Weblinx, Incorporated

Myth #5: Web Design Is a Sprint Activity

As a business owner, the decision to spend money on a new website can be difficult. But once you determine that the benefits will outweigh the costs, and that the ROI will be significant, you’ll probably swallow hard, sign a contract, and hope to see progress as quickly as possible.

That’s an entirely natural response. Not only do the clients of our creative agency want us to work as quickly as possible, but they sometimes offer to pay extra in order to speed things up. The reasoning is pretty straightforward: the faster they can get their website, the quicker they can start enjoying the results.

This line of thinking makes some sense. It’s why you see template web design companies tout the fact that they can get you online “within hours.” Additionally, there is a precedent in the tech world of moving through projects at breakneck speed. Many software companies, for instance, will do “sprints” where everyone works round-the-clock toward a short-term goal to get a product, app, or update to market as rapidly as possible.

fast web design myth

In certain instances you could probably build a company’s web presence this way. Really, though, web design isn’t a sprint activity. Nor should it be. In this article we’ll explain why.

You Don’t Want an Instant Website

Obviously, if you had the choice between getting your perfect website today or one month from today you would choose immediate delivery. But that’s not usually the choice that’s in front of you. A more realistic dilemma is getting one that’s almost right for your business in a few weeks, or spending three months to get what you really need.

There are lots of reasons that rushing the website design process is a bad idea. Even though it won’t necessarily take a team of experienced artists and programmers that much time to put your pages together, they do need to understand your business and audience. They also have to get to know your market, your competitors, and your preferences. All of this takes place during the discovery phase, which can easily last a couple weeks.

Similarly, it takes time to create mockups, get client feedback, and then submit new revisions. Likewise, you shouldn’t work with a web designer who doesn’t want to test apps or programming that will be used. None of these steps has to entail lengthy delays, but they are all crucial to achieving the right end product.

There are things your web design and development team can do to get you online faster. However, you should remember that there are limits. As the old saying goes, nine women can’t make a baby in a month.

If you’re spending enough money to get a professional and functional website, then also devote the time it takes to get things right. It can be inconvenient and annoying to sit back and wait for a new version or testing result, but ultimately this process is about ensuring the profitability of your business for years to come. Instant solutions aren’t as valuable as long-term results.

Embrace Edits, Revisions, and Course Corrections

If you can accept the idea that it’s going to take a little bit of time to develop your website, then you’ll find it easier to move through the back-and-forth communications that will follow. This is a part of the process where clients can sometimes become frustrated or impatient, but it’s absolutely crucial for the reasons we’ve already given.

Remember, the job of your creative team is to give you the website you want and need for your business, not to simply plug in images and apps as quickly as they can. They’ll want to know what you think of their work, and more importantly, how they can better tailor it to your organization. If you can remain active and engaged, then you’ll have a much better chance of getting something that helps you win new customers through the internet.

Occasionally, we meet with business owners who try to rush through edits and revisions. They’ll tell us that what we’ve done is “good enough,” simply so they can move on. That’s fine for our team, of course, but is it really giving the client our very best value? We would rather put in an extra few days of work and have things be perfect. After all, if we don’t, the client is likely to come back and ask us to make bigger changes later. In the long run that just ends up costing more time and money than if we had simply had a longer discussion in the beginning.

If you want your web design project to be successful, you need to be open to giving and receiving changes in direction. Your opinion should never be set in stone, but neither should you hold it back. Rather than expecting speed or perfection, treat the whole project as a series of ongoing alterations that will ultimately lead you in the right direction.

Your Website Won’t Ever Be “Finished”

If you’re looking for another reason to be (at least slightly) patient with the development of your website, I’ll give you a great one: your site won’t ever actually be finished.

Don’t get us wrong. At some point you’ll approve the work your creative team has done and they’ll get your website published to the internet where customers can see it. At that point it will be live, but it won’t be finished.

There are a couple of reasons for this. In the immediate sense, you have to recognize that there might be little things that only creep up once you have actual buyers roaming through your HTML. Maybe a link won’t work correctly, or a certain page won’t look right on the newest Android device. It doesn’t matter how much you obsess over design and development; these things happen because the internet is always changing.

In a bigger sense, your website shouldn’t ever be finished because you should always be adding and tweaking pages through your content management system (or CMS). That’s the software you use to update text and images, along with other items on your website.

In the same way that web browsers, software, and competitors are always bringing external change, your company and its customers will evolve over time, as well. You might change products or pricing. You could lose some team members or gain others. You might just decide that your marketing tone needs to shift a bit as your company grows.

These are all simple, everyday examples of drift in your business. They will seldom be major enough that you need a whole new website, but they could require you to rewrite content, switch the apps you are using, or make other edits to your site and strategy. That can only happen if you take your time at the front end and get the kind of versatile, expandable design you need from the beginning.

Web Design Can Be Done in Stages

Having (hopefully) made the point that you shouldn’t rush web design or treat it as a sprint activity, let’s take a moment to examine the other side of the story. While you shouldn’t pressure your development team to take shortcuts, you can get your new site published quickly.

How does that work? It starts with a scaled-down version of your new web presence.

Every once in a while, we meet with a client who has waited so long to upgrade their website that they are losing customers, reputation, and money. These are the folks who need quick answers. Naturally, we refuse to speed up the web design and development process. As we hope you understand by now, that’s a false efficiency that leads to bigger problems later.

What we will do, though, is work on a first draft of their upgraded website that has a better-looking layout. This initial version might lack a lot of features that will be integrated later on, but it’s something that they can use as a short-term solution while we tackle the bigger challenges.

This approach can be ideal when a client wants their website done both quickly and correctly. It also helps them think about the growth and revision process that should follow as their company evolves. That’s because you can think of any website as a step on the road to something bigger and more functional.

If you have ten pages of content now, then you might want twenty in the future. If the current goal of your website is to collect leads through email, then perhaps you’ll install online demos and other qualifying features down the road so that those new incoming leads are further along in the buying cycle. You might eventually incorporate online videos, live reviews, international ecommerce, or dozens of other features.

Because your website is never finished, it doesn’t have to be launched all at once. Once you understand that philosophy as a marketer, you open up all kinds of possibilities for what can come next.

Great Web Design Is About Outcomes

The longer you work in business – or any other organization, we suspect – the more you learn about patience. Consistent and concentrated effort is always necessary, but you should never rush through planning if it’s going to affect long-term results later.

To put this in simpler terms, your goal isn’t to get a website. Your goal is to use the internet to grow your business. Your website is the most important part of that strategy. Ignoring details to get it built faster might save you a few weeks, but it could cost you hundreds of thousands in missing revenue.