My girlfriend has been exercising with the help of Julian Michaels the last several months, and her results have been awesome. As I am practicing my own Guitar Aerobics, with vast improvement, I’ve over-heard Julian yell to my girlfriend several times as she re-watches a certain video, “Perfect is boring. Perfect sucks”.
Many yearn for it. Our education system brainwashes us with it. Our employers and clients expect it. The truth is, “perfect” is a subjective and terrible goal.
I’ve seen hundreds of websites launch. Some taking as long as three years or more to successfully launch. From the moment the contract’s ink dries to publication in an industry as fickle and constantly evolving as website development, crafting the “perfect website” is rarely worth the time, expense, emotion, and distracts from the primary objective.
Instead, start small, focus on what is truly essential, and improve on what you have incrementally. A valuable website is always evolving, and therefore, is never “done.”
When building any website or application, start small. If your website will be brand new, you don’t need dozens of pages. Nope. Here are the basics of what you need:
All of those can be answered in just a few pages:
- Descriptive but short homepage
- About page
- Contact page
That is all you need to start your website. Have it proof-read, launch it, and print the business cards. Starting small also might relieve some pressure of launching a site and getting back to business. It can also help get some basic aspects of SEO started too.
I didn’t follow my own advice
Despite seeing so many websites struggle to go live over the years, I had to look in the mirror. I also took too long trying to launch my own website and re-start my own personal brand.
Predominately, I spent WAY too long trying to get the search feature that I wanted. Too many long days finding a method, getting it to work, kinda, or at least in a fashion that wasn’t satisfactory to me.
Because I failed so many times, it discouraged me from moving along in developing my website, and growing my personal brand.
When I did follow my own advice
Finally, I had realized I didn’t need certain features on my website’s initial release.
The first one was an expandable search bar in the navigation mentioned above. Why? I went back to following my own advice: Start small and improve incrementally. Why did I want it initially? Search features are important to growing websites, and an expandable search bar looks cool. Something looking cool and being a functional attribute are two different things.
Next, my website was small. Just a few pages. If I launch my website with just a home page, about page, and contact page, why would I need search functionality? Therefore, the search bar was removed from my initial release.
I also didn’t include a blog. Why? I didn’t have any posts written yet. I didn’t need a section on my homepage. I spent too long creating a section of my homepage that would display my most recent blog posts. It looked pretty cool. The problem, I didn’t have anything worthy of publication, yet.
So got back to the basics: who am I, what I do, where and how to contact me, and when to expect a response. Therefore, I unpublished my blog page and removed that section from my website.
The website was finally launched successfully. I’m quite proud of it, especially because it’s light-weight, fast, simple to the point, and portrays the values that I wish to project about my talents and experience. It’s not flashy — it’s functional. It leverages some features I’ve never truly had a chance to use in the past, as well as deploy processes and concepts that I’ve learned at my day job.
Some product development companies have been using SCRUM and similar processes to build and improve products and applications for the last few decades. Instead of building one “perfect” product release, a minimal viable product would be produced. Little-by-little that product would be continuously improved. Teams would collect bugs and new features, decide on which ones to develop, test those changes, and then deploy the a new release before starting the next so-called “sprint.” I admit that’s a very lay-persons version of the process, but simple enough for this example.
Now that my own website is launched, I’ll be writing more blog posts and deploying that
super-cool super-functional blog post section on the homepage. I’ll even be following my own content schedule to ensure I’ll have reasonable amount of content published in a reasonable amount of time. Most of all, I’ll have a website that promotes me and expresses my talents. I’ll also be adding some improvements overtime. But just a few improvements overtime, tested rigorously in an development environment.
One of those improvements of late is a working expandable search bar in the navigation, finally:
It truly is the little things.