Summer Musings on Websites

Ok, summer is halfway over! I hope you've had some vacation time to relax. Summer is also a great time to think big and muse on how you want to improve your website. Here are 5 important things to consider:

1) An easy to update website is essential. I like Wordpress, tolerate Drupal, and dislike Joomla. But really, I can't figure out why more non-profits and companies aren't on Squarespace. Its platform is so much easier, looks great, and saves money. Squarespace didn't pay me to say that. If your website isn't very complicated, I would move it to Squarespace or another similar platform. Save the development headache and focus on the content. 

2) Website accessibility better get prioritized. Winn Dixie was sued for not having an accessible website recently. The blind customer won the case in June. Some design/development firm sure blew it. Next time they'll think about the 19% of folks with a disability in the US. You should too. Start with this guide to learn how to make your site more accessible. I'm working on improving mine this summer. 

3) Values show up on your website. Whether you are aware of them or not, your values are reflected in your behavior, your communication, and your website. Do you value efficiency, honesty, relationships...or something else? What are your values anyway?  How are they showing up on your website? My co-author and I discuss values extensively in our book Don't Be a Zombie: How to Refocus your Company’s Identity for More Authentic Communication. Using your values is the key to authentic and consistent communication. 

Meme with a white cat and a stuffed animal cat that says "Oh look, we have a copy cat here"

4) Copying doesn't work. It makes for websites that look too similar. It's easy to look at competing companies or blogs and think, "Oooh, we should do that too." If you find yourself saying something like that, STOP. It's a terrible idea. Instead, you can see what the competition is doing so you can do something different. Seth Godin talks about this in probably half of his 25+  books.

5) The best website book still remains the same. If you haven't read Don't Make Me Think by Steve Krug, you are probably violating basic UX rules with your website. This means losing customers and readers. And don't depend on expertise of others. I know many designers and developers who violate basic UX rules all the time. Don't make people leave your website in frustration.

So that's what's on my mind. Do you agree or disagree with me? And what are you thinking about this summer? 

The One Simple Solution to Being Overextended & Tired

I hear these refrains too often: “I’m tired.” "I'm too busy." "I'm barely keeping my head above water."

Let’s stop this.

In March, I spoke about zombies and content strategy at WordCamp Atlanta, an annual WordPress conference. The talk is here on WordPress TV. But what surprised me was people's interest afterwards in a document I referenced very briefly in the middle of my presentation. The document is called "20 Ways to Say No" and was written by Ramona Creel. It's perfect for people who overextend themselves. 

Please enjoy and use these 3 pages of ways to say no!

Please enjoy and use these 3 pages of ways to say no!

You may be overextended if you:

  • forget appointments
  • consistently feel overwhelmed
  • find yourself with insomnia in the middle of the night
  • frequently say you’ll do something, then not do it
  • have very little “down time” to decompress

These signs mean something needs to change. 

I see too many overextended business owners and professionals. Sometimes their businesses don’t thrive. Or sometimes their businesses succeed, but they have lost any semblance of serenity. What good is it to have a successful business and be stressed out all the time? 

Is the solution time management? Is it meditation or medication? Is it getting a coach? Maybe those things would help.

But the one thing that I know helps is to: 

SAY "NO"

It's so simple, but it can be hard to do.  As small business and website owners, we need to say "no" more frequently. We should only say “yes” to the right things, such as clients that match our values and projects that excite us. 

Saying "no" doesn’t mean being self-centered or uncaring. It means that we can only give so much without replenishing ourselves before we crumble.

My friend Rick sent me this Say "No" document about 7 years ago. It has made me a better professional and helped me become more focused. Download the 20 Ways to Say No PDF to learn how to say "no" in a gracious but honest way.  And do let me know if it helps you!