research design laboratory


Today, I was asked by a former client to make a few updates to their site. I hadn't personally visited the site in over nine months since we launched it. It was a sobering experience.

In many web projects, after the development is completed and the site launches, it's often out of our hands unless we've been engaged to help manage the ongoing production in some capacity. And in these cases, I'm always curious to see what becomes of the project. Perhaps this is akin to sending your child off to their first day of school - regardless of your high hopes and grand ambitions, as much as you can plan, prepare, and provide training, the success of the project is in the hands of those managing the project on a day-to-day basis. And in this case, I was disappointed to discover that the site was facing a common predicament: there wasn't much new content. Since the launch, only a handful of posts had been added and the site - less than a year old - was starting to look stale.

We often have to warn our clients of the dangers of having a "field of dreams" mentality: just because you build it, they won't necessarily come. While many people have a great idea about what they'd like to do with a website, few have the time, resources, and capacity to follow through with content production and fail to have a specific plan post-launch plan in place. This kind of plan could be as involved as hiring a new team member to ensure that the capacity is available or could be as simple as setting aside a specific time each week to sit down and write. Regardless, a plan need to be in place.

All this being said, I don't claim to always practice what I'm preaching here. I'm constantly struggling to make time to write here on this blog. Life sneaks up you - deadlines are looming, demands are being placed on you, and there are fires that need to be put out. Content production can be easy to put off, but I'm learning to make it a priority. And with each project we're trying to help our clients do the same.