Though we call ourselves a website support company, we really are a marketing company. The websites we work on are marketing and communication tools for our clients and we often find ourselves in the role of “marketing consultant”.
The Cobbler’s Son…
As a company that handles many marketing based tasks a day, one of the absolute hardest tasks is to market our own company. I don’t think this any different for most folks in any industry, hence the saying: “the cobbler’s son has no shoes”, right?
The Plastic Surgeon’s Son..
In fact as the son of a plastic surgeon (head and neck), I went the first 18 years of my life with a (very) deviated septum. I always complained I couldn’t breath through my nose, the response: “then breath through your mouth”. My Dad is a great guy, but like me I am sure at the end of the day he didn’t want too look up one more nose, just like I don’t want to look at one more website. Granted, I would rather look at websites than up strangers noses. OK… clearly I have digressed.
We Did Manage to Get Our Own Site Done
Like many of the clients we serve, our website is our primary marketing and communications tool however keeping it up to date is always a challenge. Honestly, if you just worked on 10+ websites in a day, would you really want to work on one more? However we did manage to build and launch a new site this December. In fact by reading this article, you are looking at it… Do you like?
A Humbling Experience
Building our own website, which I do every one to two years, is always a humbling experience and a good one for me to go through. While the FatLab team is doing the work, I very much get to play role of the client. You know the pushy, overbearing, detail obsessed and basically anal retentive client. I’m sure the team here rolls their eye everytime I sit down to review the new in-progress site and just start filling our issues queue with all kinds of to-do’s. Or worse when I pretend I am writer and it becomes someone’s job to try to teach me how to use a comma (again)… Give me a break, I am a developer, commas mean very different things in my world.
Nothing Done Right is “Quick”
My point here is that nothing done right is done quick or fast when it comes to building a web site correctly. Over my many years in web development I can’t tell you how many calls and requests I have received from folks who want something done quickly. It’s always an organization that is launching a new services, product or even their company and are just now getting around to thinking about the website. Or maybe it’s not a planning issue but an issue of when branding and other visuals are completed. The problem: these things take time! It’s this amount of time that I am reminded of each and every time we redo our website.
The details, planning, the thousands of lines of code that literally must be perfect, the content that must be reviewed, the graphic elements that must be optimized and refined, the technology (i.e. setting the server(s), SSL security certificates, CDNs, etc.). Quite frankly there is no “right” way to do any of this fast.
The site you are looking at took about 2 months to build and deploy. Granted we were not working on it full time, we had to keep the lights on and pay attention to our clients (of course). But it’s that moment when the website is up and running, content is in and we say for the first time, “It’s ready for review” that I realize how hard these things really are. This is coming from a guy who has launched hundreds of websites over the better part of two decades. Just because the site is up and running and “ready for review” doesn’t mean you are any where close to launching it.
Mobile testing, browser compatibility, readability, content editing, site performance (speed), additional features like SSL and CDN all have to be setup, tested and worked on.
Anyway, I think it is good for me to play the ‘client’ every once and while and remind my self how these things really work. It’s not about slapping content in a template and calling it good but instead a ton of work of which it takes a dedicated team with dedicated time to get it right.
A special thanks to our developer Niki Sebastino who did 99% of the coding on this one as I played the role of the demanding client (she has lots of patience).