It’s always surprising to me how much work it takes to launch a website. From the most mundane landing page or blog to the massively complicated Fortune 500 company multi-site intranet portal – it always takes more work than you think.
You know a project is headed for trouble, however, when you hear some version of “we can fix the design later” comment. It also shows itself in the “that’s just the colors part of this, that’s the easy part” or “we’ll let our brand folks figure that out later”. Basically what you’re saying is that you have a to-do list item and you just want to get it done, you don’t really care whether it’s going to be successful or valuable or useful. How very unfortunate.
In general I believe most people think it’s easy to build a website. Yes, technology is making some aspects of the process easier, but the overall discipline of website production has grown in complexity exponentially since I first started out over 16 years ago. The audience has changed as well. The experience standard your consumers demand is so much higher you really can’t just blindly enter into a web project thinking it’s going to be simple.
Think about opening a store front, a brick-and-mortar shop with doors and windows and lights and plumbing. Think about how you would approach something so critical to your business. Now take that same perspective and start your website project. Sure, some aspects may be cheaper, but be willing to invest just as much money and time. Yes, there are templates out there that might speed things up from an architecture perspective, but your content is going to take work. Instead of spending your weekends painting walls, you get to spend your weekends writing copy that is going to promote action. Sure, your uncle can help with the electrical, but shouldn’t you pay a professional? Same is true for your website. Be prepared to bring in the big guns for this one.
Creating an exceptional experience for your users takes a lot of work, but once you have done that work the reward is quantifiable. You now have a place people can go every day, any time of the day, to get their needs met. And you know what the best part is? They will enjoy doing it! They will want to come back. They will talk about other experiences in contrast with this one sending more people to you.
You have to make the time at the beginning, in the middle and at the end to elevate the experience. Don’t just rush to launch. Test, research, try, change, adjust, analyze and then repeat. Do the hard work now or guaranteed you’ll have to redo your work over and over.