Why a Website is Never Done

February 7, 2009


Web Publication vs. Print Publication: Click for larger image.

A colleague who has  been working very hard on guiding the development of a new website for his company recently mentioned to AxisPortals that he can’t wait for the project to be finished, once and for all.

AxisPortals appreciates, applauds, and at every opportunity wholly encourages administrative involvement in crafting and maintaining an effective web presence.  Without administrative support and enthusiasm, after all, the project quickly withers:  content grows stale, styles and features get outdated, and opportunities for growth and improvement are missed. 

On the other hand, this conversation reminded AxisPortals of one of the essential truths about crafting a web identity:  this is not a task that can be checked off on a list.  You can never really be done developing your online presence, which includes not only your website but all of your related  material, connections, and relationships.  Web presence does and should evolve right along with you and your company. 

Crafting a brand new, totally overhauled web site is of course a huge job, and so in some sense it’s perfectly natural and understandable to look eagerly forward to the day when that site is finally launched.  In many respects, though, the day of a website’s launch is like the day a student graduates:  it marks the end of one process, but the beginning of another.  In the case of a website, launch day is day one of what should be the ongoing process of updating, refreshing, tracking use, interacting with users, and so forth. 

Perhaps this little fact of web life should go without saying, but too often businesses approach a website in the same way that they might approach a print publication.  On the day that a print piece is published, the process of composing it is over, and the process of distributing it begins.  Not so with a website or any sort of web presence.  Online, we are always composing our presence.  A website is never done being written.  Just so with a blog or a microblog.  Instead, these continue to emerge over time, and are continuously in the process of being composed.

AxisPortals Aphorism One :  Digital composition is not equivalent to print composition.  Online, the process of composing is continuous. 

AxisPortals Aphorism Two:  A website is never done.