“I can’t wait to be done with my website!”
On a weekly basis we hear this phrase. To a web developer this is like nails on a chalkboard. If you are getting ready to begin building your first website, in the middle of a revision, or think your website is “done”… LISTEN UP… this blog entry is for you. It is essential for website owners to understand that their website is never done.
Think of your website like a car. Before you buy it, you should do a lot of research and look at the many options available to you. When it comes time to pick one out, you should have an idea of what you want, a budget and ultimately a comfort level with the manufacturer, dealer, etc.
When you take delivery it’s an awesome day. It’s a new car. It’s fresh, it’s shinny and it reflects you. It’s something you are proud of and something you can’t wait to have your friends see you in.
To keep it looking great you need to wash it, wax it and keep the interior clean. If you want the engine to last you need to do regular oil changes and other preventative maintenance.
Over time, even the best cared for car starts to have issues. Maybe it needs new tires to keep it going down the road, a new fuel filter or spark plugs to keep it running strong. If you live in the North East, eventually you’ll see some rust of the components. Our Southern neighbors will have fading of the paint or interior upholstery. The seats will eventually be worn, and you’ll probably spill something in your car. (Maybe it’s the favorite Milk Shake or the bag of potting soil from your home improvement center.)
Your car will age. It will stop being “a new car” and become “a car”. If you keep it longer it might even become “an old car”. No matter how much you care about your car and take care of it, it will depreciate.
At some point you’ll have to make difficult decisions… “Do I replace the engine?”, “Do I get it repainted?”, or “Is it time for a new car?” You’ll consider the cost of the repair or updating vs. replacement. You’ll evaluate if you really need a car. You’ll start the process all over again researching what you need vs. what you want, how much it will cost, and can you afford it. You’ll think back to your last sales experience and if the dealer or service shop has been good to you with your car and do you want to continue working with them.
And before you know it… you’ll be in a new car.
So… what does this have to do with a website? Absolutely everything!
As your car takes you from place to place, improving your experience over walking. Your website moves people towards the goals of your website. Whether it’s closing a sale, marketing a new concept or educating your visitors, a solid website is an important part of your strategy.
Like buying a car, a solid website needs solid planning, preparation and implementation.
Your website needs maintenance. While you won’t wash or wax it, you should be updating the content, the photos, graphics and video to keep it looking fresh. As technology evolves around us your site may need to have things tweaked behind the scenes… it might be improving security with an updated script, adding a SSL, or maybe removing old content that is hindering your search engine optimization. Like your car, sites require regular maintenance.
At some point with your car you will need new tires or an unanticipated repair. With a website, you may need to update a plug in, make a modification to address a change in the browser technology or even change the way a form submits reacting to changes with hosting security.
One day you something will make you realize your “new site” is now “an old site”. It may no longer reflect you, your organization, or show it in a way you want your friends (or visitors) to see. The estimates to repair it may exceed the cost of developing a new site and you’ll be back to planning for a new site.
A website is never done.
As always, we are happy to answer your questions and help you stay on the “road to success”.