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Building a Website

Building a Website – What I’ve Learned the Hard Way

Posted in Marketing

Author: Cathy Baldwin

I am super excited and proud to announce that JM Wilson has a NEW Website! Shoot the cannon, spray the confetti and alert the presses. This is BIG!

Websites are at the top of my mind these days. And in my dreams and quite a few nightmares. As the Director of Marketing and Communication for JM Wilson, it is my responsibility to deliver our company’s website. In my 29 years here, I have successfully overseen the launch of two. This third one has had me in a fetal position under my desk a few times…..well near tears anyway.

I was originally going to write about the importance of having a website, so your customers can find you …Yada, yada, yada. But today, It isn’t even an option not to have a web presence. So my message instead is about recognizing when you have the capability to build your site or when you’re in over your head and it’s time to call in the big guns.

Good websites look pretty with sleek lines, few words, and enticing graphics. They have easy navigation so the user can find just what they are looking for. Good websites are an investment that is vital to the marketing efforts of any company. How hard could it be to build one for JM Wilson? 

This new website has been way too long in the making, but it didn’t have to be. I had staff who were talented in various areas to start us down the road and I naively thought we could tackle the job, I was wrong. This is what I learned the hard way and hope to impart to any business owner or marketing director tasked with building a new website.

1. Design and Build
What you see on the page is not what you see behind the curtain. The coding, the plug-ins, the HTML …I can speak a little Spanish but I can’t speak this web language. Building a website requires not only the creative minds and vision but also technical experts. Usually two TOTALLY different types of people.

2. Content
There is a massive amount of collaboration and countless meetings necessary to develop content and messaging…..and it is constantly changing. While this is one of the things we were able to handle within the team, it took a lot of work to get it right.

3. Leave it to the Pros
Don’t wait 4 years to hire professional website designers to do the job. Find sites you like and get ideas of how you want your site to function and navigate. Then, seek out website professionals who can work with your vision and within your budget. In our case, that was LKF Marketing.

4. Gather Feedback
So now we’ve launched, but the work can’t stop here. We think we got it right, but I’m sure there are things we’ve missed. What do our customers like about the new site? What could make it easier for them? We’ll be reaching out to know what the experience is like from their perspective.

5. Review the Stats
Likewise, we can use the tools that have been built to tell us what visitors are doing on our site. What pages are viewed most often? What pages are never seen? A website is always evolving and is never really finished.

If you haven’t visited the new JM Wilson site yet, please take a moment to check it out and let me know what you think. Getting it to this place has been a rollercoaster ride…..and I’m not much of a rollercoaster fan. However, it’s turned out to be something that has involved new ideas, continuous collaboration, and hard work by many talented people to accomplish, and I’m proud of the result.

Ta Da!

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