Recently, Hello Goat Designs (HGD) has been working with quite a few new clients and most of them share a few things in common. They all want web sites, they want them now and they are completely unsure what that will do to their workload.
It is most excellent that these companies are entering the digital age and realizing that they need a web presence to help promote their businesses, be another sales lead generator and help gain brand recognition and credibility. The problem that these companies are running into is that they want a website, but have no idea what it takes to get one. They see what they like in other companies’ sites, but don’t connect the dots and see how those companies got where they are.
They don’t realize that design can only take you so far; that good content makes a good website. They come up with all these ideas about look and feel and even navigation without having any plans for content. They can picture in their minds how awesome their website is going to look. They are overly excited when they see the first mock-ups of their new home page; greeked text and all. They completely believe they are ready to launch and call daily for progress reports.
We call this the “Ready, Fire, Aim!” syndrome. The excitement level and the anticipation of their first web presence gets the best of them. They want to see it live now! So, when they see their sites for the first time in an “Alpha Environment” they usually see something that doesn’t look exactly like they pictured. Their exuberance is shattered into a million tiny pieces. They have a hundred questions that all sound the same. “How come it looks blank?” “I gave you our mission statement, why doesn’t it take up more space?” “Why is there so much white space?” “Where is all the content?”
So, to avoid this first crushing blow to our new clients excitement level, we here at HGD have been working dilligently with these new clients to prepare them for what comes with owning a website and keeping it up and running. We have been talking a lot about some scary phrases like “content plan”, “information architecture”, “website maintenance” and “content management.” We have been consulting these businesses on what they need out of their web site, how they should use their new online presence and what information they should consider displaying on their site to fit their overall online goal.
These converations can be painful at times for any business just starting to dip their toe into the online pool. In the long run it is better to have them up front then to have the crushing reality of a well designed/poory executed/non-performing website.