What is the difference between a WordPress project that succeeds and one that does not? What makes one business successful online while others struggle? In this blog post I share my thoughts after many years building and launching websites for business large and small.
In our years of building Building WordPress sites we’ve seen our share of failed projects. Happily though we’ve seen many many projects fulfill or surpass initial expectations.
The single factor that makes or breaks a website project, I believe, is the attitude and expectation of the business owner towards the website.
Let me explain. (Just bear with me on this one, it’s such an important point that I’m making I want to draw on an example).
Mary and John are starting a new business. A florist which they’ll setup in their local suburb. They scout around until the find an ideal location. They’re lucky enough to get into a retail building on a busy shopping strip. The rent will be a little more but the exposure will be worth it.
They put their savings together and have enough to do a great looking shop fit out. They’ve got display cabinets for their flower arrangements, bench tops to display their variety of gifts and a welcoming point of sale station.
John’s friend is a graphic designer who’s offered to do artwork for the signage. This means they’ve saved some dollars there but the production of the signs was still expensive. Mary has a friend in the city council and together they’ve organised for the shop to use some of the footpath. This enables them to have their flowers sitting outside the shop front to attract the attention of passers by.
In total they have to spend $15,000 on the shop before opening day.
Finally the first day arrives and the shop is open. Both Mary and John invite all of their friends. Everyone agrees it looks amazing. Stunning flowers fill every corner, and the variety of colours and skilful arrangements demonstrate that these guys really know their trade.
After their friends leave, the flowers outside on display do a great job of attracting customers into the store. At the end of the first week both Mary and John are very happy with progress.
The following week though, things start to change.
Mary does not have time to replenish the arrangements on the footpath. They both have other commitments and on Wednesday and Thursday they can’t man the shop so it stays closed.
Friday they open but only John can make it. Mary sends along her friend Michelle in her place. While John picked up fresh flowers at the market Michelle has never worked in a florist so she’s unable to make the arrangements look as good.
It’s obvious, you can’t spend all the money on the setup and then do nothing.
Let’s pull together the comparison.
You spend money on the signage and the fit out of the shop, just as you do when building your website right?
You plan: “If a customer comes in the front door I want them to see our signature arrangements so we’ll put them on this table here”. This is no different to “let’s have a big button titled ‘our products’ on the top of the website so a user can easily visit the product section”.
Extras like the arrangement with the council to have your product on the footpath, are no different from getting your team to all write some new blog posts for the website launch. Content that will get indexed by the search engine and bring users into your website.
Prior to the launch, everything had to be perfect, every flower (read: every pixel) had to be just right. Why then is it ok a week later to have someone lesser throwing up sub-standard content on your website? Or worse still to have no new content at all on your website?
The answer to all these questions is simple: It’s not ok.
After the site is launched, you can’t stop turning up to work!
Earlier I made the point that I believe it is the attitude and expectation of the business owner towards the website that makes or breaks a website. If you believe that you can build a website, launch it and then do nothing you’re destined to fail.
A successful website project is backed by people who know that the build is just the beginning.
We believe strongly in this slogan:
Make launch day the first day of your website project – not the last
…so much so that we use that as one of our key messages over at Assistant Press, our digital marketing training program for WordPress users.
Things are going to change, and adjustments will need to be done in response to how the site fares with real people interacting with it. New content needs to be added and visitors will have questions that need to be answered. All of this should be seen as an integral part of the project. Right up there alongside the graphic design and the functional layout of the website.
Hope you’ve enjoyed the thoughts, best of luck in your WordPress project!