Tag: communication

Ways a Website is Like a House: Don’t Hold the Open House on Move-In Day

You’ve been working on your website for weeks, maybe even months, and it’s finally ready to go. Exciting! But just as move-in day can be gritty and stressful, so can go-live day for a website.

Even with the best planning and preparation and testing, there’s always the possibility for something to have been missed along the way; and it will need to be addressed immediately. Little tweaks, adjusting settings, or simply waiting for the changes to reach the far corners of the globe all mean that go-live is a process and not a instantaneous thing that likes to stick to schedules.

Just as you wouldn’t host an open house dinner party the day you move in to a new house, you shouldn’t plan on making big announcements or having big events or marketing pushes the same time your new site goes live. Beer and pizza for those who helped you move in might be appropriate, but the big shindig should wait until the moving truck is out of the driveway and all the boxes have been put away.

straightTALK: Moving into a new house, or a new website, takes work and isn’t a great time to be having a bunch of company over.

A Website is Like a House: You Never Know What You’ll Find When You Remodel

“I just want to replace the carpet…”

So it begins. The old carpet comes up which uncovers… rotting flooring? Neglected hardwood floors? Asbestos tiles?

You never know what you’ll find when you start to remodel. Your carpet layer doesn’t have x-ray vision to see what might be underneath. It’s nobody’s fault that removing the carpet unveiled structural problems. But it has to be dealt with before moving on.

Redesigning websites can be the same way. Until the developer gets in there and gets their hands dirty with the code, they’re operating blind. If they’ve provided an estimate based on “the price of the carpet” don’t be shocked when there’s now talk of “fixing the floorboards.” There are times when an estimate is just that… an estimate. If the assumptions that estimate was based on prove to be inadequate, things will change.

straightTALK: Estimates are always based on assumptions. When the situation changes, so will the estimate.

Ways a Website is Like a House: Quality Materials Last Longer

When building a house it’s fun to look at the catalogs of all the shiny accessories that can be added. There’s a seemingly infinite variety of cabinets, bathroom fixtures, and tiles to choose from. And a seemingly infinite variety of price points.

Since you have to work within your budget, you may be tempted to go with some of the lower priced / lower quality options to get more bling for the buck. While that’s one approach, it’s likely to cost more in the end.

While it would be nice to have an unlimited budget where you could get everything exactly as you want it, that’s rarely the case. Knowing your budget up front, and communicating it to your contractor, can help keep you from cutting corners in the wrong places.

Your contractor, whether for a house or a website, will know where to save and where not to compromise. Quality materials always last longer. And sometimes it’s the ones you can’t see that make the biggest difference. It’s relatively easy and cheap to swap out carpet, not so much for floor joists and foundations.

The same is true for websites. Often it’s the hosting and the theme and plugin code quality that make the biggest difference in the long run. You may have to pay more for quality and customization, but it’s money well spent.

straightTALK: Cutting corners always costs in the long run.

Ways a WordPress Site is Like a House: Change Orders Are Expensive

If you’ve ever changed your mind half way through a construction project, you know that change orders are expensive. Adding a room, moving a wall, or relocating a sink can have a ripple effect on things that that might seem totally unrelated. One change over here makes something over there not work.

The same can happen on a website. Adding a new page or changing the size of an image can blow apart the design and have the web developer scrambling to adjust. This inevitably adds time and money to the project, and possibly decreases it’s effectiveness.

Whether a house or a website, the more time and effort spent in getting the blueprints right — in discovery and drafting — the less likelihood of change orders taking the project over budget and causing delays.

straightTALK: Change is inevitable, but has consequences.

Ways a WordPress Site is Like a House: Good Blueprints = Good Communication

You wouldn’t dream of building a house without a set of good blueprints. A website should be no different. 

Blueprints not only provide technical details for the builders, but they are the first step in helping to visualize the finished product. They are critical to determining the materials needed and therefore a large part of the budget. Blueprints can also help to identify problems before a single 2×4 is cut or a single pixel is placed. The more time spent getting the blueprints right, the faster and cheaper the actual build will be.

It might take a bit of effort to read and understand blueprints if you’re not familiar with them, but doing so will save confusion and disappointment in the long run. Blueprints (which for websites are mockups, wireframes, and style tiles) are a critical means of defining and communicating the end goal. 

Remember that the communication is meant to be two-way. If there’s something that’s confusing or doesn’t seem right, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or make suggestions.

straightTALK: The clearer the plan, the better the result.