2018 kicks off with the launch of our brand new website
In this post, I’ll take you behind the scenes of our website redevelopment, and share 5 lessons learned from this massive undertaking.
In early 2016, I considered revamping our website. I’m a pragmatist at heart, and I don’t enjoy spending money on unnecessary things.
As much as I wanted a new site, I wasn’t convinced it was necessary.
At the time, podcast producer Adrianne (also a pragmatist) told me she felt we could “limp ahead” with the site we had, provided we make some minor updates, so that’s what we did.
Along the way, many people told me they felt creating a new website was a big priority for the company. I heard them, I agreed that I wanted a new website, but I held off making the investment.
Over the course of the following two years, our business grew by more than 300%. This brings me to:
Behind the Scenes of Our Website Launch Lesson #1:
You can accomplish a GREAT DEAL with a mediocre website.
In fact, creating a brand new website can be a powerful distraction from doing the necessary work that actually grows a business, i.e. talking to customers and making powerful offers to work together.
I know the unique type of agony that is website shame…I felt minor website shame for 2 years AND didn’t use it as an excuse to stop growing the company.
In the fall I met with my coach and she said to me, “Eleanor, honey, the purple butterflies [i.e. my old branding] have got to go.” She went on to share that my brand and business had evolved so far beyond my existing website that it was now hurting my business.
Whereas before, the idea of redesigning my site was a “nice to have”, I realized that now, a new website was a “must have.”
Which brings me to:
Behind the Scenes of Our Website Launch Lesson #2:
Embrace “Just in Time Problem Solving.”
In the 1940s, a Japanese executive developed the concept of “Just in Time” inventory for Toyota. Just in Time Inventory allows a company to drastically cut costs because it only buys and store inventory as it is consumed — so you don’t have to lay out big sums of cash for inventory you won’t need for weeks or months.
Just in time inventory revolutionized the manufacturing process.
Similarly, Just In Time problem solving can revolutionize your life and business. If there’s one area that my clients get stuck it’s in worrying about problems they don’t have yet.
We chose to NOT rebrand our website until the site actually became a problem. This allowed us to use the thousands of dollars we would have invested to update the website on sales and marketing initiatives that — unlike a website — actually brought us clients and revenue.
One of the reasons I wanted to hold off on redesigning my website was that I knew the project would be a large undertaking, and require a team of people to complete.
And as extroverted as I am, I have a tendency to avoid meetings.
I chalk this up to my late dad, an economics professor who loved to say that “the best way to get nothing done was to have a meeting about it.”
But for this project, I went against my dad’s advice, which brings me to
Behind the Scenes of Our Website Launch Lesson #3:
Hold a powerful kick-off meeting.
In November, we hosted a 90-minute in-person meeting for our internal team as well as the website team I hired to help us create a site that slayed. Specifically, branding genius Brittany, web development lord Jean, and copywriting queen Kate.
During that meeting, we covered the following agenda:
- Who are our audiences for this website and what information do they need?
- What are the important “content buckets”/architecture for the site?
- Who is in charge of what?
- How do we launch our site on January 1, 2018?
We conceived, created and launched a gorgeous website in record time, and I know that — contrary to my father’s joking advice — having a powerful, focused kick-off meeting was an important step.
One of the things that surprised me in creating my new site was how often I felt like defending my old one…which brings me to
Behind the Scenes of Our Website Launch Lesson #4:
Don’t take it personally when other people kill your darlings.
I created my old website with Jean in 2011-ish. I wrote the copy, I envisioned the site and was intimately involved in the entire project. And as I said earlier, the site was the online anchor for significant business growth.
So when the new site was built and our team members laughed about how it was such a huge improvement and so much better than what we had….I would silently freak on the inside.
It’s funny to me (now) to see how personally I took their feedback on my old website…especially because I knew they were right.
The old one simply had to go.
And the new one was a dramatic improvement over the older version.
But the truth is, I felt an enormous amount of gratitude to my old website for seeing me through a period of profound personal and professional growth. And in the website reiteration process, that gratitude and affection devolved into a surprising defensiveness.
And as much as I kept that defensiveness to myself (for the most part…I think, lol), I’ll be prepared for it next time I say goodbye to an old expression of myself or my business.
The irony is that as much as I was personally invested and involved in my previous website, our new website was a hands-off process for me. Which brings me to:
Behind the Scenes of Our Website Launch Lesson #5
The solution to staying out of the weeds is to coach your team.
Operations Manager Kelly had overall responsibility for managing this project. I set the vision, clarified my intentions, facilitated the kick-off meeting and provided feedback. But she ran the project.
Which meant that the website — a truly massive undertaking, was in fact super easy for me personally.
I coached Kelly through my own project management process — a conversation that took about 20 minutes, and then she had what she needed to run the point position.
There you have it — 5 lessons from launching our brand new website.
If you’ve got some big projects you’re undertaking this year and you’d like my guidance or mentorship along the way, apply here for a complimentary consult with our advancement coach. These powerful sessions are intended to help you get clear on your vision, identify the roadblocks, outline a powerful next move, and lay out some options for how I can help. Apply here.
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