Where to start with this…
I really don’t like doing web work. I would love to outsource this task but I have found it impossible. Maybe I’ll bitch for a while and it will be helpful. Then we can move on.
Websites are an artistic endeavor. It’s not a comfortable place for me. Not because I’m not artisting. I believe I am in my own way. It’s because websites are both artistic and public which opens you to the inevitable criticism of your style choices, functionality and content.
Critics are always annoying but for whatever deep seated psychological reason I’m highly susceptible to them, the bastards. In reality there’s a lot more people who don’t care than there are critics and even then, why should I care what they think. In reality I’m fighting the ghosts in my own head, that I created.
Webwork is a new discipline and you need to take time to understand the medium and debug. Finding many unbroken hours to learn is difficult.
Somewhere, out there, there’s a “right way” to do a website. If you don’t do them for a living, you don’t really know what that “right way” is and knowing something is not tuned to perfection grates on my soul.
Everyone seems to have a 14 year old nephew who “does web sites”. It makes certain execs wonder why they are paying $4000 for a website when they can be done by any cheese eating high school boy.
The exec isn’t exactly wrong, most of the people you find as web consultants are downsized former corporate something-or-others who are trying to make a go of it in the service industry. Even when they work in an official, respected marketing house they still seem to be disposable and interchangeable. It’s not the high art of Picasso, it’s the art you’d find in the production section of the local sign shop.
Hiring a web consultant doesn’t diminish the work. They can build the structure but they need the “creative” handed to them. That means someone in your company needs to get them the content they have to put up on the web. Considering this is already built and has a certain style to it, it makes you wonder what, exactly you are getting from your web consultant.
Furthermore, being responsible for the “creative” content makes you the weakest link. I can’t tell you how many website projects took a year, not because the consultant was slow, but because the content that needed to be put up online took FOREVER to get, and get into the hands of the web consultant.
I tried outsourcing the website responsibilities. I swear I did. It never worked like I wanted it to. Some of it was purely lost in translation. I couldn’t explain myself and have the outcome be what I was expecting. I don’t believe more words would have helped, or writing (which I tried) or even pictures which I definitely sketched out.
For the record, I’m not hard to please artistically. In fact, quite the opposite. What I wanted was “best practices” in a website. Ease of use with a little style and panache. I was willing to take the word of anyone who knew what they were doing better than me. In the end, nobody could give me that feeling like they freaking had me covered and the output was going to do what I needed.
The ultimate conclusion I came to was that if I wanted the job done, I’d have to do it myself. I needed to cowboy up, put on my big-boy pants, and crank it out like a man. Or something like that…
So let’s talk about websites.
- Background. Hosts, Platforms, Themes, IFrame, Plugins, Third Party Software
- Nobody cares about your website, you should care less, a lot less.
- What functionality looks like.
- How you know what you’re doing is working (or not)