We’ve all built sites of varying degree and size.
Let me share with you what you will encounter when you build Godzilla.
My organization is in the process of launching a new website. This is the third such site I’ve had the privilege of working on that consists of such a level of complexity. Two of which I worked on when I was working for Digital Agencies.
This particular site consists of over 20,000 pages of content, over 72 templates and wireframes, has involved everything from card sorting, heuristic evaluations, over 300 interviews, defining personas, new taxonomy, new design, eliminating and rewriting thousands of pages of content, over a year and a half in it’s making.
Ok so you get it…right…it is a massive undertaking. One more time…this is the third such site I’ve worked on in my career. Yes I am crazy.
If I would Write a Book
So what have I learned? What words of wisdom can I share with those who may be ready to take on such an albatross?
Well maybe…kind of…sort of.
You still with me? Maybe you should have ran.
Although, I guarantee you will feel like running no less then a hundred times in such a development cycle. I can say this without a doubt…many of those who are helping you on your teams from the vendor side to your own employees will do exactly that…they will run. They will leave the project.
Before you jump up and claim that these individuals are lame…hold on. Until you’ve walked in their shoes don’t cast stones.
It’s a Marathon
These projects aren’t for the meek. And they are certainly not for most web agencies to take on. Trust me on this one. You may think you want them. But they can bury a business. Only web companies that have a deep bench and plenty of resources should even consider taking them on.
I’ve been on both sides of the coin…vendor side and client side. The challenges are huge. And the sheer complexity is hard to imagine. This is a marathon. You are climbing Everest. Prepare for the worst and then the worst on top of that. Because it will happen. Thanks Murphy.
You need to decide if it is worth it. Taking on these size projects will literally consume your team and your business. The hours are insane. The workload is overwhelming. Then there are the thousands of meetings. Yep thousands.
If you are the Client
Understand that the politics are overwhelming. You will consume at least 15 months if not more. You will spend seven figures. You will encounter adversity like you have never imagined. You will be sidetracked to the point that major initiatives and projects will be put on hold. You will believe that this type of website has been taken on by many a vendor with great success and little problems. Trust me…they will say they have and you will discover that they haven’t. 20,000 page sites don’t come along everyday. And big is big.
If you are the Vendor of Choice
Be prepared to know that the original budget you suggested and the client took off 20% for you to win the business…was the right bid. So when you say no problem we will make it work. Then do it. Don’t cut corners. Don’t cut promises. Do what you proposed and know what you committed to. And by all means don’t cut staff and the expertise you promised at the pitch. It will come back to bite you more then you can ever imagine.
Keep it Real
So be honest with yourself if you really should do a complete site relaunch vs. perhaps just a facelift.
Still want to take this type of re-launch on? Well someone has to do it :).
To those who are crazy like me…the business that needs the website thanks you. The users thank you. And for those of you who stick it out…we all thank you.