikely to approve of whatever you deem acceptable as a recruitment section on your site if you don’t ask first.
Ensuring your stakeholders understand the “why” behind each feature and aspect on your website is also crucial. If a developer, for instance, doesn’t know the background behind why he’s building a certain feature, he’ll feel free to go in any direction he pleases. He’ll make assumptions. Context gives everyone the information they need to do their parts as effectively as possible, helping you reach your objectives and bypass unwanted surprises.
Communicate Clearly and Regularly with Your Entire Team
Even with a solid plan in place, it’s possible for unexpected challenges to arise during your website project. That’s why regular communication — beyond the planning stages — is vital.
For starters, a responsibility assignment matrix will make it clear to everyone who is to be accountable, consulted, and informed on each part of your process. There’s no guessing or assuming who is supposed to do what, meaning there’s less opportunity for frustration (including yourself if you expected work to be done that wasn’t).
A project blog is another great way to keep everyone up to date on your FinTech’s website. The last thing you want is to have a big feature or website reveal only for a senior stakeholder to say, “What’s that feature for?” or “That’s not what I wanted.” Reveals and information vacuums, however tempting, are toxic.
Iterative work accompanied by regular feedback loops and updates via a project blog (or another communication channel) are the way to go. The earlier you catch issues, the less impact they have. And the less angry they make people.
Set Realistic Expectations and Stay On Track
You’ve done the planning. You’ve attained appropriate buy-in. Now it’s time to set everyone’s expectations — including your own — and stay the course.
People frequently say, “I want a stripe.com for my FinTech.” Of course they do. It’s an awesome website.
But Stripe has five extremely talented, full-time designers on staff. Not to mention all of the developers and project management professionals working on the beautiful site. They are spending millions a year on it.
You won’t get stripe.com with a £100k design and build budget. And if you only have around £25k, you’re only going to get the basics. You need to set your team's expectations around your team’s budget or people will get angry when their (unrealistic) expectations aren’t met.
Just as importantly, stay on target. You’ve done your research, planned well, and gotten buy-in. You know where you are going and why. Don’t deviate unless there is a very good reason to. If you need to deviate, make the implications and the costs (time, budget, etc.) clear to everyone.
It is possible to work on your FinTech’s website without pissing people off. It just requires more effort than you might think necessary to plan as well as get and keep everyone aligned. But the results — a website that does what you and every other organisation stakeholder needs it to do — are worth it.
What You’re Missing without a Chief Website Officer Guiding Your FinTech Site
by Darrell Wilkins on 09 Jun 2022
Most FinTech websites are run out of the marketing department. But your website is much more than a sales/marketing tool. You need someone who will work across departments to ensure support for all areas of the business.
How to Build a High-Performance FinTech Website: The UX and Visual Design Phase
by Darrell Wilkins on 28 May 2022
UX design is a crucial phase of your overall website build. It's when you ideate solutions to problems you exposed during your research. It involves wireframing, prototyping, testing, and more. You shouldn't even think about visual design until you've completed this step.
Why So Many Websites are Terrible and How to Make Your FinTech’s site Better
by Darrell Wilkins on 10 May 2022
Lots of websites are underwhelming because the people who create them focus on the easy parts, like graphic design and content. To get a high-performance FinTech site, you must focus on unsexy strategy instead.
Should You Improve or Rebuild Your FinTech’s Website?
by Darrell Wilkins on 21 Mar 2022
When making the decision whether to improve your current website or rebuild from scratch, start with your business objectives and where your site currently stands. Then assess urgency, capacity, and budget.