How to Approach the Website Production Process Like You’re Training for a Marathon.
People often wonder why we break our website production process up into different phases. As with any big event, proper planning and staging does wonders for helping you achieve the absolute best outcome.
Step 1: Have a solid, structured timeline: Every focused project needs a start and end date.
A marathon is a 26 mile long running race that takes approximate 3-4 hours (on average) to complete. Leading up to that, training for a marathon takes months and months of hard work and preparation. In order to be mentally focused and physically perform your best during that entire time, you need to have a good structured training plan and timeline established. If you have a solid running base established, and have completed a few half marathons already, you can train for a marathon in about four months.
Here at Autoshop Solutions, we say it takes about 90 days to go through the website production process, and having a good solid timeline to follow – just like a marathon training schedule – is very important. One of the great things about websites is that you can always change and update them. It’s not like sending a printed piece to the presses where once the ink is dry, no more changes can be made. Having structured milestones throughout the website production process, and keeping the finish line in mind as we complete each phase of the process, helps us stay focused and efficient with our time.
Step 2: Break the process into phases: Experienced runners recommend tackling the daunting 26 mile marathon distance by breaking it up into 3 distinct phases. The same applies to the website production process.
Phase 1: The first 7 miles/The Kick-off phase:
This is where you start warming up and gearing up. As you wait at the starting line, you do a few stretches and you mentally take note of everything you need to have with you, ready to go. Music and headphones ready to go? Check! Has your Garmin GPS running watch connected to a satellite signal? Check! Is your GU or other mid-run fuel easy to grab when you need it? Check!
After the race starts, you take off and your muscles start warming up, you start settling into your pace, you find a groove and you start dialing in your focus – you’ve already got the finish line in mind, even though you know you have a lot of work to do.
All of this is applicable to the website production process as well. During the Kick-Off phase you start to think about the road ahead of you and the work you need to do. You have your website planning interview with one of our production coordinators and you start gathering your materials – Images for the website? Check! Your logo files? Check! Your domain information to start the transfer process? Check! Now we are warming up! Gearing up! And finding our groove!
Phase 2: Miles 7 to 18/The Design Phase:
This is the most fun phase. During a marathon, this is when the boost of endorphins known as the “runner’s high” starts to kick in, when you’re feeling accomplished, when you’re feeling like “Yeah! I can do this!” You’re in a groove, and you just keep churning away.
Most of our clients would also agree that this is the most fun part of the website production process. You’ve got all that initial homework out of the way, and now you get to sit back and feel good for a while. Seeing your new website design concept for the first time is awesome! We hear lots of “ooohs and aaahs” and everyone feels accomplished.
Phase 3: Miles 18 – 26.2/The Build Phase:
During a marathon, this is where the hard work begins, where you have to dig deep and rely on your training to see you through to the end where you are rewarded with a shiny medal. You may start to wonder why you ever thought this was a good idea, you probably feel like you just want to be done with it. Rob de Castella, an Australian world champion marathon runner says “If you feel bad at 10 miles, you’re in trouble. If you feel bad at 20 miles, you’re normal. If you don’t feel bad at 26 miles, you’re abnormal.”
This feeling is normal during the website production process as well. During the build phase, the “high” from the design phase starts to fade and you’re *this close* to being done and having a shiny new website. Patience and timing is critical during this phase that can sometimes seem to drag on. Providing timely and consolidated feedback during this phase and keeping your eye on the finish line will help carry you through to the end.
Step 3: Don’t get discouraged by setbacks.
2014 Boston Marathon winner Meb Keflezighi says, “Like the marathon, life can sometimes be difficult, challenging and present obstacles, however if you believe in your dreams and never ever give up, things will turn out for the best.” Of all people, Meb could be considered the ultimate authority on setbacks and perseverance. He had to drop out of the 2013 Boston Marathon after he was chased by a dog on a training run and sprained his ankle. As difficult as you can imagine it would be for a sponsored runner to to drop out of a race like that, he came back twice as strong the next year and won first place!
Even in the website production process, there are setbacks. Even though we think our developers are superhuman super-heros, they sometimes get sick. Sometimes client feedback is late (it’s okay, we know our clients are busy!) and sometimes even computer hardware and servers break down. When these things happen, deadlines get pushed back and it can be difficult and discouraging for everyone. However, it’s reassuring to know that just like when you’re training for a marathon setbacks are normal, you can overcome them, and happen to everyone! They are just part of the process. In the end, we all still cross the finish line!
What’s bling? It’s what runners call the bronze medals that they receive after finishing a big race. Marathoners in particular are known to display them proudly on social media, hang them on plaques in their hallways, and even wear them to bed the night after being awarded one. The Nike Women’s Marathon Series even partners with famed jewelry designer Tiffany & Co. in New York to create a platinum necklace charm to award to it’s race finishers in San Francisco and Washington D.C. Now that’s some awesome bling that worth running 26.2 miles for!
When you complete the website production process with us at Autoshop Solutions, you’ll end up with an awesome custom website that helps you stand head and shoulders above your competition and serves as a perfect platform for all of your marketing. And 25% of your website’s viewer’s will convert into a call to schedule service! Just like training for a marathon, all that hard work certainly pays off and you’ll feel great when you hear the rewarding phone ring.
(Pssst! You can learn more about Autoshop Solutions’ website design process here!)
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