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4 Ways To Launch A Better Website With A Smaller Budget

4 Ways To Launch A Better Website With A Smaller Budget

Your website is your online shopfront, the outward facing persona of your business, so it’s important to get it right when it’s time for a website redesign. This can be tough when you or your team continually have lots of great ideas to be incorporated in the new site. It can be tempting to delay the launch to add just one more new feature.

However, this can also result in some massive headaches. What features should you prioritise? Will the website do it’s job? And importantly, will it fit the budget? With that in mind, here are some simple ways you can ensure that your website redesign project runs smoothly and within budget.

1. Nobody Gets It Right The First Time Around

Getting your new site absolutely perfect first time around is impossible. The most successful businesses understand that achieving ‘perfection’ as far as their website goes is an ongoing pursuit that they need to pursue each month, making incremental improvements and gains where they can. These businesses understand that the traditional way of building a website and then redesigning it in 2 year cycles is flawed, and this is essentially hindering their business online for 2 years at a time.

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Some tips to be aware of when planning a website redesign:

  1. The objective of the first launch of the new website should be to bring live the new visitor friendly design framework you have decided upon.
  2. Future design changes should improve upon the UI of the site, add content and restructure pages to improve the return on investment from the site.
  3. The site should be built in such a way that it can be added to and improved each month.
  4. Aiming to get everything ‘absolutely perfect’ for launch is generally a waste of time and resources. Once the site goes live you will be able to gather data on its performance and the path users take through the site, enabling you to quickly make improvements based on data.
  5. Have a clear cut off for all features that will be in the first version and what will be added later.
  6. Any new features you think of during the development process should not go live until after the site launch

2. Avoid Scope Creep

One of the biggest reasons web design projects going over budget is scope creep, which is when you think of new additions and functionality for the website once the project has started and work has begun.

This severely hampers progress and can be very costly, especially if functional changes to the site conflict with the existing work that you or your developers have done, as well as adding unnecessary costs for ‘nice to have’ features that may not actually offer much real benefit for customers, or could be added later

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Not only does scope creep slow down the project and cost more, it can often ruin the entire layout and focus of the new website by adding functionality and areas of the site that don’t fit well or conflict with the main objective of the site. Therefore, the solution is to avoid adding any new features while the site is in progress. Remember, the first iteration won’t be 100 percent perfect, but will have the most important functionality included.

3. Trim The Fat

It can be tempting to plan that all functionality from your old site be included in the new one. However, do you have evidence to back up whether or not certain features are actually useful to your customers? A more effective process is to include core functionality, then add optional functionality piece by piece and run user tests on the site to determine what would help users the most, and what doesn’t add to their experience.

Consider testing your old website using whatusersdo.com to get people in your target market to test the site. Learn what parts of the site are useful and what aren’t. Use this to guide your process and trim the fat – don’t rebuild any parts of the site unless there is evidence that it improves the user’s experience.

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4. Educate Yourself About Growth Driven Design

Many of the points described above are part of an emerging web design process called Growth Driven Design. Adopting a Growth Driven Design approach for your next website project can help to eliminate these main causes for website projects to go over budget, as well as a number of other key benefits:

  1. A more effective method of redesigning a web site
  2. An agile method of continuously improving the performance of your website using real time data from the website
  3. Requires a much smaller time investment
  4. Quick to launch
  5. Maximises the return on investment from your project spend

In order to successfully use this framework for a website project, it’s important that if you’re working with a team on your website project that everyone’s on the same page. Therefore, preparing a presentation to educate everyone else involved in it about the Growth Driven Design philosophy and ensure all activity is done with this process in mind can really help ensure your time is used productively.

Once everyone is in agreement, you can refer back to this process any time features are suggested. These features can then be added to an ongoing plan, allowing you to keep your initial website redesign project within your budget, while having a solid plan for when to add in new functionality.

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The result is a more efficient website design process, saving both time and money!

Featured photo credit: Helloquence via unsplash.com

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Last Updated on May 20, 2020

What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

What Are Analytical Skills (And How to Strengthen Them For Success)

Everybody makes bad decisions. Some people, however, are more capable of making better decisions that inch them closer to success.

These individuals are not ruled by emotions, desires, or hunches. Rather, they depend on their analytical skills to overcome challenges regardless of urgency or complexity.

What Are Analytical Skills?

According to Richards J. Heuer Jr., a former veteran of the CIA,[1]

“Thinking analytically is a skill like carpentry or driving a car. It can be taught, it can be learned, and it can improve with practice. But unlike other skills, it is not learned by sitting in a classroom and being told how to do it. Analysts learn by doing.”

Analytical skills can be considered as one of the critical life skills that are not taught in schools. It comprises of visualization, critical thinking, and abilities for gathering and processing information.

Here’s a closer look at some of these abilities:

Visualization

Also tied to a person’s creativity, visualization is the ability to predict the possible outcomes of strategies and actions. In a professional setting, visualization involves the analysis of data – often through illustrations like charts, graphs, and detailed lists.

