Many of us have been faced with similar problems in our blogging or web development tenures. Many of us build our sites ourselves. Many of us run into problems we never even knew existed; and finally, many of us get extremely frustrated. Suddenly, the biggest challenge has nothing to do with the obstacle, but the desire to simply be done with it all. In turn, we are then also faced with a quandary: how much planning, troubleshooting and finessing is it going to take to bring my product to its natural apex? Well, I can tell you that that process has no natural end. Let’s discuss the importance of navigating a website plan.
The First Move
The first thing I absolutely have to do when I’m starting a new website for client revolves around a need to understand their desires. I run through a mock up, assemble some infrastructure, pass it along and ask for their ideas on how things are coming along. This process can be considerably easier than running my own website because there’s an end in mind. The client says, “I really like ‘x’, but I wonder if we could try something else with ‘y’.” A week later I come back with improvements. They work – I hope. 🙂
This process will repeat until the site is complete, or at least to a presentable end. We reveal, work with that product and improve along the way if necessary. The most difficult thing I ever learned how to do was being okay with this process for my own projects. If you can’t publish something until it’s perfect, you’re going to find yourself with hundreds of incomplete visions. Sure, sure – the enemy of completion is perfection. We’ve heard that before, but the first move has nothing to do with subscribing to that notion. It has to do with admitting that wherever you start, and it doesn’t matter where, your choice to begin defeats a large initial challenge: overcoming the need to overplan.
Sink Your Teeth In
This step is an accessory to the beginning of every new project. Let yourself acclimate to the needs of the project by throwing yourself into it. What I find myself doing more than anything is beginning, sinking my teeth in and losing myself in the vast list of things I want to accomplish. The key? I haven’t even considered making a dreaded checklist or some silly set of guidelines. I am simply doing. I test frameworks, themes, plugins, experimental functions. I ask questions. Can I edit this? Of course I can. Oops, I broke something. Time to Google a solution.
Before I can psych myself out I’m simply too deep into the process to forget my goal: an official project launch.
Breathe, Assess, Reflect
Lots of people get stuck when they can’t figure something out – so stuck that it defeats them. I like to think that defeat is only temporary. On nights where I’ve stared at my computer screen until 4 am attempting some solution that I am positive is meant to work I often have to take a moment. What’s stopping me from getting some rest and starting with a fresh head the next day? Nothing. A chance to breathe cannot be ignored. Nearly every new day brings me to where I was positive I could get at 4 am the night before, but now I’m moving right along and solving the problem with ease. Had I ignored the need to step away I would have struggled reaching any clarity whatsoever.
After you’ve had a chance to step away from the seemingly insurmountable, assess your laundry list. Troubleshoot and discover solutions or potential paths that are, as yet, unexplored. More often than not, you learn about more than one solution. This is key is of this endeavor, sure, but something you find during your perusal may be something you need in the future. Write down, or plan in any way that suits you, each manner in which you plan to work through the issues you’ve encountered. While you’re at it, assess other areas your brain didn’t quite get to while you were simply going for it the day before. The process of sinking your teeth in not only allowed your brain to encounter problems, but to ruminate on them, process other ancillary ideas and to approach the rest of the project with meticulous vigor.
Finally, look over your process and make some decisions. Your time spent reflecting is crucial to executing the gameplan.
In order to take our websites further we cannot fear the implementation of discovered solutions. For me, so much of this occupation has been about trial and error. Sometimes my solutions were absolute crap. Other times, the reward was immediate. I learned something, and now I have the motivation to solve that other dilemma. Implementation of your strategy is, perhaps, the most crucial learning process you can undertake. It allows you to be self-critical; but more importantly, self-congratulating.
A huge struggle associated with planning and executing a website comes with the need to find peace near a project and its end. While I was creating this website, there were many things I hoped would come to fruition. I battled with many of them, solved a few and made compromises on others. On past projects, I’ve done things similarly but the results have never been as good as they are now. I have been able to find a certain satisfaction in both tribulation and triumph. Many of my projects did not come to natural ends. In fact, I would regard almost every single one of them as phases. Using that perspective, I find myself bringing websites to life more quickly than ever before. I know now that perfection is nowhere near my line of sight.
In order to make your website your own, or even in delivering a product to someone else, you have to have the confidence to take a chance on showing the world something that is incomplete. Take solace in the fact that your perfection is shared by no one. Planning your own website simply comes down to having the perseverance and strength of character to present a current phase or iteration. If you happen to encounter criticism, use it as a chance to recognize that you will eventually bridge that gap. There’s a freedom that comes with satisfaction in each phase. The fact a new process is on the horizon should be a reminder of an opportunity to improve. This is the opposite of project condemnation.
Planning your own website has very little to do with the plan itself. What matters is the need to discover, explore and implement. Finally, it should be a constant effort to find triumphs and rewards in each phase. Get comfortable with showing your work to the world. Worry less about perfection. You’re free to disagree, but as someone who has long struggled with facets of project completion I can certainly speak from experience.
Got something to say on the matter? Sound off in the comments below. Maybe your own strategies or personal alterations on this model will teach myself and others something new! Thanks for reading.