Here's how to get a website that never stops improving
The web changes impossibly fast these days. Google changes its search algorithm more than 600 times per year. Amazon queues up code changes to its network 50 million times a year. That's more than once per second. Customers' expectations change too quickly for static websites to stay effective.
This is why I've spent the past two years building Onward Studios into a new kind of website development service, one that embraces the way the modern web works and gives businesses the agility and performance they need to compete, even if they don't have large dedicated web marketing teams.
Why traditional web development fails its customers
Here's the problem with the traditional web development: it's based on best guesses. At the beginning of the development process you and the developer will use your expertise to list all of the things you might want in your new website. A good developer will get you thinking about your potential visitors and their journeys through the site. A great developer will test out ideas on real people and use their responses to improve the plan.
changing the fundamentals is so expensive and time-consuming that most companies won't even suggest it
The trouble is, all of this is just based on imagined or sample visitors. By the time the website is live and real people are using it, changing the fundamentals is so expensive and time-consuming that most companies won't even suggest it. Instead, they wait two years and then think about starting from scratch, hoping to get something better.
Part of the problem here is that development is so slow. From signing the contract to going live takes 3-6 months minimum, unless you're using a cheap Wordpress template (which you shouldn't, as it's insecure and damages your credibility > ). You'll be able to tweak the scope a little as you proceed, but there'll come a point where the developer has to stop changing the goalposts and start actually building. And that's when the guesswork that went into planning the site will start to show through.
So you've gone live and you start to see that your real visitors aren't using the site quite as you imagined. Maybe they're trying to search rather than go through the site's navigation. Maybe they're coming to read a blog post but not going on to explore the rest of your site. Maybe they're not able to find the answers they expected. Making changes at this point means going back to the developer and started another expensive and slow process to find out why things aren't working and how to put them right.
Your site won't be their concern once it's finished.
That's because developers will generally put your site live and then only provide technical support. Your site won't be their concern once it's finished. But of course, modern websites are never actually finished. That's why a new approach to web development is needed.
How to get a website that never stops improving
Onward Studios now offer a different approach: a monthly subscription with no upfront development cost, rapid launch and ongoing measurement and improvements based on your business goals.
FASTER TO LAUNCH: Our agile development process gets your launchpad site up and running in as few as six weeks. That means you start getting actual business benefit from your investment in less than half the time of traditional developers.
MONTHLY IMPROVEMENTS: With the site getting actual visitors, we can measure real-world data and use it to suggest monthly expansions and improvements to your sites. Whatever your current business goals are, your website will adapt to become better at achieving it, month after month, even when your priorities change.
PREDICTABLE COSTS: Rather than a large upfront development cost, our subscription lets you spread the cost of building and developing the site. And because your subscription includes all design, development, hosting, technical support and monthly improvement work, budgeting for your website becomes much, much simpler.
CREATE QUICKLY: Websites thrive on fresh content. It boosts them up search results and draws people to the site. Our sites are intelligently automated so you can spend your time creating, not fiddling. New news articles and blogs are easy to write using the on-page editor, and get automatically added to indexes, featured banners and navigation. They can even automatically post to social media at scheduled times over the next six months, saving your team loads of time.
ONGOING CONSULTANCY: Our interest in the success of your site is ongoing. Every month we hold an improvement call with you where we look at how well the site is achieving your business goals and suggest ways to improve it. And if you find yourself facing a new business challenge, we're always here to consult on your web marketing plans, all included in your subscription.
See how we could help your business thrive online
3. Write a daily list
I’ve found that working straight from my Trello list tends to end with me getting distracted by my other tasks. So every morning I look at my task list and write down (using pen and paper like some sort of caveman) the three vital tasks that I MUST do that day.
This has been far more effective than I expected.
By physically writing down your tasks, you start your brain engaging with them, and you’re left with a distraction-free list of work to do. Only once those vital things have been done do you go back to the master list. Or take a nap. Whatever takes your fancy.
4. Kill the distractions
We can’t multitask.
Really, we can’t. Our brains just won’t work that way. And the nearest we can get — rapidly switching between several tasks — leaves none of them getting done well. In fact, studies have shown that after switching tasks it can take our brains up to 20 minutes to settle in to proper work again.
And we can only concentrate for about 25 minutes. Seriously, our brains are rubbish at focussing on lots of things at once AND at focussing on one thing for a long time.
So, we work with what we’ve got, using this variant of the Pomodoro technique:
NOTE: The original Pomodoro technique says to do four 25 minute sessions then take a long break, but I’ve found it easier to concentrate when I take my long breaks between tasks. Your mileage may vary.
There are some more great tips for motivating yourself at work in this article from Toptal: