Allocate Funds for Website Maintenance, Not Just the Initial Project
In answering RFPs and responding to customer inquiries, I find that customers are still latched onto the idea that building a website is just a project -- something that needs to be refreshed every three years.
This way of thinking simply doesn’t cut it.
A more agile approach is necessary. One that is proactive, not reactive. One that doesn’t just throw money at an issue and hope for the best.
We believe in continuous optimization of your online presence.
This is a topic we have touched on before, and something we will continue to discuss because we see real value in the approach.
Roland Benedetti wrote a great blog post on the topic of managing a website as a product and not as a project. This article summarizes what it means to find success by changing the way a website presence is organized and run.
Our business model consists of a flat annual subscription fee and is designed for ongoing improvement. This is in stark contrast to a licensed-based model, where big costs up front can jeopardize a project from the onset.
It is also much more aligned with an agile approach and our vision for continuous optimization. In reality, I still see too many projects that are top heavy -- funded up front and not geared towards long-term success.
It is difficult to predict the future, but organizations should still prepare for it. This means having money and resources in place for after the initial project is launched.
A successful digital presence requires continuous improvement, which takes solid tools and technology, but also manpower to execute. This is why it is critical that funding should be in place for the long run and not just the initial phase of the project.
The Impact of Performance
The performance of your site, or load time, has a tendency to be forgotten in the insanity that is the digital world. But nevertheless it is ultimately one of the most critical aspects of your website.
In many projects, we see that performance is taken seriously, but only when launching the first version. And as time moves on, site performance tends to have a downward trajectory. You need to keep in mind that, much like added features, performance requires continuous optimization.
As you develop your site, you should always have performance at the front of your mind.
Speed Impacts Usability
A website that responds quickly, will obviously provide users with a better user experience. In the book, “Usability Engineering,” by Jakob Nielsen from 1993 it’s stated that the time limit for a user interface to feel like it is reacting instantaneously is 0.1 seconds.
That is not a lot of time when we are talking about presenting the visitor of a website with a ready rendered page.
It used to be that bandwidth put limitations on the speed of the web. Today, bandwidth is not so much of an issue anymore, yet many websites are still sluggish.
Today, complexity and cluttered interfaces are often at fault. Luckily, there is a trend in the UI world that calls for simple yet functional design.
Site Speed Affects Search Ranking
If there is another reason to continuously optimize your site for better performance, search is it.
Did you know Google will rank your site better if it has a fast site speed? “Site speed reflects how quickly a website responds to web requests,” according to Google, not necessarily a site’s ability to quickly render a page. And even though the impact on search ranking of a site’s ability to quickly render a page is up for debate, it remains clear that a faster site leads to happier visitors. Google has conducted several studies that revealed that the slower your site, the less time users will spend on it.
Many people are unaware of this stated fact by Google. Much effort is placed in SEO optimization, but too often we see website performance being under prioritized.
Better Performance Leads to More Traffic
By simply improving the performance of your site by all means, on both the server and client side, you can help increase traffic and create happier users.
So when thinking about your next project, don’t just think about the launch. Spend time focusing on building things through continuity, from developing and optimizing features and performance to having solid plan to fund your site for the long haul.
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