Web Developers and their obsession with complexity
When people ask me what I do I usually summarize my skill set as a “digital strategist” and then go on to say that I do web development, online advertising, and have a passion for digital sales funnels. I’ve been building websites since I was a teenager (the late 90’s) and have always had a passion for figuring things out and providing solutions. Solving web problems has become a serious passion. I in fact love everything about it. My developer friends would tell you I’m definitely not a back end developer, but my business friends would tell you that I am a web guy.
The business I’m in focuses on solving problems for clients, my primary area of focus is web development because its what I love, and it’s where I can generate a lot of revenue. I’ve created a disrupted model which has allowed me to work with hundreds of clients over the past few years and bring their business to life online via iterative web development. I focus on developing or managing development of websites that are functional, beautiful, and most importantly meet targets. Seeing a website start indexing on Google and then start performing and meeting objectives is something that keeps me so excited about my career. I’ve managed website projects for billion dollar corporations, and e-commerce start ups — and they all intrigue me, and all fulfill my passion for getting sh*t done. Any client that works with me will tell you that I am straight up, I am transparent, and I make things happen.
My career often has me managing web developers, or having to collaborate with other agencies or consultants who do web development and 9/10 times I run into someone who has implemented far too much complexity. I could name several examples but I won’t as I know many of my network reads this content and I don’t want to call out anyone specifically, what I want to do is convey the message “STOP COMPLICATING EVERYTHING!!!!”.
Here’s an example.
A small business has no web presence, they need to launch a new website with a very specific objective in mind. First, so that they show up on google when someone searches for their business, and second to provide their existing and new customers with quick access to their list of services and products.
The solution for this business, who will most likely end up refreshing their website in 4-5 years again, is a simple CMS implementation with strong SEO and a well branded look & feel. That’s it. Simple web hosting, with a SSL certificate and a simple monthly security and content management service would do the trick.
Now, a developer comes in who is “running” the web development arm of his consultancy or agency and over complicates the heck out of this process. Well they should be on AWS (amazon) because we only believe in that kind of (expensive) redundancy and it shouldn’t be wordpress because a custom framework or proprietary code is much cleaner. Also only “amateurs” use wordpress or another simple CMS like that! (these are things they legitimately say). So now the small business has a $5,000 a year hosting fee + a $500 a month maintenance package and any time they need to add a new service to their website it costs them $500 minimum.
This gives a bad image for the rest of us who are just trying create solutions and contribute to a businesses success. If you set the overhead of managing a website to $20,000 a year, most small businesses will never be able to justify that spend.
I’m not saying you should use WIX. Trust me, I’m not. But I’m also saying the reason we see success in web development is because I have a strong mindset of not over complicating the model.
Here’s the key to success in web development.
Listen, we get it. Web development is complex and it’s not an easy job. We also know it needs to be done right. But maybe, just maybe you should start doing whats right for your client and not what’s right for your belief in how complex it should be.
Build affordable, functioning websites that actual produce results. The relationships you will build throughout that process will completely change your business.
If your project is a massive e-commerce build with API integrations and multiple data sources + an absolute requirement of encryption and several security layers, don’t take this personal. Those projects require strict project management and a complete approach. In those instances (which I have been a part of several times) the best route is to still simplify aspects as much as possible. Implement portions of the project with usability and content management in mind. Trust that it will serve you well down the road.