I like my work. Let me start by saying that. I love creating stuff, from scratch. First there is nothing, and hoppa! Then there is something! Wooohooo! And I have been doing this online since 1993 as a profession and I still enjoy it.
Well – to a certain extend.
By gathering a lot of experience in building media and web productions for clients, both negative and positive. I like working with clients, because, it allows me just to do some work. I don’t have to worry about the thinking part – which – from time to time – is very nice.
But I enjoy mostly building my own productions, being my own client. This usually brings me to new inventions and possibilities, that will then become available to my clients to.
In the past, many times my freedom in creating has been limited because people I had to rely on, simply refused to do something. And they had their own reasons – some perfectly sound – for that. But when I build something as my own production, those limitations cease to exist.
But running both kind of productions, for clients and myself, gave me the insight on some very broken production processes. And most of all, the ingredient that always is added to the mix: Chaos!
I am always plainly surprised how much money and time is lost – mostly by clients – by chaos. And I am pointing to chaos in one very easy location, and it could be easy annihilated.
My production process has three simple elements; concept-design-production. Nothing new. Nothing exceptional. Nothing that you don’t find anywhere else.
But, I own a couple of my own Content Management Systems that by now are in use with about a hundred sites. And these CMS systems have one thing in common; they require thinking and organizing the project before just bluntly creating content. Sure, that can be done too, but it is built to greatly reduce development time for content if you do. And I mean, a lot of time.
In my experience, by far the most man-hours for a web production is in the thought process of what the structure should be, then creating the content and finally, managing the content.
But, this seems to be an extremely hard nut to crack. Because almost all clients want to start with the content.
And, oh boy, this is usually the big red flag.
If you are a creative, you will remember back in the day, when you were still a child; inexperienced and new to this. It was the time when you started with the fun part – making it visible. And when you became more experienced, and more serious, you started to prepare, making sure that you did everything right to get a smooth production process.
If it is taking a photo with a camera that is perfectly fine-tuned to the lighting and subject conditions, an idea of what you are going to paint and in what mood, it is writing a story when you know your subject, and a basic outline of the begin, middle and end.
But the people who hire someone for building a website, usually are not experienced in building a website. That is even logical; otherwise they would not have to hire someone. And in my experience, they all listen to advice for the technical part. But, content, that is another thing.
Writing content – and I think any professional writer will agree – is like designing – people who have no experience with it, think always that they can do it too. But even then; writing is no content structuring, let alone content writing. It is really a job you need to sit down for, take some time, and make a simple diagram to see it come to life.
When you know what the structure of your site will be, you know how much content you need, what functionalities you will have, and in what tone of voice and direction your content should be written.
Voila. With 1-2 hours of work for a standard website, you’re done. Once you have a structure, any CMS system will allow you to set that structure up and work with dummy content until you know what to do.
But, alas, most clients do not want to do this. They do not take this 1-2 hours time, but start writing immediately in any chaotic direction. And then, when the puzzle pieces come together, they do not fit. The structure is changed, that makes the content wrong, gets clients to rethink everything, start rewriting, but then other content does not match…. and it goes on and on.
Sitting down, designing a simple site structure, can save thousands of dollars on a – say – $2,000 site. Yes, it might easily be a 100% extra expense if this structure is not designed. And this time is not in site development, but in rewriting, meetings, testing, reorganizing.
So, just save yourself a lot of money if you want to have a site built; make sure you have everything in order even before you start recruiting a team to build it for you.