Frank McClung

Real World Website Strategy: Time-Space Case Study

It is easy to get lost applying the abstract website strategy concepts I’ve shared: trading space for time, taking the high ground, and understanding space as a foundational website strategy. So, I thought seeing how these concepts work in a real-world website project would be helpful.


I live in a small, rural town (less than 40,000 county residents total) in middle Tennessee. The local government and several private entities have invested heavily in sports-related facilities over the last twenty-five years to attract sports tourism and retirees. They’ve been successful, particularly in the area of golf, becoming known as the “Golf Capital of Tennessee”.

Times they are a changin’ though. The explosive growth of a town one county over and the large migration of people from out of state to Tennessee cities like Nashville, Knoxville, and Chattanooga has created significant sports-related growth opportunities. A local non-profit sports council was established to try and attract sporting events to the area. They needed a website to showcase their organization’s mission. That’s where I came in with website strategy and implementation.


Now that you know the background of the project, let’s discuss website strategy application. First, just about the time my client’s organization got cranked up for the website project, the virus hit. Sports tournaments and tourism came to a screeching halt until July. They are not fully recovered by any means, but the need for an organizational website is pretty urgent as Tennessee began opening up again and allowing sports-related activities.

Financial, community, economics, and competitive forces are heightening the need for the council to start making an impact attracting future tournaments. Unfortunately, the council’s new website will not be ready until January 2021. They had nothing in the way of a site before our project started, and they needed something now.

So, we traded space for time. In this case, we designed and developed in a few days a temporary landing page with basic information to buy the council more time in the digital space from pressing forces until the main website design can be completed. Temporary site landing pages are a great application of the trade space to buy time website strategy. There are other ways to trade space for time like phasing your final project so that critical pages are designed and developed first, and using social media platform space to buy time for your dedicated website to be built.

However, there are some potential pitfalls building temporary landing pages to buy time:

  • They can distract you from the main project by sucking up your time. For these temp sites to work, they need to be done in a short timeframe, an extremely limited scope and a minimal resource investment. Then you must resist the urge to tweak and improve the temporary site while you develop the new one.
  • They can dilute your brand efforts either in terms messaging or design.
  • They can become permanent like those mobile classroom trailers you often see behind brand new schools.
  • They can negatively influence the scope or direction of your existing project by giving you incomplete or misleading data about user needs or behavior.
  • Clients and their customers get too used to them and start questioning why they would need something more.

There are positives to a temporary site too:

  • They allow client business operations to move forward in the interim.
  • They buys you time and reduce schedule pressure to produce the main website.
  • They give you the ability to test some limited ideas and concepts with a users.

Just keep these tips to keep in mind when trading space for time:

  • If you are building a temp landing page/website, use the same platform/technology that the main, final site will be built on. This will allow you to easily port any custom functionality and content you might incorporate in the final website.¬†Also, by creating and managing content on the same platform that you will eventually use for the permanent website, you will already be familiar with the content management system.
  • If you use social media to trade space for time, remember that you don’t own or control the platform. You’re essentially renting space. Use that space to build community while directing them to your landing page. Remember it is a “social” platform. And keep reminding and teasing your community that an even greater value to them is coming in your future website.
  • Collect email addresses from visitors on your temp landing page for newsletters, offers and announcements during this period.

The whole point of this particular strategy is to trade your permanent digital space temporarily for time so that you can effectively hold off those “forces” pressuring your organization and build a better, more robust site later.


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