The Importance of Accurate Website Data

This is a subject that I personally have not seen covered enough by webmaster bloggers.

As many web developers know, creating a successful website requires a lot of work.  There’s a huge checklist to follow when creating a website, and when you’ve completed that checklist, you more than likely have created a second or third checklist to start on.

However, one major part of website development that separates experienced developers from hobbyists, is making sure that your website data is accurate.  Many inexperienced developers will claim that that is the responsibility of the customer.  They’ll say things like: “That’s not my problem, how am I supposed to know if the data is accurate?  I don’t run the company, they need to supply me with the correct data.”

While there is a hint of truth to this, it’s your job as a developer to work with them, and explain how important it is to get the correct data the first time.  Ask them questions about the data like:  “Do you plan on changing the prices of your products in the near future?” or “Are the part numbers for your products up-to-date and satisfactory to you?”  These are questions that will benefit the entire project, reducing the chance of having to update the data again before the website is even launched.

Spreadsheets, spreadsheets, spreadsheets…

Using spreadsheets to manage content or product information is crucial to the web development process.  If you’re developing an e-commerce website and adding products one-by-one, without a spreadsheet, you’re wasting valuable time.  Every single e-commerce CMS has some sort of import/export feature, and it exists for this exact reason.  Utilizing spreadsheets during the development process has many advantages:

  • Allows you to check the data of each product easily
  • Allows you to update an entire catalog of products on a website in a fraction of time
  • Saves time by letting you import the data in the spreadsheet via .csv import
  • You can send the spreadsheet to the customer as a deliverable