This past week our team launched our new website. Finally.
Six months earlier, I can clearly remember sitting down at the start of the new year with my orange Caledon pen, a big cup of coffee, and a blank piece of paper, brainstorming my goals for the new year. Most were simple: get to work earlier, stay organized, work hard, etc. But at the top of that list was a larger item that I was beyond excited about—redesigning the CV website. A little over 6 months later, our team can finally cross that item off of the list.
…Or maybe not?
Caledon Virtual is known for launching websites in between 3-6 weeks, and we do it well. This past April we were challenged to launch 40 websites in a week, and guess what? We did it.
However, building a website for ourselves was an entirely new venture. During the process we realized just how important it was to have an established process. Here are three takeaways we learned:
1. A foundation is key.
We started our website process by establishing our demographic. We created a specific persona that matched our target demographic. We then created a content structure (more on that later). Establishing and writing down our goals, persona, and content structure gave us a common ground for making decisions. We didn’t get too caught up in specific attention to detail until we had an established architectural plan. In other words, we didn’t pick out the paint color until the foundation was created and the walls were built.
2. Content is concrete.
Websites exist because businesses and organizations have a message they want to share. Because of this, starting suitable content to communicate a message is the logical first step. We realized through our process just how fundamentally important this is; it’s crucial to start with a content structure. It’s not necessary to know the exact content, but it is important to know the content structure, so the design and user experience is simple and user-friendly.
3. Building a website is like buying a house. It’s never truly finished.
Buying a house is typically a 30 to 60-day process filled with paper work, phone-calls and to-dos. But the to-dos don’t actually end once you get the keys to your new home. In fact, that’s when the real work begins. The process of making a house a home is the next step. That process is full of to-do lists and excel files and paint swatches and trips to Lowes—it’s kinda like a run-on sentence that never actually ends. 😉
Similarly, once you build or redesign your website, the improvements and to-do lists never actually end. And they shouldn’t. Your website should go through a process of design, building, and testing. It also involves always taking a step back and looking at what is working well, and looking at what could be performing better.
As a full-service marketing agency, we are always looking for ways to help our clients improve their brand, their message, and use their marketing dollars in a way that helps their organization reach their potential. Usually that means asking the tough questions, challenging assumptions, and experimenting with projects. Websites are no different. Your website can help your organization experience its potential; but only if you are always looking for ways to improve it.
Sorry folks, your website isn’t—and should never be—totally finished.