Thursday. Yes, this Thursday. The big day! My wonderful fiancé and I will finally get to put the months of stress behind us and start looking towards the future.
This is after months of back and forth with family, friends, and venues. After countless hours of chasing said family and friends as to whether they’ll be coming. The struggles of finding the perfect rings. And, despite the roadblocks that constantly cropped up, we’re on the home stretch.
If anything goes wrong now, it’s too bad. It’ll just have to happen!
None of that sounds really “website-y” though, right? You’d be surprised! Let’s take a look at the five ways getting a new website will be just like planning a wedding.
1. Where will everything happen?
For a wedding, this is your venue. For your website, this is the server it will run on.
This may seem like a stupid comparison, but the server your website runs on is just as important as a wedding venue.
If you’re already married or are currently planning your wedding, you can probably relate to the stress of finding the perfect venue. “Will it be able to fit all of our guests?” is one of the biggest concerns, promptly followed by “Will everyone be able to get there?”.
For our wedding, we have one side of the family coming from abroad. While a cosy place in the Scottish Highlands would have been great, there would have been little hotel space for them to book, alongside a lack of connections to an airport.
When it comes to the website, you don’t have guests to worry about, but you do have users.
You could host your website on a server inside your office. It may be great for you as you have complete control over the site but, for your users, it won’t be as good. The server speed is unlikely to match that of a reputable hosting provider.
The connection speed, and how fast pages/images will load, will be limited by the office’s internet speed.
Furthermore, the cost of hosting the server may run much higher than having an external company host the site, as you will be paying the cost of electricity, server maintenance, cooling for the server, and so on.
Or you could choose to have an external company host your website. These companies will have:
- Much faster speeds than anything you could host in your office
- Dedicated maintenance teams should the server go down
- Much higher connection speeds.
The trade-off will be that you will have less control over the hardware the server runs on.
2. When will everything happen, and do you have enough time?
Building a website comes in multiple stages. First, the website is designed, then any amends to the design are made.
Then, it is developed. Following any amends to the website being made, it is finally set live wherever you choose to host it.
But when do you do these things? Is there a specific date you need it to be live for? Do you need to wait for another prerequisite to be completed first, such as new branding, or do you wish for the site to be finished ASAP?
These questions, along with many others, need to be asked at each stage of the process.
If you want to be able to view the website on Monday, and have it live by Friday, are you able to go through the site and make/request your amends in that time period?
When we were planning our wedding, the date was set in stone from the get-go. 28 September was the day we first started talking to each other, it was the day we got engaged, and we wanted it to be the day we got married.
So, all of the other things had to revolve around that date. We needed to get the venue sorted by the end of February at the latest so that we could send out invitations and give everyone ample time to plan around the day.
We had to sort out what we were going to wear, plan what meals would be available, and lots more. And, due to complications with the venue we chose that arose in March, we didn’t have our venue sorted until June.
I can now tell you that we didn’t give ourselves enough time. This same situation happens all the time with websites too!
You’re going to launch tomorrow, but your CEO decides that they don’t want any stock imagery on the site, or you’re still waiting on photoshoots for half of your staff.
If the deadline is set in stone, you have to plan in advance for these sorts of issues. For example, you may say something along the lines of “We want to go live on 1 November. So, we’ll get team photography done in September, just in case the photographer takes a month to send the images over.”
3. What sort of vibe do you want to give off?
Much to the upset of my deeply Catholic in-laws-to-be, we won’t be getting married in a church of any kind.
This was the one absolute rule my fiancé and I could both agree on when we were picking out the venue. Neither of us is religious, and with the few religious people on my side of the family being Protestant, it would have caused an issue with one side of the family, no matter what we did.
So, we ended up with an extremely casual, non-traditional, but very “us” venue. We dropped the usual suits and dresses for fancy dress attire, with the hope that the day would be a fun day for everyone to try and get to know each other (even if they can’t understand each other).
The same sorts of considerations need to be made when planning your website. Are you trying to target a younger audience or an older one? Do you have clients across the globe? The vibe your website gives off can make the difference between a random visitor to your website becoming a lead, and then potentially a client, or someone who has a quick look and never returns.
Whether it’s background images or fancy graphs, the way you present certain aspects of your website can have a drastic effect on how people feel about the website, and your business as a whole.
Fill it with tonnes of charts and numbers, and someone looking for basic financial planning or advice may feel you’re too “corporate” for them. Whereas, if you use a lot of British terminology but also offer services to people living abroad, they may leave the site assuming you only deal with Brits.
4. Do you want to be different?
Do you ever look through your competitors’ websites and think: “These are all the same with a different coat of paint?”.
Why would you want your visitors to think the same when visiting your website? Instead, you want them to remember your site so, even if they are shopping around, your website sticks around in their mind.
As mentioned, we’re not having a traditional wedding in any sense. We’re having a day to remember! It will be a bit of a nerdy day, and some of the family probably won’t enjoy it, but we hope that it will stand out in their mind amongst the myriad of white dresses and churches or stately homes.
So, whether it’s videos, colours, unique animations, use of more friendly language, use whatever you can think of to make your website stand out from the crowd. Don’t be afraid to be different!
Make your website the one that everyone remembers.
5. What can I do to experiment?
No matter what stage your website is in: whether it’s the early stages of the design, or a few years since your website has been made live, a bit of experimentation can make the world of difference.
It’s much like looking through 20 different bouquets of flowers to put on the tables at your wedding before settling on the first ones you see. Doing the same with your website can lead to an amazing outcome.
It could be changing buttons to be rounded, background colours, images, or entire page layouts. But if you’re not truly satisfied with how something looks on your website, then there’s no better time than now to play around and find something that makes you, and hopefully everyone who visits your website, go “Wow!”.
If you’re in need of a website that makes you go “Wow!” but don’t know where to start. Contact us today on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0115 8965 300.