Now, I’m a big fan of having a high impact, great looking website with a few bells and whistles that will really make you stand out from the crowd.
But I also know this truth about websites: they are never, ever finished. And as such, it’s really important to understand that what you see as the finishing line might only be the halfway line, and learning to recognise when it’s time to launch your site and start getting actual sales and driving traffic to it.
It reminds me of getting ready for the party that you are most excited about going to. For me, this is usually the Daily Mail’s Christmas party (I worked at the paper as a journalist and still get invited to this event, which I love).
It’s pretty glamorous and everyone makes a huge effort with their appearance, which is kind of funny considering its mostly women attending. Anyway, when you’re getting ready for such an event, if you’re me anyway, there is always more you could ‘do’ to enhance your look, and there are always more outfits you could try on, a hair grip here, a different shade of lipstick. But eventually you have to draw the line, and go to the party, or you’ll miss it altogether!
Bringing this back to web design, I’ve had quite a few clients, who will recognise themselves in the blog post, who spend days, if not weeks, wondering about teeny tiny details of their site before getting it live. Now everyone, especially me, wants a brilliant result, but when you are launching or running a business, or building your personal brand, your website is just one vital part of your armoury. There comes a time when what matters more than the teeny tiny detail is driving traffic to the site or getting a sale through it, or throwing yourself into social media, sales, publicity, brand raising and profile building. There comes a time when you have to get to the party!
My view on websites is that they are never, ever finished. With mine, I add pages and posts to it constantly, I’m forever making tweaks to the wording here and there, or swapping images. Eight months ago, I thought this website was done, that it was it, it was definitely FINISHED. Now I want to completely redesign it to make it much more magaziney with all my posts on the home page, so effectively I’m back at the starting point again.
But, with the party metaphor in mind, does it really matter? It’s like wanting to have more dress options when you already have a great dress on. My site is pretty good! It looks modern and high impact. I’m not redesigning it quite yet because I’m at the party, having fun, talking to people, I’m working on the sales, profile building, publicity side and that is all going really well.
Websites are, to some degree, a living breathing thing. They are not something you whack up online and never look at again. They grow and evolve, along with you. As you do and achieve things, your website needs to record them.
Then the more you look at other websites, the more you’ll see things that you want on your own. Keeping with the clothes metaphor, it’s not too different to walking around TopShop. I want everything in there even though I’ve got a wardrobe stuffed with clothes. At some point you draw a line and say ‘I won’t buy another jumper until September….’
Then throw in trends. Oh yes, we’re back to Topshop, and just like my super on-trend denim boiler suit looks brilliant this year, it may well look like dated in a few years time. The same thing will happen to a website as fonts and design trends shifts.
So keep perspective. Get a great, bold site with high impact photos and modern elements. Get a good dress, a great pair of shoes, your hair done and your make-up on. You can even get a wax, a full body scrub and a skin peel if you like. Eventually though, it’s time to get to the party.
Footnote: Since writing this post, this website has (predictably!) been redesigned!