Friends, I’m in the process of updating my website, and it’s been a long time coming.
The current theme I have loaded on my website no longer works, and massively slows down my site, to the point where it is almost more of a hindrance than a help. (From 2014-2019 I used WordPress with the now very outdated theme, Headway.) I’ve known I need to switch to a new provider, but I’ve been avoiding the project for a while because it’s a legacy project that requires a lot of time and investment, and, well, the current site works… well enough. For now.
This is not a sexy project. When people talk about being an entrepreneur, most of the time they talk about the new, shiny objects. The latest launches. The biggest revenues. The six-figure months.
Not the boring, painstaking projects that require consistency, repetition, dedication. Or the cumbersome legacy projects like, “What do I do with all of these blog posts now?” and “What happens when I stop teaching courses, do I clean up my digital entrails that are all over the web?”
This project has been cumbersome because: it’s high energy, with low(ish) return, until it breaks. Recently I’ve been blocked from logging into my own site as a user (!) because of some buggy code, and I realized I needed to make the switch, and do it fast.
Caution ahead: website in progress.
So, you’ll see that we’re in the process of installing a new theme and updating the site. I’m going to go about it the way that I like to approach a lot of projects:
Focus on the minimum, and ship it. I’m going to ship and release stages of the website as quickly as I can, MVP-style. “MVP” stands for Minimum Viable Product, and I’m not going to hire a fancy designer, go into the studios, and create a flashy website from scratch for tens of thousands of dollars. Instead, I’m going to flip the switch, put the new theme up, and push publish. And then iterate and tweak whenever I have a few extra minutes here and there.
A little bit at a time. You can watch over the coming weeks and months as I tweak and edit, a little bit at a time. As of the 2019.03.20 version update, it’s just a plain theme without much of my own customization. I’ve updated my site fonts—Lato and Crimson are my two preferences—and will be styling things as I go.
Keep low priority projects low-energy. A website can become a sinkhole for time and money, and the framing question that is SO important in any project is: “What’s most important?” and “What is it for?”. Not all projects (or web pages!) are equally important. For me, I know the top three pages that need my attention, and I’ll start there, and work my way outwards. Bit by bit.
Create success metrics and goals that are aligned with how you want to work. It’s not just what we accomplish, but how we accomplish them that matters. For me, when I run my business, my #1 success metric is “does this let me keep writing?” If it doesn’t, it’s not a success—no matter how many dollars I make or people I meet. For this project specifically, my success metric is:
Project success metric: what’s the least amount of time I can spend on this and have it working?
Good enough is great. Also, there are so many other business projects — like all of Startup Pregnant — that require my time and attention, so this is a back-burner projects for all of 2019, and I’ll do the best I can, when I can, knowing that if all I get to this year is switching the flip on installing a new theme, that will be good enough.
Thanks for letting me live my mess out loud!
I don’t believe in presenting fake Instagram filters all the time. Life is a series of messy moments stitched together by friendships and laughter, and we do the best we can. This website is no exception: I’ll continue to build and share my real thoughts, in real time, and focus on the aspects of “minimum” (do as little as possible) and “viable” (yo: it’s gotta work) and keep showing up and iterating. This website is an extension of my life philosophies, and I believe we need to live closer to the truth, and share it with each other.
PS: If you want to see another side of my ‘real’, follow my Instagram Stories, where I am currently posting actual real-human sweaty selfies of my bicycle rides, which are basically me looking terrifically exhausted and sweaty, but happy, because I finished yet another ride.
As an aside: Nathalie Lussier has a great post describing the pitfalls of Headway and how the company hasn’t been able to stay up-to-date with their technology. I bring this up, because as a consumer, it might seem like a good idea to buy the theme that’s only $29 or $99 and you never have to pay for it again. The problem is that this business model doesn’t work for the product itself: things go out of date, the company can’t keep up with the request tickets, the software gets buggy… and then, several years later, you have a broken product and you start searching for a new theme. My point is this: You are going to spend money each year on a theme, and if you know that it’s a subscription-based model, you can have more assurance (some, not total) that the company will stay up-to-date and the tools you’re building your website on are sound.
PPS: I use Elegant Themes with Divi as a theme base, and I highly recommend it (this is not an affiliate link, but I just submitted an application to be an affiliate with them). I’ve been using Divi with my company website, Startup Pregnant, and after a year of learning and designing I am really happy with it, and have now decided to switch www.sarahkpeck.com over to Divi as well.—