How I Nearly Lost My Mind: Website Overhaul

First of all, I’m not yet an expert on SEO. The university I attended in the south is still stuck in 1956, so I didn’t learn anything about it there and I certainly never felt compelled to research it myself (until I realized that it is kind of an essential aspect of marketing, and my future).

So imagine being me, just for a minute: fresh out of college, sporting an obsolete degree in advertising (a few skills in graphic design, but nothing to brag about) and working at this ballina agency called Evolve. (Any agency that requires a custom mix tape – not cd, TAPE – at the interview is automatically a winner.) I don’t know how I got here, but I just go with it.

At the start of July, Derek asks me to write some articles- well, he provided the basic content and I just reworded, expanded, and polished- and it turns out that there is a ton of content to write. In fact, the list never seems to end. Finally I grasp that what I am writing is the content for the new website. And then I start to freak out a little. I mean, people are actually going to read this stuff.

Fast-forward several weeks.

Articles have been revised and revised again. And we are still a thousand steps away from launching a quality site. The to-do list is everlasting: scribbled on notepads, scrap paper, and on whiteboards. Iam slowly figuring out the cryptic coding on WordPress, and finally able to do more than just punctuate and replace boring verbs with more concrete ones. I can add links to pages, enabling them to lead viewers to additional areas of the site, and thus smoothing the navigation. But uploading photos is a nightmare, and formatting the pages is an even worse experience.

The most time-consuming part, though, is polishing every detail that no one in the world would notice unless it wasnat there. Does each case study link to the other? Are the blogs categorized? Is the Twitter feed current? Wait, first write bios for the Key People page. Then make sure there are no broken links.

It’s not easy, tweaking a website. Pretty soon I found myself lost in a twisted web of pages, feeling more and more behind and smothered as the to-do list increased at a revolting rate.

Well, whatever that one guy (I’m sure there are many; pick one) said about the importance of teamwork is true, because fortunately I never had the feeling that I was in this alone. Ashley whipped up some terrifying- yet strangely beautiful- spreadsheets, creating a new dimension to the mundane to-do list. This one included color-coded assignments, photos, and order of importance. “Wowza!” is right.

Checking something off a list is a remarkable, freeing freedom- and it allows us to revel in our small achievements. It provides the momentum we need to continue at full force. Fortunately, the team at Evolve is quick to encourage and provide assistance, so those overwhelming moments were always short-lived.

I learned a few things from the website revamp.

Online presence is priceless, and ours is finally up to par. Attention to detail is essential (put yourself in your consumers’ shoes). And the tedious nature of small tasks is easier when the Big Picture is always in focus.

To those confronting a website overhaul, good luck and Godspeed.

Written by Emily Wisely. Find her on Twitter at @em_wisely.