Lessons learned from building our own website

We announced back in January that one of our New Year’s Resolutions for 2018 was to rebuild our own website, and unlike the promises of losing a few pounds and jogging around the block once in a while, this one actually stuck. The cobbler’s children finally have some shoes!

Here are a few lessons we learned from playing “client” to ourselves. Spoiler alert: we are terrible clients.

1. Writing content took longer than expected.

Wow, who would have thought that the #1 pitfall for our clients (content creation) would also be the biggest hurdle for us to overcome?

man looking at watchI actually enjoy writing, but finding the right frame of mind to create web content was draining. Yes – I fell into the trap. After a long day of work the last thing I wanted to do was sit down and write about… work. Add readability and SEO keywords into the mix and I constantly found myself in a Mexican standoff with the WordPress editor.

We got there eventually, but we would have gotten there a whole lot quicker with the help of a professional writer. We have always advised prospective clients to hire a professional writer, but expect us to address this one head on in future projects.

2. I have more important things to do than work on my website.

We are always pretty busy here, generally working on 5-10 projects at any one time. We also spend a lot of time on continuing education in SEO and web design/development. Not unexpectedly, our own website quickly fell down the priority list, taking a back seat to things like support requests and you know… making money.

What’s the lesson here? Don’t wait. Get on your website project right now and stick with it because once you get distracted by the day to day it is incredibly hard to build up that head of steam again.

Contact us now to take the first step.

Internet Advertising Award trophy 20183. I WANT IT NOW.

This is related to my last point. If you let your project go off the boil like we did, something will happen that will make you wish you hadn’t.

We won an award.

We actually sat on this news for a few months because guess what you do when you win an award – you do a press release, and when you do a press release, people read it, and when people read it, they check you out online, and when they check you out online, you better have a darn good website or else they’ll wonder “why did these idiots win a web design award when their own website is utter rubbish”.

Being serious about your web project means you will finish it faster and it will be ready when you need it, whether it’s for an ad campaign, a charity event, or even some unexpected publicity.

4. Tweaking held us up.

How many cardinal client rules can we break?! Yep – we revised, tweaked, optimized, fine-tuned, improved, enhanced and iterated over and over. Why? Because we focused on “perfection” and not on our original goal, which was to replace a decade old website that was not helping our clients or winning us new business. It’s hard to quantify the opportunity cost of dragging our feet.

Ironically, I added this paragraph AFTER this blog post was first published.

5. A refreshed brand is invigorating.

The old comminternet.com website
Our previous website was designed when Bob Barker still hosted The Price is Right.

Technology and web design trends change at an alarming rate. Here’s a screenshot of our old website in case you don’t remember what it looked like. Back in 2008 it was decent, but by 2012 it was out of date. Soon I was actively telling people not to visit it, especially not on a mobile device.

Since we were overhauling the website, we decided to have our logo professionally redesigned too. We are really happy with the simplicity of the new logo and we are working on some new business cards. I can’t wait to hand out those shiny new cards with 100% confidence because I know that leads will actually be impressed by what they see when they check us out online.

That feeling of confidence is truly invigorating.

Over to you

What do you think of our new website? Got a site you want us to take a look at? Tell us all about it.

Community Web Development