Homepage Design: “I’ll just quickly make a new homepage….”
Today I would like to amuse you with a small, fun story about my current homepage design and/or relaunch – as this story has kept me engaged these last few month’s day in and day out, I thought, I’ll let you a share in it. It is a piece (Drama!) in 3 acts.
Homepage Design – Act 1: The initial situation
The www.businessmind.at homepage was completely obsolete: no less than 4 years old!!! That’s simply not done. Or so I was told. A digital fossil. I have to admit, I was not aware of the “atrocities”, not on this massive scale ☺:
– Not “responsive”, i.e. it does not adapt to different wwwices (mobile wwwices – you never stop learning…).
– Not search engine optimised (= SEO – Search Engine Optimisation), i.e. my homepage does not contain the relevant keywords – relevant for my services – and can therefore not be found by Google search queries (stupid).
– The CMS (Content Management System) was where I reached my limit and could no longer adequately present my – now extended and at the same time focused – product portfolio about “Training”, and “Moderation” clearly readable.
– Well, and the photos were outdated too… did I not only got wiser, but also older???☺
And -as you can see- I’ve also learned a few technical terms ☺!
So, no time to waste. I will quickly make a new homepage!
Take some new photos, update a few articles, and change the structure a bit … voilá! And it is reborn. And I already knew Word press, a new CMS, through my blogging experience … so, it can’t be that difficult.
Homepage design -Act 2: The relaunch
Good, or so I thought in my homepage creation naivety.
But I had counted my chickens before they had hatched or rather my homepage designer and my programmer, who had launched the first homepage. I’d rather not go into any more detail where these two gentlemen are concerned. – Lesson learned: I should have listened to my gut, which whispered to me: “Find someone else!”
But I wanted to avoid transaction costs, meaning: looking for someone new, get offers and make comparisons, have many conversations, etc. : “Phew, tedious” I thought. In hindsight, it is clear that the effort would have been worth it and my nerves would have been spared. Keep in mind: Start in mid November 2013, relaunch July 1, 2014!
I recognised much too late that this was not workings. Therefore, about 3 weeks before the relaunch, I had to make a homepage designer switch. A coincidence brought me to Harald Sturm (https://www.nextgenerationmedia.eu/), I already knew him from my youth in Schärding. Harald is an experienced communications professional specialising in Content Marketing and creating websites). He also schooled me on SEO matters so that I am now able to take care of that myself. Finally, project web relaunch could get under way.
His programmer and my namesake Birgit is also brilliant, she had to quickly think her way into the existing structure and programming codes. She finished the extensive, outstanding work within a very short space of time with a lot of commitment and professionalism. We communicated for hours via Skype during the final stretch, for me it was just reassuring to know: there is someone, who cares about my deadline and who works accurately.
On the evening before we went online and the whole night before until morning the provider had problems, very fitting, which meant that the system was just super slow and both my work and Brigit’s could only be carried out at a snail’s pace. But, hooray, and we got it in the end!
Homepage Design – Act 3: The learnings
To make a long story short let’s talk about the learnings:
– Trust your gut! If that is unnerving to you, don’t be afraid of the transaction costs! The hours you pointlessly waste afterwards are far too high if you don’t draw the right conclusions early on!
– Question the programmer’s skills, especially in relation to a CMS, WordPress in my case! A homepage relaunch is not a minor case! And find someone who asks questions and wants to have any necessary information from an early stage. Me as a lay woman simply can’t know everything what is required and at what time.
– Hire someone who does this full-time and has references! Your concerns are rarely on the same priority level when the person does this part-time.
– Ask if html knowledge is required for the content that needs to be filled in! Fortunately, the eager student I had hired for the text entry had basic knowledge. Because no one had told me that this was necessary.
– Familiarise yourself with your CMS, in this case WordPress! Because without any idea how it works, you can’t get by.
– Think about the structure and the graphic components of your homepage from the beginning and discuss this with all the parties involved, during a joint meeting! Every little change can lead to a mountain of work in the CMS, in this case WordPress, which can lead to additional time spend.
Harald Sturm says: “Webpage creation follows the strategy and not vice versa. The most common mistake is that too little time is invested in strategy and planning. Programmers implement too fast. In construction no one will start building the walls, without a detailed plan. My recommendation: an optimum communications start and plan always saves budget.”
Whatever the reason, I have annoyed myself and invested much unnecessary time, but I also learned a lot (as well as a few things, which I really didn’t want to know ☺).
I hope I will not lose my senior project manager certification after this project disaster ☺. Because I did NOT define a Project for this Herculean task! I actually should have known better!
At this point, once again a big thank you to Harald and Birgit (https://www.nextgenerationmedia.eu/), who have made this possible. And who I would highly recommend and to all the wonderful helpers with their good tips and feedback.
And if YOU ever build new homepage: please don’t make the same mistakes and take the above mentioned learnings into account! I wish you good luck and hope for your feedback!