Your website isn’t that important

Todd A
Todd A
Aug 31, 2015 · 2 min read

So often, developers, designers, and agencies find themselves on the receiving end of a client freak-out over a minor mistake on a website or even the “major” issue of downtime. When these things happen we all run into conflict in the language we use and the priority we give the issues. But the problem is that most people don’t understand: your website isn’t that important. This is hard to hear but your website is usually just a flyer you’ve left on the windshield of the web.

When a client disproportionately reacts to an error on a website or downtime, it’s a great indicator that they’re spending their money on the wrong thing.

So much of building your business is going to happen offline — the personal connections, referrals — that you don’t want to get in too deep with web expenses until your business can afford them. Web expenses are monetary, technical, and time-related. So if you freak out over downtime, chances are you’ve spent too much time or money on your website. Its downtime (or bug) seems like a bigger deal than it is because the site has been incorrectly valued.

The second reason to remember that your website isn’t that important is that when a client freaks out, their anxiety makes the developer’s job harder. We make bad decisions. We take shortcuts just to get your site back online.

If your website has 1000s (or even 100s) of visitors per hour (or even day), I’ll happily retract this argument. But likely it doesn’t. Most small businesses need small sites that deliver simple information to a few people (0–100) per day.

I’m telling you this to give you some perspective. If you think your website is that important, then you’re going to misspend your money and time on it. I want you to value it properly. Should it take a week for your agency to get it back online? No. But it can’t happen instantly. If your site goes down for a couple of hours, it isn’t the end of the world.

“Seriously, do not start down to the path to a website for your small business until you read Todd A’s book.” — Amazon review

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