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production not perfection

I’ve never had much of a problem pulling the trigger on big decisions after thoroughly evaluating the situation. In fact, one of my favorite sayings is, “production, not perfection”.

But today, after a session with my web design students about finishing their websites before the end of the course, I remembered back a few years ago, to just how hard it was for my team and me to go through the process of redesigning the New Tricks website.

Michael was the one leading the push for the redesign. He wanted us to completely rebrand the site with a new logo, colors, fonts, and taking away the dog.  Clinging to my seven-year-old branding, I was adamant that I couldn’t go that drastic.

Not giving up, Michael quietly worked behind the scenes on a new design and presented it to me a few months later.  At first, I continued to say,  “No way!”  But after a couple of days, it worked its way into my brain to the point where I couldn’t wait to get rid of our tired old green and orange.  I was excited about having a new site with a more relevant brand story.

Once we got started, the website content and design process did go smoother, but I still maintain it’s to do without outside help, even for web designers.  It’s hard to see your business from the outside and understand what about your company that has people connect with you. And, being our own worst critiques, we spend way too much time second-guessing ourselves.

The next hurdle was coming up with our home page content and design. Using Donald Miller’s StoryBrand process, we focussed on being a small, powerful team that created effective websites using psychology, technology, and design. We showed a couple of our before and after websites from our portfolio with a testimonial from each of the business owners. Although we provide other services, we kept our home page focussed on web design.

I was very anxious about launching our new baby. But people responded well to the change. And, in the three years, we’ve had our new website; our business has more than doubled.  The growth of our business may have more to do with what we think of ourselves with our new grown-up business website. I know it’s put a little more pep in our step.

But this website comes up better in Google searches, and we’ve landed quite a few large clients who found us online because we are a small web design agency that specializes in creating websites that generate business. The site with the dog although attracting some dog lovers didn’t work for us as well.

Things I’ve learned in the process of redesigning our website:

  1. The point of a website redesign should be to bring in more leads, more customers and more business.  It doesn’t matter if your website makes you happy if it doesn’t connect with your target clients.
  2. It’s difficult to do your own website, even if you are a web designer.
  3. It is hard to show your website to others for feedback. (In the future I will try to remember that when doing website evaluations. )
  4. Professional photographs are worth the time and money they cost.
  5. Production, not perfection. Don’t delay launching the site if you still have a couple of pages or a few more portfolio items to add. The rule of thumb is to launch the new site when most everything is better on the new site than the old one.
  6. To get the best results, continue to test and tweak your site on an ongoing basis so that you can get more miles from your site before the next redesign.
  7. A web designer with a bad website is like a dentist with bad teeth. Think about it.
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