If you look up essentialism, you’ll find a bunch of definitions. Here’s a layman’s definition that will serve our purposes.
Essentialism is the idea that any object or class has a set of required characteristics. Those characteristics are essential. Removing even 1 of those elements from an object will change that object’s identity. Adding elements will not have any effect in regards to that identity.
Mammals have a set of essential characteristics. Change or remove them and it isn’t a mammal. Add characteristics – say a flat tail, waterproof fur, and gnawing teeth – and you’ve defined a beaver. Those features don’t make it more mammal. It’s pass/fail. It’s a mammal or it isn’t.
My personal definition of essentialism is the last 2 sentences of this article.
These aren’t going to be all the characteristics needed to make your website a success. I’m not going to be specific enough. I’m talking mammals. That’s the starting point for your site. You have to make it specific for your situation. Cows are mammals. Beavers are mammals. But you can swap them and expect them to do well.
(I help owners and operators with this. Wouldn’t it be great to have a plan that you’re confident in? Let’s talk. It’s free.)
Here’s my broad list of business website essentials/characteristics:
Everything else – all the details – flow from this list and must be developed so that they align with your needs and situation.
How many different things could you do with your website? The answer is roughly 42 trillion to the power of infinity. There’s always something else you could do.
By focusing on the essentials, you can identify ideas that should be ignored or at least postponed until later.
Focusing on the essentials makes you prioritize the things that are the most important. It sounds obvious. But there is an unlimited number of new, shiny, cool, “guaranteed to work” tactics that are trying to steal your focus. They will kill your website.
A simple plan, executed in a “good enough” manner, is always better than a great plan poorly executed.
You have finite resources. If you spend those resources on crap, you’ll have a crappy website. You risk not having enough resources to do what needs to be done.
You’re not made of money. You don’t have unlimited time.
Focus on the tasks, tactics, and techniques that get results.
Treat the things that matter like they matter. Treat the things that don’t matter like they don’t matter.