We've changed our default position when it comes to sourcing and generating content for Customers' websites. This significant shift in our approach to the resourcing of websites has come about following the recent launch of a website with an unbelievably-long gestation period.
Back in 2011, we produced our first web design guide, entitled "How To Build A Hit Website". The web design guidance and advice still stands-up to thorough scrutiny to this day. Our introduction to the guide opens with the following sentence:
"A hit website will possibly be the hardest thing your business has ever had to write."
For the past 20 years, we have respectfully worked on the basis that Customers would supply us with their own content for their website because, along with the stated desire to be able to 'manage' their own content, it's what we're continually and routinely told.
Yet this model of reliance is broken. In order to deliver websites within a realistic timeline, we needed to change our thinking and accept that, without our direct intervention or project management, projects can and will continue to stall.
Making the decision to actively discourage the belief and dash the hopes of Customers, who feel they ought to be able to write their own content, has taken some doing as it goes against the grain. But let me be clear that I'm not saying we'll never accept Customer's content again - what I am saying is that we'll want to see content first before getting carried-away.
'You say you got a real solution
Well, you know
We'd all love to see the plan'
The responsibility for and the weight of generating quality content, it would seem, is just far too heavy. But there's nothing new under the sun and, as big as this shift feels for us, the change in our default position's no revolution.
The recent release of The Beatles final single has prompted both Sharon and me to look back at the band's recording career and we've come to realise that it's not so bad to let Customers know that they might not be best placed to generate all the website content themselves. You see, even when you're as good as The Beatles, you don't get to do your own thing completely until you've proved you can really do it.
The Beatles' debut album, "Please Please Me", and the follow-up album, "With The Beatles', both feature 8 songs written by Lennon and McCartney and 6 cover versions of other songwriters' songs. At the time of their first recordings for Parlophone, most of The Beatles' live set was playing covers. George Martin was said to be initially unconvinced that the band could write hit songs. It wasn't until The Beatles' third album, "Hard Day's Night", that only Lennon and McCartney's songs made the album.
The Beatles didn't record their first albums with a belief that they would write all the content themselves. The first two albums are unashamedly commercial and, firmly directed by Producer and Manager, have almost as many covers as originals. The aim of the first album by The Beatles was to capture the energy and excitement of their live performances using their Cavern Club setlist.
If the managed approach was good enough for The Beatles, then we think it should be good enough for our Customers. You may be building your first website but we'll be building our umpteenth. Bands sign to a record label with a recording contract that opens the door to technical and promotional resources that were previously locked-away and out of reach. Bands sign to a record label because they want to make hit records and we think that, deep down, you really want a hit website. So please, please me and let us produce and manage your content.