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How to Manage Back-End Website Development

If you’re planning to launch a more advanced affiliate site or to expand your existing site, then the world of website development will soon become something for you to deal with.
The trick to making the right decisions in it isn’t to throw money at any new feature you come across and get it developed within days. Unfortunately, this is not how successful websites are built and not what customized web development is about.

So, here’s a checklist of the things to focus on when you want to introduce a special new feature (or a whole range of features) to your affiliate site:
1. Is This In Tune With Your Goals?
Goals, per se, are probably a bit boring of a topic to talk about. After all, we often get the impression that we know very well what we’re expecting from our sites and in what direction we want to take them. However, the reality proves that this is not always the case.
To make sure, the first thing to do is to review your business goals for the website and make sure that the thing you want to have built fits within them perfectly.
In other words, getting a feature just because a number of your peers already have it isn’t a good enough reason, and will most likely fail in the long run.
2. Is This The Highest Leverage Feature?
The concept of leverage is great for all business-related purposes. Mainly, whenever you’re planning to introduce a cool new feature, answer the question whether this feature has the potential to bring you the most profits with the least amount of work required to implement it.
This sort of question might sound a bit vague at first, but once you spend a while thinking about it, some answers should sprout up in your mind. Estimate how much money can be potentially made with this new feature before taking any other steps.
3. Pick The Thing With The Most Leverage
The previous point should give you a nice list of things/features that have the most potential of bringing a nice return on investment. Now is a good moment to take the thing that is on top of this list and have it implemented first.
4. Define The Minimum Viable Product/Result
Whenever we have a new idea for something, anything, we tend to run wild with this idea. And almost immediately think about tens of different improvements, traits, and detailed characteristics. This is a mistake.
A much better approach is to focus on the minimum viable product – the thing that does the essential stuff and nothing else. Such a thing will be always easier, quicker, and cheaper to develop than a full-blown and complicated new feature.
5. Search For Ready-Made Solutions
One of the main benefits of doing online business in 2013 is that there’s a myriad of WordPress plugins available for content managed websites to choose from. What this means is that there’s a really big chance that a new feature you might need has already been developed by someone else.
Always start your development process by searching what’s already out there. Focus on free plugins as well as paid plugin marketplaces.
6. Prioritize
With all the info acquired previously, at this point, you should be able to estimate which features can be developed the quickest with the least investment required, but at the same time having the highest profit potential.
This is basically another checkup point where you can make sure that the features you’ve chosen for development in the first instance are indeed the right ones.
7. Outsource Simple Tasks
The development process of every new feature for your website can be accelerated if you outsource some of the simplest tasks in a smart way.
For example, if the only thing you need is to tweak an existing plugin to fit your requirements then this task can be easily done by an outsourcer. It will also be way cheaper than hiring a professional team of developers.
You can find outsourcers who are knowledgeable in web development on sites like: oDesk, Elance.
8. Testing And Improvement
Every new feature you’re working on should undergo a detailed testing process. The simple fact is that just because a given feature works on your specific computer, internet connection and web browser, doesn’t mean that it’s going to work equally well for everybody. Therefore, make sure to test the final product on multiple devices and in multiple usage scenarios (users doing different, sometimes non-standard things).
9. Finding The Courage to Say No
Saying no is a rare skill these days. Sometimes, the initial excitement about a given new feature can drive us into making the wrong decisions and losing a lot of money on something that has absolutely no potential to turn profitable.
If the above steps didn’t give you a clear “go ahead” sign then you should probably reconsider your plans and find a different direction for your project. Sometimes, our gut feeling just isn’t always right (sadly).