Building a website is easy!

By James Hanington

9 January 2018

Westcountry Grounds Website Mock-up Mac

If it was hard to make a website, the internet may well have failed. For many organisations, however, building a website is hard and often requires a complicated and expensive project.

There are usually good reasons for this. Branding is important, people’s opinions are valuable and sometimes complex functionality is required. The problem is that when people perceive something to be difficult, it becomes difficult to make it happen. So make it easy. Start by building a simple website prototype to prove the value of your ideas and to justify a more involved project.

A website can make a great prototype. People are comfortable using the web as a way to consume ideas and innovations. In addition to this, the web is an integral part of many new ideas. To prove it’s possible, here’s an example of a finished website we built in just 8 hours.

The 8 Hour Website

My friend Eddie needed a shiny new website for his new business, Westcountry Grounds Maintenance. Eddie gave us a logo, some photos and some words. After about 8 working hours, we gave him back a finished website. We did this by keeping it simple.

Don’t reinvent the wheel

Simplify your brief and don’t use complicated technology. There are lots of great website building tools and templates out there, so use them! For this, we used the excellent Squarespace, which allows you to build a website using existing themes and a simple interface. Many tools already exist to enable the creation of many different types of websites. One of these, along with a bit of creativity, can often go a long way towards the creation of a compelling working prototype.

Use the right people

Working like this means using new tools in new ways. My colleague Olivia built this website without any prior Squarespace knowledge, but as a talented designer and a smart generalist she was able to deliver a polished website in an impressively short time frame. Use creative, visually orientated people with a good understanding of human needs and human desires. By doing so, you should end up with a prototype that is appealing and compelling.

Spend the time showcasing ideas

When building websites, much of the complexity comes from the development of bespoke functionality. So be creative and think of simple ways to showcase the functionality you want without spending the time building it. Images, videos, web forms, etc. are all great ways to do this quickly and easily.

Having something visual gives you something to demonstrate, test and validate. This means that when you do start to develop your idea for real, you should already know its value.

A lot of the time, for good reasons, building a website is hard. However, with the right tools, people and goals, building a useful website can be a simple and enjoyable creative experience. Have a look at what we built for Eddie here: http://www.westcountrygrounds.com/

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