Everybody hates laundry, but that’s no reason not to do it.
Earlier this week I was meeting with a colleague who has designed a massive site for a large and ever-evolving organization. The site has been built; the code is working; everything is ready to go, but they still haven’t launched yet. Why? Because the week before the scheduled launch date there was a change in the information—then another and another. The information can’t stay current enough for approval, so the launch gets delayed.
Exasperated by it all, my colleague exclaimed, “Look, you’re always going to have changes; that’s why I have a job! You can’t wait until all of the changes are finished to do something or nothing will ever get done. It’s just like the laundry!”
I thought that was very insightful. In the past, I’ve compared websites to everything from houses to dentistry, but laundry was a new one on me. There is something quite genius about it though. Here are just a few points of connection.
Delays Don’t Help
We’ve got three little boys living in our house. Laundry comes not in a trickle but by the truckload. The washing and drying needs to be done constantly and with little care. The whites are not separated out; temperatures do not vary, and the drier will likely stay full until the next time wash is done.
The problem is that I have some nice shirts that I want to be washed a little bit more delicately, so while my wife does laundry for the entire family (like everyday) I wash my nice clothes when needed.
Every now and then I’ll think, Oh, I’ll wait for this shirt or that day to do laundry. This shirt is worn; that day passes, and the laundry just sits there. I’ll remind myself to do it, but then I’ll decide to wait until the end of the day to maximize the about of clothes I can wash at once.
Of course, before you know it, I’m showing up to meetings where shorts and a t-shirt because I couldn’t get all the ball and just do the dadgum laundry.
Websites are similar in this regard. There might never be an ideal time to start, work on or even launch a website. If you do wait for the ideal time, things really begin to pile up. Procrastination is never a good thing, even when it is disguised as strategy. You’ve just got to do it.
The Job is Never Done
As I’m sure you noticed, once you do finally do the laundry, the clothes don’t magically stay clean. They will get used, get dirty and need to be cleaned again and again. Only a foolish person indeed would say (and mean), “Laundry! I did that last week, didn’t I?”
Likewise, your website will need to be updated a lot. Even after you update it, it will need to be updated again and again. Expect that to be the case. Don’t let that surprise you. Too many of my clients don’t heed my advice to count the cost of maintaining their site. They want a site that is massive and informational, and that is great! You should do that, but you should also expect and budget for a lot of changes. Unless your company is stagnant, your website shouldn’t be.
Schedules are Good
I think you will find that most people who have a grip on their lives have “laundry days.” To be sure, some are more frequent than others, but when you have some sort of a schedule you know that it’s going to get done, and you know that it won’t get too out of hand.
I’ve been saying for years that you have to plan out when you are going to schedule your website updates. It’s not your job or your focus to go over your website and check for outdated information. So, you need to schedule it!
Benefits are Even Better
As much as schedules can soften the blow, doing laundry never seems worth it, but it always is. Your clothes look better, last longer and are actually clean if they are washed regularly.
Taking the time to update your site might never seem worth it either, but it always is. You will benefit from your information always being current, your function always being in working order and your overall style always being relevant.
Take some time to look at your website as the clothes your business wears. Make sure that it is clean and pressed and in style. Take the time to do the dirty work of updating your site. Everybody hates it, but that’s no reason not to do it.