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Out with the old: Starting 2010 with a spruce up, from the footpath to the internet

As it so happened this week (and not because we planned it this way), within a space of 24 hours, our new Intergen website went live and we took over naming rights to our building in Wellington, complete with signage in the requisite Intergen colours.

None of this will come as a surprise to anyone who already knows us.

It seems only fair that we should put our stamp on the exterior of Intergen House, since we have slowly managed to extend our dominion of it as we’ve grown. Since we moved into what was Plunket House, nearly three years ago to the day, we’ve taken over new floors to house our extended ranks and continued to incubate projects such as ActionThis, Aptimize and Sproket.

As for the website, if you saw any of my updates on the Intergen blog last year, you’ll know that this new site you see before you didn’t just get rustled up on a whim or over the duration of a week or two. In fact, in the interests of full disclosure and transparency, I wrote my first Intergen website update on 11th May last year, a full eight months ago.

But back to the coincidental dual launch of Intergen House and the Intergen website, mark three. (Mark one, I’m told, existed back in the early days of Intergen, late last century, and was predominantly grey in colour. What a difference a decade or so makes, to the colour palette, at least. Mark two was the site that existed up until 12.01 on Monday afternoon.)

We’ve made over our street presence and we’ve made over our web presence, and hopefully we’ll now be easier to find in both places.  More than that – and this is true of not just the website but also business in general – we hope that, once you do find us, you will find exactly what you’re after and maybe even a little bit more.  We hope that maybe you’ll feel inclined to stay a bit longer, perhaps without even noticing. We hope that you come away having had the best possible experience, and that you’ll want to come back. These are the ultimate goals of any sort of customer engagement, and our website is just one piece of that relationship.

I guess you could call this my final website project update, and so I should probably form some kind of conclusion. This is just the beginning. We have a lot more in store where the website is concerned. As clichéd as this may sound, it has been a long road. As with any project (especially internal ones), there have been some bumps along the way. Nothing insurmountable, but significant enough.

You might not believe me when I say what I’m about to (and I promise this isn’t me speaking from the marketing camp, but rather with my ‘client’ hat on). We have some really great staff, and that’s what has made the difference in the project, when I look back on it.

Technology itself will only take you so far. In bringing a solution to life, the technology is only as good as the people who shape it and make it useful to a specific, unique set of people (aka ‘users’).  So, on that note, I’d like to say thank you to everyone involved in shaping this site.

Now the true test begins.  And what better way to sign off than by sharing a few of the lessons learned along the way? 

  1. Put the right people on the job, from the start, and keep them there. It’s harder to get where you want to go when some of the moving parts are your own resources.
  2. Make time for content. Whether it’s in front of the TV at night or in a padded cell away from all the other demands on your time. And remember content isn’t just words; it’s pretty much everything that goes into what you see on a page. Take the time you think you’ll need and then triple it.
  3. Prepare for rework.
  4. Ask questions, all the time, even if everyone around you already knows the answers. Better to look stupid sooner than stupid later.
  5. Keep perspective, even in the darkest hours. At the end of the day, as important as it all is, it’s a website, not world peace. You’ll still need your sanity long after you’ve signed off on the finished site.

Posted by: Katy Sweetman, Marketing Director, Empired Group | 20 January 2010

Tags: Content, EPiServer, Web Content, website redevelopment

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