The dream website — Part 2

Photo courtesy Murray Campbell on Unsplash

In my last post, I talked about the lure of the dream website and the cost. This one is about the other type of cost — time.

I think it’s safe to say that the majority of us are time poor because we love to cram in as much as we can and we wonder why we can’t get through everything we want! This is why most ideal deadlines for launching websites are just that — ideal. A product of the dream website.

Are you saying my deadline is not realistic?

Yes, but you can always prove me wrong :)

Let’s look at two areas: content and images.

The number one area where time usually blows out on a website deadline is content. I know this all too well having recently been through it with my own website launch and I’ve seen it many times with clients.
You start off thinking ‘I just need to describe what we do, find some images, say who we are and include contact details’.

Hmm, sounds simple enough… but have you got existing content to work with? If yes, is it up to date and in a format suitable for web? Are you familiar with how web content is presented? If you are creating content for the first time, could you enlist some help from a professional/trusted colleague to help you circumvent that inner critic circling around every phrase, every word?

The area that usually takes the most time is justified because content is considered to be one of the most important aspects (if not the most important) of a website. An article on content by Fast Company states “your content defines the conversation between your site and users.” How are you going to make your first impression count?

Images are easy to find — aren’t they?

Yes they are, in plentiful supply thanks to royalty free, ease of use stock image sites such as Unsplash. That’s kind of the problem. Choice can be paralysing because you are spending more time collecting a shortlist and end up with 200 images to choose from.

Here’s some tips to ease that paralysis of choice before you start:

  • consider your business branding; what images are really going to complement your existing design and tone of voice? Sometimes you can filter images by colour, size, orientation etc which helps to narrow down your search
  • take note of the competition and general marketing/advertising material within your industry — you might find a particular stock image is used repetitively (hint: these are the ones to avoid!)
  • consider your content — how do the images relate to your message? Would an icon, or custom illustration be better to use than a photo?
  • quality and size — if you’re using your own images are they going to scale well and are they of a good resolution. It’s a good idea to always start large — images can always be compressed and resized to something smaller but the opposite is not true.

Other time-demanding aspects such as the design and technology used etc are of equal importance. In fact, any aspect which goes into making your dream (or not so dream) website is of importance and needs appropriate time set aside.

So, if you are in the throes of creating a website and would like some guidance on how to determine the time it will take to create it, consider these points:

  • make a master list of tasks. Include everything, no matter how small e.g. ‘ask Eija for a testimonial’. If you are working with a web developer and/or web designer, they will tell you what they need to get their job done. Break up the tasks into bite sized pieces; this may be tedious to start with but is rewarding when you are seeing your progress. Consider using a web app such as Trello for managing your project and assigning tasks to others
  • commit to a regular time to work on your site. Find a suitable space in your home, office or other — whatever works to get you into that creative mindset.
  • enlist help where necessary and do it early in the process. Assign tasks to staff members and call in favours where appropriate — it can make a real difference to your confidence and sense that you are sharing the journey with others
  • plan incremental deadlines for particular tasks. If all goes well, the final launch deadline can go ahead as planned. If not, have a contingency plan worked out in advance.

The journey to a realised website is rarely easy but (hopefully) rewarding and a true representation of you and your business.

Best of luck in your own website journey!