Critical Thinking

Simply put, a person’s ability to think critically can be measured by his or her consistency in creating reasonable decisions. It pertains to the ability to evaluate information, siphon what’s useful, and draw conclusions without being swayed by emotions.

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As a critical thinker, you’ll find yourself challenging assertions and finding loopholes in proposed solutions.

Computing

Whether you like it or not, you need to be comfortable with numbers if you want to sharpen your analytical skills. Bear in mind that computing encompasses other skills like cost analysis, budgeting, and performing general calculations.

In business, you need to use computations when weighing the risks and benefits of any given strategy.

Problem-Solving

Remember that analytical skills are used not just to understand problems, but also to develop the most suitable course or courses of action. This relates to your goal-setting skills, which involve breaking down and prioritizing between objectives.

Resource Management

Lastly, analytical skills involve some degree of resource management depending on the task at hand.

For example, professionals with a tight schedule must know how to effectively manage their own time – also known as one of the most important resources in the world.

Business leaders, on the other hand, must know how to manage company resources, including cash and manpower. Take note that the definition of analytical skills may change to match the requirements of a specific situation.

For example, upon hiring a web developer, analytical skills may refer to the ability to determine the needs of online users, understand web analytics for optimization, and identify visual elements that can match a company’s brand.

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The skillset above, however, should be applicable in most if not all scenarios.

Develop Your Analytical Skills for More Growth Opportunities

There’s no question that the right decisions lead to positive results. It doesn’t matter if you’re running a business or simply trying to climb the corporate ladder. By training your analytical skills, you position yourself for more growth opportunities while staying away from negligible actions you will regret.

For example, you plan to launch a new startup in your local community – but struggle to decide the niche you want to enter. Since you’ve been a technophile your whole life, part of you desires to invest in a gadget store. If you’re passionate about your business, success will come – right?

If you have sharp analytical skills, you begin to see your plans in whole new dimensions.

What are the possible outcomes of this venture? Does the local market have a need for a new gadget store? How much do I need to get started – and how much should I sell to make a profit?

Depending on your findings, you can determine the feasibility of your business idea without letting your emotions get in the way.

6 Ways to Strengthen Your Analytical Skills

There are several approaches when it comes to developing an individual’s analytical skills. For instance, psychologists agree that reading fantasy stories as a child can help sharpen critical thinking.[2]

Research also suggests that undergoing traditional education has a positive effect on a person’s IQ and analytical skills.[3]

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But as an adult, such opportunities to hone your analytical skills no longer apply. That’s why you need to devise a more deliberate, active approach yourself.

Below are a few strategies to get you started:

1. Ideate Business Ideas

Developing a profitable business idea, whether you pursue them or not, involves numerous challenges. You need a ton of research, computations, and problem-solving to create a tangible business plan.

You can organize your ideas with a note-taking tool like Microsoft OneNote or Evernote. Doing so will allow you to delve deeper into your analysis, organize your findings, and stay focused on roadblocks as well as how to solve them.

2. Leverage Analytical Tools

Aside from note-taking tools, you can also leverage other software that can help with analytical tasks. A money management app like Mint, for example, makes it easy to track your spending habits as well as manage your budget with visual tools. When it comes to prioritizing goals, you can use simple task management apps like Trello or Wunderlist.

3. Have a Personal Learning Library

Thanks to the internet, there’s a colossal amount of resources you can utilize to learn new skills, expand your vocabulary, and train your visualization muscles.

Social media networks like SlideShare and YouTube, for example, offer mountains of tutorials you can access to your heart’s content.

For a personalized learning library, you can download Instagram videos or GIFs from educational accounts like NASA Goddard and the American Mathematical Society. But if you prefer specific, technical skills, then a good place to start would be online learning platforms like Coursera, edX, and Alison.

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4. Participate in Online Communities

The internet is a great place to share experiences, opinions, and sometimes intellectual discussions with like-minded individuals. Reddit, for example, has a place or “subreddit” dedicated for every topic imaginable – from technology to entrepreneurship.

For structured debates, you can head to websites like Debate.org and let other users choose the winner via votes.

5. Seek Mental Stimulation

To keep your mind sharp, make it a habit to engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as chess, puzzles, and brain training apps. A great resource would be Lumosity, which contains dozens of cognitive games designed by teams of scientists and game designers.

6. Keep a Personal Journal

Finally, keeping a personal journal allows you to take a second look at everything that happened in your day.

Remember that writing about learning experiences lets you focus on the lesson rather than the emotion. It will help you analyze how you made your decisions, why you came to certain conclusions, and what you can do to improve in the future.

Here’s How to Create a Habit of Writing in a Journal.

Bottom Line

As an adult, you are required to face a myriad of challenges on a daily basis. Work, school, business, relationships – the list goes on when it comes to the sources of life’s problems. With analytical skills, you can confront and overcome any obstacle standing between you and your goals.

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Featured photo credit: Campaign Creators via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] M. S. Ramaiah University of Applied Sciences: Analytical Thinking?
[2] KD Novelties: Why You Should Read Classic Tales to Your Children
[3] Economic Inquiry: The Effect of Education on Cognitive Ability

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