Published with Permission from ADland , a monthly advertising industry specific journal reaching 87,000 subscribers worldwide.  

 

Why Building a Website is Similar to Building a House

By Todd Obermoeller

 

 

 

Let’s start by getting a couple of things straight. To begin with, BUILDING A WEBSITE is not easy. It’s not fast. It’s not cheap. And not everybody can do it right. 

 

When you build a house (not buy, build), you generally hire an architect to draw up plans. This is when you decide where the kitchen, the plumbing, the bathroom, the structural beams and everything that’s not movable will be placed. In web, we call this UX which stands for “User Experience”. Just like the architect knows, there are certain structural constraints in a house that can’t be altered once building has started. For instance, once the foundation is poured, and the plumbing has been set; it’s set. Of course everything can be changed, but it will be very expensive. The same applies to web. 

 

Websites are built on a structure called a wireframe. This is the blueprint for your site. Once it’s approved, and the building starts, it becomes very expensive to start altering it. 

 

Now let’s say that you’re half way through your home building process, but you really don’t like where the kitchen is, and the bathroom just isn’t big enough for your Aunt Tess who visits regularly. Your builder will tell you that they’d be happy to move the kitchen and expand the bathroom, but they’ll need new plans, approvals and money. They might also say, depending on the repercussions of the change, that they need to start over. This would require digging up the foundation, re-running the plumbing, and buying all new materials. Would you think twice about that? I thought so. 

 

We’ve had several clients that don’t understand that while home builders charge for time and material, the only thing that digital marketers can charge for is time. We sell our expertise. We sell our ability to design and build your site. We sell ideas, and we sell convenience. Just like an architect or a builder; if you knew how to do what they’ve spent years training for and perfecting, you’d do it yourself. So when we have to make changes to structure or already approved design or content, it’s going to cost more money because it’s going to take more of our time

 

The thing that clients need to understand is that just because something may sound or look “simple”, doesn’t mean that it is. When you move plumbing, it effects everything else that’s already been put into place. When you alter the structure of a website, it effects everything else that’s already been put into place. 

 

The bottom line is that as a client, it’s important to accept that we have procedural steps for a reason. Wireframe, approval, content, approval, design, approval, development, approval, testing and launch (in a nutshell). The approval stages are like a home walkthrough. The walkthrough isn’t intended to allow for structural changes. It’s to look for errors or deficiencies. The same principles apply to your website.

 

Published with Permission from ADland , a monthly advertising industry specific journal reaching 87,000 subscribers worldwide.  

 

 

Todd Obermoeller is the Founder and Creative Director of Split Media in St. Louis Missouri. Split Media is a Digital Marketing and Advertising firm that specializes in web, video, social media and branding. 

 

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