This is a story about when marketing makes decisions that weren’t built to scale… and the crap hits the fan right when the money starts coming in…
“What? We did HOW MUCH in online sales this year?! That’s way more than I expected! Let’s ramp up the website next quarter,” said the CFO to the CMO.
“Absolutely!” shouts the CMO with enthusiastic self justification. “Now…who was it that built our website, I wonder if they’re still available, and where are the logins?” the CMO says to himself.
Do you want to know how this story ends? I think you do.
The CMO tracked down the freelancer who built the website three years ago. He’d since moved on, gotten a full time job, and couldn’t do any work on the website. He gave you the names of a few other web guys, but no one wanted to touch a website they didn’t build themselves. So the CMO decided to interview a few web agencies. None of them could do the project within the budget, because the amount allocated was never intended for a total site rebuild. Time passed faster than anticipated, deadlines were missed, revenues plateaued, everyone became disgruntled, the CMO went to work for a different company, and the website got put on the back burner. It’s still there, slowly cooling, becoming less appealing as each month passes.
The moral of the story
Your website needs to scale with your business.
Two pillars of website scalability
The world is a hairy, messy, unpredictable place. But, if you want your website to scale with your business there are just two things you have to keep in mind; the agency and the tech. Keep those in mind, and you’ve got a great chance at success. Let me explain.
1) The Agency
Freelancers and young agencies come and go. They may be cheaper on the front end, but often limit your growth later. And that’s costly when the numbers get bigger. Some make it past 5 years, and are worth considering. Be aware, even aged freelancers have limited resources and if something happens to them you’re screwed. Using an agency means legacy. If employees leave you still have a documented project history, a person to contact, and the ability to launch new initiatives. If your business has outgrown the self employed stage and you need a website, spend the extra 20% and use an agency. It’ll pay off down the road.
2) The Tech
I’m going to try my best to not geek out. If the technology running your website can’t scale with your business, you’re going to end up doing costly re-work. Sometimes this is called technical debt. Can you easily add e-commerce, events, and donations with your existing platform as the needs arise? Or do you need to migrate and rebuild the site? The technology running your site needs to grow with you; it should never limit your growth.
So when you’re thinking about doing web design, do your due diligence and make sure the agency you’re working with will be around ten years from now and that the technology they’re using can achieve your long term goals.