Sometimes all it takes is a simple shift in mindset to make a website successful. If you’ve ever sat in a meeting while people around the table have asked themselves if their company was a car, what kind of car would it be, you’re not alone. It’s a common analogy. But does it make sense applied to a website?
The car analogy doesn’t work with websites. All it does is highlight the difficulties inherent in going the distance and getting the right results!
CARS LOSE VALUE AS THEY AGE
With a car, the assumption is you buy one then drive it off the forecourt looking wonderfully shiny and new, as good as it will ever look. Over time, as you gradually wear it out, the car’s value goes down and down. Eventually you have to trade it in for a new one. The very act of using the car reduces its value.
The same thought process is usually at play with most of website design and development clients. We redesign their website. It looks fabulous at first. But gradually, over the next few years, trends change, technology moves on, or they simply get bored of it… and they trade it in for a new one.
TREES GROW MORE BEAUTIFUL AS THEY AGE
If you buy a tree for your garden, it’s fair to assume the tree will look a bit small and plain at first, in its early days, when you’ve just planted it. But when you nurture it, are patient with it and look after it through the seasons, it soon grows into something magnificent. There’s no way you’d want to dig it up and replace it with another new, smaller tree. That’s how we prefer to think about websites. They’re not cars, they’re trees.
THINK LIKE A TREE
This mindset shift impacts every decision you make. Think trees and you can instantly see how launching a smaller, lower key website initially sets you free to add to it later, and saves you cash thanks to less development time up front. Or how building the site on a code base that evolves with you – for example using WordPress and Avada – opens up the potential for a series of intelligent updates to improve the site and keep it future-proofed as time passes.
The same goes for staggering the release of other sections of a website, following on logically from the initial build rather than trying to do everything at once. People expect websites to develop, grow and change over time. So do search engines. In actual fact, adding extra sections, pages and content to a website regularly, over time, will make Google and co a whole lot happier than launching a 100% finished site then leaving it to slowly degrade without any updates.
There’s another huge benefit to getting something good, solid and basic out there rather than spending a king’s ransom and acres of time perfecting something enormous and far-reaching, then letting it stagnate. You can observe people’s reactions to your site via heatmaps and analytics, checking out how they interact and engage with the different sections, the content and so on, and tweaking it accordingly.
It’s your job to keep your website up to date, secure and relevant, and that means allocating budget for ongoing support in much the same way as you’d feed and water a tree. When you work that way you’re perfectly entitled to expect your results to improve over time, growing and adapting to suit your audience and business need, rather than getting worse.
All of which means it makes a whole lot more business sense to allocate ongoing time and resources to a site than forget about it three days after launch.