The exact quote from our old friend Confucius is “When they do good things, good people plan first“.
In fifteen years in this business, we’ve seen a lot of web development projects, and gained a wealth of experience.
Typical, our clients come to us saying something like “Build me a web site with an awesome design. Make it look sharp/cutting edge/cool/like xxx site“.
Then we hear the “secondary” issue; it’s usually expressed as “Here’s what we want the site to say. This message, that functionality. We want a business overview, employee profiles, contact information . . . you know, all the usual stuff. And here’s what we want the website to do: Shopping cart, pay online, FAQ’s, password-protected client/employee center, everything categorized in a way that makes sense both to us and everyone who visits, search-able, and with an easily browse-able library of PDF documents. And don’t forget user registration!”.
Then, as the project is heading toward completion, we hear the big one: “Why don’t we come up first in Google? What do we need to do to improve our search engine ranking and get closer to the top?”
Real estate agents tell you that the three most important things in their business are location, location, and location. In the business of creating successful internet presence it’s all about planning, planning, and planning!
And the real secret to a smooth and cost-effective website project is to concurrently and proactively plan the above three stages. Not incidentally, this is what CDLLC does.
We used to be shocked when we came across work that hadn’t been executed that way, and we come across it often. Of course, it’s usually exactly such a failure to plan that leads new clients to us, wondering why their web presence isn’t yielding the kind of results they were sure they’d achieve when they hung their bright shiny virtual shingles.
Why does concurrent planning matter?
Businesses that plan their design first and the content and functionality afterward often discover that their content doesn’t fit into the design. For example, websites with lots of sections and snippets of information may need a very modular design, while sites with large chunks of content, like publications, reviews, or editorial content are (usually) better served by a wider, vertically stretchable design. Are you selling things directly over the Internet? Designs for special applications like shopping carts or document libraries must be tailored to fit those applications.
Simply put, putting design before content usually results in a redesign, which costs money. Call us crazy, but we like to save our clients’ money.
Then, amazingly, it’s only after design and content are addressed that the question of marketing and traffic gets looked at!
Did you start your business without a marketing and sales plan already in place? Of course not. So why would you build a website without knowing how you were going to attract the right traffic and deliver your sales message? You can build out your web site and fill it with loads of rich content, and not until months later discover that the site doesn’t come up in the right place or rank highly for the for the right keywords in Google.
The result? Content re-writing, and even modification of the design so search engines can find you. Oh: and maybe even a whole new cost item added for search engine marketing, post-budget creation.
The takeaway? Work through all of the steps for creating a successful web presence concurrently and you’ll save money and not go over budget with surprises & re-works.
So let’s re-work Confucius, with an added slice of Gordon Gecko: “Planning is Good. Planning Works.”