Frank McClung

Bring out your dead: Adapting your site to change on the web

[A note to those who have lost friends, family, or loved ones due to the virus — I am so sorry. I experienced part of what you went through as you’ll read below. It’s disorienting and painful. I use a metophor from a Monty Python movie throughout this newsletter to illustrate a strategy point. It might hit too close to home. My military background trained me to compartmentalize events/emotions/ideas so this metaphor works well for me, but you may want to skip this newsletter.] 

I’m not dead.” (watch the clip in the link)

2021 has been almost as strange as 2020 for me. My 85-year-old mother (who lives four hours away by herself) caught Covid right before Christmas, spent over a month in the hospital battling the virus, survived, rehabbed, and is now living with my family in Tennessee.

We are now in the throes of renovating/selling her home of 60 years, going through/moving her stuff (to include her art studio and a large collection of her works) to Tennessee, and expanding/renovating our home to accommodate her and her art.

Those are major life changes right there!

Fortunately, I had an outline (in my head) of a plan (let’s call it a strategy!) to move her to Tennessee with us for years. A global pandemic was not part of that plan, but a major health crisis was. As a result, our ability to deal with this sudden change has been difficult but manageable. And that’s the value of strategy and planning…reducing risk and effectively adapting to change.

Big, big changes, though, can make you wonder if you are still alive on the business side.

Since she contracted the virus in December, I have limited taking on new client work, progressed through existing projects, and serviced current websites/client accounts. The consulting side, which launched in earnest in the fall of 2020, has taken a back seat to these life altering-changes to include this newsletter.

But I’m not dead on the consulting side. Nope. Not yet.

This unplanned time off has allowed me to reflect on how your website strategy plays an important role in responding to change. If you have no website strategy at all, your website will be at the mercy of whatever the change comes along, and on the web, change comes fast and furious from every direction: shifting design trends, technology (software, applications, and platforms) advances, legal/compliance challenges, continual security threats, and the newest social media app (Clubhouse!) stealing your client’s heart.

Like the Monty Python scene, sometimes your website feels like the whole da*n digital world is trying to declare it dead.

Well, it ain’t. Or at least it doesn’t have to be.

Website strategy can reduce the risk of change throwing your website into the digital “bring out your dead” cart or at the very least allow you to evaluate web changes based on your organization’s vision and goals. You will probably need to adapt your strategy and website, but your decisions will be made in the context of thought work you’ve already done, not simply reacting to the situation.

For me, thinking through the shift from design-implementation to strategy/consulting last year has given me the vision and commitment to stay the course in 2021 even though these first two months have been servicing existing implementation work.

I’m looking forward to helping you and your organization explore and create effective web strategies that weather current and future change.


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