Search “why do I need a website” on Google, and you’ll get 517,000,000 results full of great reasons. But you know what’s missing?
An answer to the #1 most important question you can ask about owning a website: Does it make my life easier?
That might sound weird, because for most people websites are a huge pain. All the plugins, bugs, and updating can make it feel like you’re working for your website, not the other way around.
This, my friends, is the difference between a “website” and a “hard-working website”.
Why should I care?
When I first started making websites, I offered hosting and ongoing support because it seemed like common sense… if I built the website, I’m the best person to manage it.
I quickly learned this is NOT normal. In fact, most developers will finalize a project, and say, “see ya later.” That’s totally fine, assuming you’re a large corporation with lots of internal resources.
But for small businesses and nonprofits, a disappearing developer often leaves behind a mound of responsibility. The question is… do you want to spend your time trying to figure out what “call to undefined function” means? No, you really don’t.
What makes a hard-working website?
Because I prefer long-term working relationships, it’s in my best interest to build websites that make life easy—for my clients, for users, and for myself.
This means adding smart functionality, like automatically displaying Facebook events or grabbing business hours straight from Google, which saves everyone from doing unnecessary grunt work. It also means building a website that is “scalable”—i.e., easy to edit and improve as your business needs or goals grow.
I love talking strategy with my clients because a well-planned, hard-working website can turn daunting feature additions into a matter of “sure, just give me half an hour!”
5 ways to tell if you have hard-working website…
We’re used to looking at our own website and thinking, “this looks good” (or not good). But if you want to figure out if your site is effective—if it’s a hard-working website—give these questions a shot.
1. Am I drowning in grunt work? If you find yourself doing repetitive, mindless tasks on your website (like manually updating plugins), that’s NOT OK. There is almost certainly a way to automate the day-to-day BS.
2. Am I putting in a lot of effort with no results? It might feel like you’re doing everything “right,” but often a good designer or developer can pinpoint key issues that are turning your website into a financial black hole.
3. Do updates or edits cost way too much? This could be a sign that your website is disorganized and/or inflexible. A developer or team member who has to deal with messy code and feature limitations will take much longer to make updates.
4. Are simple tasks frustrating or unintuitive? I hear people complain about their website platforms all the time, like, “WordPress is hard to use!” The problem isn’t Wordpress… it’s the person who set up your WordPress site. Even a Steinway piano will sound terrible if it’s not tuned properly!
5. Are you wasting valuable time troubleshooting bugs? Two thoughts. First, it’s likely your site is outdated. Second, these things do happen, and it’s probably worth it to invest in an experienced developer who can solve tech problems 100 times faster than you and Google can.