Over the weekend I re did my “company” website. If you’ve visited before you’ll notice that Grand Rapids Web is completely overhauled. As I was working on this site I thought of some of the mistakes that I was making and that I had seen other web design companies I had worked with in the past make.
When you are a web designer your portfolio is of vital importance. Whether it’s your personal one and you are looking to get hired by a web design company. Or it’s your company’s portfolio and you are looking to get hired by a client. I feel that the most important site in your portfolio is your own. If your site doesn’t look good then your potential clients probably won’t think much of your skills. Even if you have a lot of other good examples in your portfolio. Your own site is going to mean more then these other sites. Secondly chances are your site is the tool you are using to display these other projects in your portfolio. So if this website that is functioning as the background to your display looks bad then it is going to bring down their opinion of all your work.
However often times for a web design company your own site takes back seat to the projects of paying clients. If you are busy with work then it’s not hard to understand why. Your site is an investment in your company and a tool to help attract new business. If you are busy then you may feel that you don’t need to fix what’s not broken because you are already getting more work then you can handle.
If you really are that busy then there may be some truth to that. But web design and development is all about adapting. Can you think of any fields outside of technology that have changed as quickly as web design? If the medical field had made these kind of advancements over the last 15 years we’d all be living to be 300 years old. This is such a young field and companies go from cutting edge to obsolete so fast. So you must always maintain a fresh well designed and functionally website.
On the other end of the spectrum of problems for web design companies is treating your website like a sandbox environment. This was the problems I realized I was guilty of the other day. You want to have the latest cutting edge website. You want to make sure everyone sees you are at the forefront of web design trends. And you don’t want to mess up the project of a paying client. So you test these new scripts. Or WordPress themes or whatever you are using, on your own website. However as I have said your website is what you use to bring in these paying clients. If you release a website that is displaying error messages. Broken links. Isn’t responsive etc… How does this make you look as a web designer and developer?
Try to stay up to date on current web design trends. Make sure that you treat your company (or personal website) as the most important in your portfolio but keeping it fresh and modern. But realizing that this isn’t your test environment. Keep one or more non “live” sites available for testing these new themes, scripts or whatever you are using to develop you site. Go a head and try some crazy color scheme or images. But keep it private till you have had time to review it and make sure everything looks good and is full functionally.