Day 5: Launch a Website in Five Days

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Cynthia Bartz • November 16, 2015

This is Day 5 in my five day sprint to redesign, rewrite, develop and launch the CB.Graphics website. I realized that I give all this awesomness to my clients, that just doesn’t show up on my website. I’ve scooted by with a lack luster site and it’s starting to catch up with me. In order for my business to grow and for me to bring on new clients I have to take care of my own house first. For me, my home is my website. That is why I’m doing this crazy thing and designing and publishing a new site in five days.

What the Plan Was

  • Wrap up any remaining development work
  • QA testing
  • Port over all blog posts to date
  • Push live site
  • Party

What I Did

Development. Check. Content Check. You are officially reading this post on my new theme! Day five was the longest work day of all of them. I worked a total of 14 hours, most of which were spent writing content, exporting graphics, and porting everything into the live website.

Inputting all the content took entirely longer than I thought it would. I didn’t realize that I really needed a whole day to do this. It seems like it would be pretty simple in comparison to writing code, but it just takes a while to get everything configured. Plus, I was proofreading what I had written as I went. By the end of day five it was well past midnight and I still hadn’t gotten everything published. I decided for my sanity and for my family it was best that I call it a night.

The one rule I have for myself in my business is that I do not work on the weekends. I have to stop at some point. It is not practical or healthy for me to work seven days a week. So, all of the content is not up and it is technically “day eight”. I still consider this project a success though. I was able to establish a stronger brand identity on my website through design. I got to demonstrate my knowledge of WordPress to my audience and show that it’s really possible to do crazy things if you plan for them.

What I Would Have Done Differently

Written Portfolio Posts in Advance

So much time was spent in design and development that I didn’t have a lot of energy to give to my content. The content for the pages came pretty easily because I had been thinking about it through out the project. The real struggle was getting the portfolio pages written (which didn’t happen). It takes a lot of time to properly document a project and I didn’t consider this when I was putting together my project plan.

I also shot myself in the foot and accidentally deleted the few portfolio posts I did have on the website before. Rather than rush and push poorly written posts I decided to work on these over Thanksgiving break.

My advice to you is to write as much content in advance as possible. A website IS content. So, even if your website looks really spiffy, no one will stick around if you half-assed the content.

Listed Explicit Tasks

I normally am really meticulous with listing out tasks with my client projects. I find it is easier break down big projects like this into small explicit tasks, like: write home page intro, create blog post image template, etc. For whatever reason I didn’t do this until the last day. On Day Five it was clear how much progress I made as a result of focus on discrete tasks.

Cooked in Advance

The things that get in the way of work are the things that don’t have anything to do with work. Life is inevitable and unavoidable. You have to eat, sleep, and you can’t ignore your family. Cooking was one thing that really got me. It’s not so much that it took a lot of time away from my five day sprint, we just ended up eating really late every night. If I could do it all over again I would have planned meals that could have been prepped on Sunday and just pop them in the oven the day of.

Not Adopted a Dog

What I did not mention at the beginning of this process is that my family adopted a sweet, one year old lab the day before I started on the five day sprint. While I am so happy to have Ghost as a part of our family, it was probably not smart on my part. He was an adorable distraction that was hard to ignore. In addition to the normal adjustments that come with a new pet, he’s a little scared of my husband, so we’ve spent a good amount of time working on the two of them bonding (ie. lots of treats).

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Although he has been very helpful in getting me up in the morning, because dogs don’t care that you went to bed at 1AM.

Maintenance

I write regularly for my blog, but I will be adding a few steps to my process as a result of this sprint. Documenting projects will now be a part of my internal process. The day I hand over final files is also the day that I will write up a portfolio post on the project. This ensures that my portfolio stays up to date and helps to drum up interest for more work.

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