How to create a great website, pt 2: Gathering teamApr 23, 2009
Websites are built up from a number of different bricks. By the end of the day you'll need design, content (texts and pictures), promotion and some technical things like a website address, hosting and system for managing content. Most of all you need to get it done. You need decisions not discussions.Don't gather a large team just to wash off your responsibility. Don't waste time writing content for weeks and designing for months.
Build your site quickly rather than seek perfection. In this time sensitive world, there's no need to polish every detail. Just get it done already! Publish your site in one day even if it's still small and imperfect. Therefore your site starts serving visitors on a daily basis. You get into the business one day at time.
Decide alone. Don't wait for anyone to miraculously appear with better decisions from the sky. Don't distract your clear thinking with doubts because people never agree with each other anyways.
Recruit only the best to give you solid advice, but do not share decision making with them. Democracy sucks in web creation. Great advisers are another story. Listen to them to get your basics right. And then shoot. Do it. Move on.
As Seth Godin puts it, "firing the committee is the deal breaker." They also say that a "camel is a horse designed by a committee."
Should I grab a ready-made design or hire a designer?Design is, classically, a luxury item. People die of heart attacks when an invoice from the design agency arrives. The market has gone through a major diversification. No longer is there a need to have the choice "to have a design or not to have". You can always have a great design. Prices range from completely free designs (templates) to super expensive works built exclusively for you by industry's best web creators.
The question is therefore only about the size of your budget. Most of us have a limited budget, but we still want to have a unique design for our sites. If one really can't stand having a standard template and your budget really is low, there might still be a chance. There's a golden middle way -- hire a freelancer who is good at both design and coding. Let them individualize a free template for your site. Should be a half day's work.
Who should do the writing?You can't have content downloaded from content stock for free. That is the hard part -- you need to write the text yourself or hire someone to do it. Good news is that simple, short, to-the-point texts work best. So most of us can get it done well enough. Don't forget the pictures! Pictures of your team, products, office or anything else illustrating your message.
What to do with the technical stuff?Binding the design with content while launching it as your website used to require a lot of assistance from IT guys. Domain names, hosting, PHP, CMS and other creepy acronyms.
Now, this has become the easy part. There is no need for getting your hands greasy anymore. You can build your site by yourself with different website building services. No need to distract your neighbour's 10-year old IT guy of-a-son. Build it yourself, it's rather simple. If you have a custom design, let the designer integrate it with that service.
Question about how to man the promotional boat to carry your newborn website is more about general business philosophy than about building a great website.
To cut it short -- study the basics of online marketing. Need for it comes along with every website that wants to live. Study how to get better position in Google's search results, how to analyze your traffic, how to spread the word and how + when to advertise. And then either pick yourself up by the bootstraps and do the work yourself or if it really isn't your cup of tea, find someone to do it. A website likely will become a failure without promoting it properly.
Other stories on creating a great website:
- April 20th: Introduction
- April 23rd: Gathering team
- April 30th: Writing content
- May 7th: Creating design
- July 14th: Building functionality
- July 21st: Increasing traffic