Lately I’ve been reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, and disovered something in his book that really resonates with my approach to building websites. One of his principles for forming new habits is to make it easy, which lead me to think, when it comes to my clients, ”for whom am I making things easy” when it comes to building websites for my clients?
From where I sit, my client (the whom) is the one operating and editing the site, as opposed to the person using the site on the other end, even though that is an important person when it comes to the final product.
As I’ve been reflecting on what this understanding means when it comes to my own positioning as a solo web developer/consultant, I’ve had a few “aha” moments recently about the kinds of problems I find myself solving for these clients in that capacity.
I have always known that the value I can provide is greater than simply hands that can write code to build their websites. Rather, my experience in using those code-capable hands (and the brain that operates them) has generated a wealth of knowledge that can help generate solutions to the problems my clients tend to face. What I have been missing is how to articulate that value in a meaningful way. Thanfully, I think I may have stumbled across it.
Complexity: a common thread
A recent conversation with a prospective client made me realize what a number of my clients have in common, such as:
- overly complicated setups
- complex processes for making website changes
- bottlenecks from unresponsive contractors
What these problems tend to lead to is delays in executing their marketing strategy. With their hands tied, they lack the ability to move tactically and with agility to realize their vision. They lose leads; ultimately, this leads to falling short of their potential when it comes to sales, or whatever metric they are hoping to meet.
I see this problem fairly often: a company hires an agency or contractor believing they can deliver them a superior product. In reality, while their shiny new website might be faster or prettier than their competition’s, it becomes useless rather quickly because it wasn’t designed or built with their own future needs in mind at the same time. The for whom wasn’t properly taken into consideration, and as a result, things are far from easy.
Now, they can’t edit their content with any ease. They can’t preview what a new page would look like because they are dependent on a 3rd party that isn’t responsive in order to have it built out.
Crafting frictionless solutions
While I may not be the world’s best (certainly not the worst!) web developer, I know with some certainly that I can help my clients through these challenges.
I’ve been able to solve for these kinds of problems many times over the years, and empower my clients to make the moves they need to make. I’ve been able to step in and remove bottlenecks that get in the way, so that they can operate at the speed which they need in order to be successful.
Without getting prescriptive in each case, what a lot of companies in this situation need is the same: a website process and CMS that gets out of their way. While there may be technical complexities involved depending on the situation, odds are most of those can be overcome in a way that doesn’t inhibit normal workflows.
A simpler CMS, fewer disparate dependencies and complexities, dependable contractors - these are often all it takes to set things on their proper course. It’s not rocket science, but it is thoughtful and properly factors my clients into the equation, and makes things easy for them.