I Am a Website Gardener

I have a few main personal goals as a web professional.

Regarding project management, my goal is to meet deadlines and adhere to a reasonable budget while having the happiest team possible thanks to thorough planning. I learned long ago that people can sense love has been put into a website and happy team members put love into their websites.

Regarding producing good web content, I have always thought of my websites as living things. They need to be fed (writing) and talked to (comments) and pruned (audited). To those I’ve worked with, I have never said creating an effective website is a quick process. It takes time, tending, and love. Not unlike a garden.

Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Ogr%C3%B3d_kwaterowy,_Pieskowa_Ska%C5%82a.JPG
A very well organized garden in Poland. Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org /wiki/File:Ogr%C3%B3d_kwaterowy,_Pieskowa_Ska%C5%82a.JPG

Once, I worked on an alumni website. The idea proposed was that if we built it, the community would magically create itself and to do so, we needed a site with all the bells and whistles up-front to ensure success. I tried to fight this, suggesting instead something more modest and with a lot more human interaction to support the development of the community but alas, I was outvoted and the project proceeded. My colleague and I called the project “the dying love fern” (How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days – Dying Love Fern) as we saw less and less activity as the months passed when we should have seen the best growth. Naturally, the site totally perished, to be later replaced with a group on LinkedIn. What a waste of money and time!

Approaching your website like a garden might seem like a strange idea but today I read “Think Like a Farmer,” on Copyblogger. While true authors have long known it takes a long time to perfect copy, marketers and salespeople always seem like they’re in a rush. The goal is closure. As web content authors, we are always having to bend our craft to fit an angle and to outwit the search engines.

However, as search engines become more intelligent and people get more weary of content overload and more savvy about sales pitches, it becomes more important to well craft a sincere message, knowing that it may take a while for a relationship and, ultimately, a sale to bloom. However, the relationship will be much more rewarding for everyone involved.

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