Wow… That’s an ugly website

En casa del herrero, cuchillo de palo.

Literally: In the blacksmith’s house, a wooden knife

I love that quote. It’s the Spanish version of “The Cobbler’s children have no shoes.”

And it’s more fitting in this case. I have a website. But, like a wooden knife, it’s ineffective to the point of being useless.

I know I need a website. I know what it should do. I know how to plan it. I know how to build it.

But I haven’t done it. Well, that’s not 100% true.

I’ve started it. I’ve worked on it. Rinse. Repeat.

What I haven’t done is finish the project.

Why haven’t I built myself a proper website?

As a designer, I’ve looked at a lot of great-looking websites and I want my website to look as good as any of them.

As a developer, I’ve looked at a lot of powerful website features and I want my website to be as powerful as any of them.

As a client, I’m a pain in the ass. I never give myself the respect that I’d expect of any other client. It’s basically a non-stop stream of “That’s cool, Josh, but couldn’t it be more?”

More, more, more. I always want more. I’d never treat someone like this and I’d never let someone treat me like this.

The potential reasons are uncountable. Perfectionism, creative procrastination, fear of negative feedback, and imposter syndrome are just the 1st few that jump to mind… not that they’re very different from each other.

Fighting against the seduction of more

The other day I was looking for a specific developer’s website. I was surprised when I found it.

It was unpleasantly plain. It had almost no organization. But it was overflowing with content.

I realized that “plain and simple” is something I can do. Pretty is open for interpretation. It has no ceiling. It can always be more.

But plain and simple… that’s something I can do and be done with.

Aesthetics don’t matter

The truth is that in business, aesthetics are pass/fail. (The exception is if your business is aesthetics.)

Your website must be readable. It must inspire trust. It must make you look credible.

But it can only do so much.

I love cool fonts. But what are they good for?¬†Cools fonts are really good for selling cool fonts. I know. I’ve bought too many of them.

But can a font or a website be so aesthetically pleasing that I buy something I don’t want or need?

Just picture that conversation.

“Honey, why did you buy 3 boxes of diapers?”

“Did you see their website? It was so cute. And the animations were amazing!”

“But we don’t have any kids.”

“Did I mention the font? And the kerning… oh man the kerning.”

Keeping costs down matters

Everything has a cost.

For me, working on my own site, the biggest cost was opportunity cost.

Should I work on this feature that has little (maybe no) business value?

Or should I work on that feature that clearly has value?

A sexy website makes its owner proud. But it might not make them any money.

It’s better to skip the bullshit, especially if it’s blocking more important work.

Finishing the damn project matters

I’m not building a website to build a website. I’m not building a website to have a website.

I’m building a website to fill it with content. I can’t do that while I’m playing with the design or tweaking the code.

Good enough is good enough.

Content matters

Content is king.

I haven’t written about it on here yet. But I will. Spoiler: frame it as a chess analogy. You can’t win with just the king. But without it, you can’t even play the game.

I’m a content marketing fanboy. In a perfect world, it’s the best (and certainly my favorite) form of marketing.

And even though Google makes content marketing harder, content is the reason for many websites.

Here’s best-selling author Austin Kleon’s take on it.

I might not be “a really smart person” but I don’t even get to try until this thing is live. And now it is.


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