The paradox of the web developer

By September 28, 2012 No Comments



We build websites for a living, have been doing so for a while and I’d say that we’re pretty good at it. We have dealt with many different clients and projects, always trying to find the right solution for each one of them. So far we’ve had good feedback from all of them.

But when it comes to our own website, we’re stuck.

We’re stuck and we can’t find a solution. We don’t need anything challenging technically. We know our business very well. So how come we’ve been trying to revamp our website for the past year without success?

Well, it got me thinking… Let me share some of that thinking with you.

1. Feeling the pressure: doing something for your own business is very different from doing something for a client. Even if, like us, you love your clients and genuinely do your best for them, there is something special about your own business. There is a certain kind of pressure that doesn’t exist with your clients. The fear of failure is also 100 times greater. As a web dev company, our website should showcase what we’re capable of and how good we are. But what if it doesn’t work?!

2. Stop overthinking: this leads me to my second thought: overthinking. We think too much. We always advise our clients to keep it as simple as possible for the users and for themselves. Go straight to the point, choose a few key features for your application and go with it. It really makes sense but we’re not following our own advice. Too many ifs and buts are hindering our process when it should really be simple. What do people want to see on our site? What we do, who we are and what we’ve achieved. That’s it!

3. A lack of deadlines: when you create web apps from scratch in just 5 or 6 weeks, decisions need to be made quickly. We always support our clients in making the right decisions for their users and themselves and we haven’t delivered a single project late. Yes, but clients give you deadlines. This doesn’t apply for your own site. Which is why we’ve been talking about revamping ours for months and months and until now, haven’t done anything about it.

4. Take some time for your business: when the projects come in one after the other, you can easily forget that your business needs some attention too. When, on top of that, your partner goes on maternity leave for several months and you’re left alone to do it all, it becomes a bit too much. Now that I’m back at work, our good resolution is to try and take about 1 hour a day to do something for our business, and spend the few days in-between contracts to build our site.

5. Approve of your own work: don’t be too hard with yourself and if you’re pleased with the result, then let be it. Some people might not like what you’ve come up with. It doesn’t matter. With a client, you always get an external approval (or disapproval in some cases, but so far we managed to avoid those). When you are your own client, you need to approve of your own work. Not easy I know but it should be done. There is no need to be overcritical, let’s just be happy.

For someone who is supposed to stop overthinking, that is one fair bit of thinking… But I think we’re finally getting there. The good news is that we have now started the new version of the site. A nice, clean version with all the information you need and a great blog that we will keep updated.

The only grey area that remains is a proper deadline but it will be live by Christmas.