It's Time to Evolve
Traditional Websites Are Broken.
Let's face it, most current websites these days lack a comprehensive strategy based on data. Users are ignored. Mobile experiences are watered down or evaluated late in the project. Technology, when available, is inflexible and forces businesses to compromise how their website works and is managed long term. As a result, the majority of today's websites are a ghostly shell of what they could be and what they could do for each business online.
Those days are over. It's time to evolve.
Expect more from your website.
Technology has come a long way – heck, you can get a website for free now. You can build a website in hours, too. This technology, though valuable for some very small businesses and personal sites, has watered down most businesses' perception of what a website can do for their business. If you think of a website as a check-boxed commodity, you’re seriously missing out.
It's time to evolve. Put the template down and expect more from your website. A website should be the workhorse of your business. It should be putting your best face forward - 24/7/365. It should be your best spokesman. It should be your best salesperson. It should differentiate you from the competition.
It should be informing, reassuring, and help reduce fear in your potential clients. It should be reporting back to you how well it's working. It should be the champion of your brand each and every day.
Your website has the potential to solve incredibly complex business challenges – trust that it is up for the challenge because it is. Trust that your website can fit your business like a glove because it can. Demand it – your business is too important to settle.
Demand a qualified, digital partner.
The days of calling your digital agency a vendor (aka the “v-word") are over. Vendors are simply tacticians. Implementers who execute without thinking about the big picture. Without asking questions. Without respectfully pushing back. Without saying no. Without caring about what happens after launch.
If you find yourself calling your current provider the "v-word" or feel they are simply executing without a fundamental understanding of your business and user goals, you are missing out.
It's time to evolve. As a business, if you value the web you need to find yourself a qualified digital partner. Digital partners are curious folk with minds for solving complex problems and helping organizations understand and harness the power of the web. A great digital partner is one you can trust to be open with, ask complicated and silly questions without fear, and know they will be there for you when you need them the most. They will guide and teach.
If you're currently a web vendor, raise the standard of our industry. Strive to escape the "v-word" label and embark on a journey with your clients to ensure their strategy is sound and driven by data. Raise the quality and reputation of our craft to the scientific art form that it is.
If you have questions about what questions to ask when seeking a digital partner, this might help.
Research & strategy should be your first requirement.
When you pigeon-hole your digital partner into a "v-word" or tactician role and don’t allow them to complete research and strategy their suggestion will, in essence, be a guess. The same is true if allow a vendor to prescribe solutions for your business before they fully understand the current and future states that they are hired to help you navigate.
Your business is too important to be guided by guesswork. Do not tread blindly without a qualified map and guide or your project will be at the mercy of the prevailing winds and can lead to a "boiling the ocean" scenario where this is no hierarchy of priorities, voices, and goals. Stakeholders will not be aligned. There will be no system for tie-breaking conflicting positions, priorities, and points of view. You will spend more time and money during your project with rework, revisions, and/or simply living with a product that doesn't fit your needs.
It's time to evolve. Research and strategy should be the first requirement in your project. It will pay for itself and should provide a laser-focused path of getting from point A to Z. It will streamline decisions. It will align your needs. It will reduce your risk. It will remedy any fear. It will lower your overall, long-term investment.
When completed correctly, a solid research and strategy process will address more than your immediate needs, it will allow for a deeper understanding of the business and allow all parties to plan for the future. The result is a website that gets results, fits like a glove, and can easily scale and support your business for 5+ years.
Embrace a process that supports innovative ideas.
Your digital partner should bring a process to the table that welcomes and generates new ideas that support your business needs, staff needs, ongoing support needs, and of course, the needs of your end users. How else will your website successfully showcase how your uniqueness and separate you from your competition?
It's time to evolve. The process that your digital partner utilizes to guide your project should not only inspire innovative ideas but also leave room within the project to seriously consider and incorporate them into the project scope.
The process should promote ideas from both the business and the partner side to find the "digital happy place" where thoughtfully planned technology remedies business pain. Where elegant design remedies user friction. Where unexpected ideas create moments of delight.
When a conversational trust can be generated during a successful process it allows for the creation and consideration of great ideas, it will result in better everything, and elevate your business online to a place you never thought possible.
If you could never sell or leave your business, would you run it differently? Of course you would. You would make harder decisions faster, dedicate the time and money to build things the right way, and invest in sustainable and scalable solutions that fit your business needs. You would plan for future growth and needs.
A similar thought could be applied to your digital partner. A "v-word" who is hired to simply launch and leave your project is not going to put in the extra effort required to deliver value years down the road. This is one of the many reasons that short-term, single-disciplined implementers and offshoring have such a bad reputation. There is no long-term accountability.
Will you be another one of the businesses who can't find or get a call back from the "v-word" who built your site when you need them? Or will you choose a different path?
It's time to evolve. Post-launch accountability is huge to your project's long-term success. If your digital partner is responsible, staffed correctly, and dedicated to support and grow your online initiatives after your site launches, you will get a better product and better results. Period.
Understand how your digital partner supports its clients after launch. Understand the average length of engagement your partner normally has with it's clients. Understand the post-launch process for accountability.
Focus on results, not price tags.
Let's say you want to hike to the top of Mount Everest and you have two options: a cheaper guide who brings his tourists back safe and sound 50% of the time OR a more expensive guide with a spotless track record of leading everyone to the top and back again, unscathed. Who would you follow? Your safety is important, so the choice is simple.
Why is your website any different? Websites are arguably the most valuable marketing and sales asset that any company has – hands down. Yet businesses continuously make their decision on price alone.
Here's the truth. When selecting partners for your digital project based on price alone it is because you are afraid. You are afraid of wasting time and money. You’re afraid of the unknown. You’re afraid of making a bad decision that could result in your job or a pending promotion. You’re potentially afraid of the technology. We get it. You’re not alone.
It's time to evolve. Consistent, proven results should outweigh price every, single time.
If you’re talking to a qualified digital partner for your project, they should have a long track record of getting positive results for other clients. These results may justify a larger necessary investment – this should be OK. The amount of time they’ve spent on the trail, learning, and leading is what guarantees your safe journey.
A trusted guide may also be aware of pitfalls that other providers are not which could impact the suggested investment and lead to a better product. The factors that play into your project’s success may very well be outside of your line of vision or understanding. These pitfalls might require additional tools and time to surpass, which means a larger overall investment.
The good news is that there are always options and a qualified guide will share them with you and help you understand how your decisions might impact the overall results. Ensure your partner can provide you with all the viable paths for a safe journey that makes sense. Explore those that are a fit for your comfort level and budget and risk tolerance. Then you can begin your journey with results in mind and trust your unscathed pathfinder without fear.
Are you ready to evolve?
If your adrenaline is flowing. If your mind is filling with ideas. If you feel a sense of hope and relief. You’re ready.
If you're still scared. If you're unsure. If this just blew your mind. That’s OK too, we’ll hold your hand on your journey.
Lessons from the Trenches: Debunking the Myths About WordPress
WordPress has attracted much attention over the years as a popular and influential content management system. Unfortunately, with that attention comes a lot of misinformation and myths. Today, we're going to debunk the top 10 WordPress myths.Read more