Websites and Marathons – 5 Surprising Similarities

With less than a week to go before my next marathon, I can now look back and remember why it takes 18 weeks to train for such an event.  My heart is conditioned, my muscles are acclimated, and my mind is accepting of the long road ahead.  It has not been an easy journey; however, the trials and tribulations make it all the sweeter.  This winter has been the coldest in decades for the DC area.  Fitting in the long runs around the kids’ schedules has been logistically challenging.  The shorter days have limited the scenic routes I would normally venture.  And Ironistic’s prosperity has been capitalizing more time than anticipated.

One of the perks of a long run is that I am afforded the opportunity to think without being interrupted – hard to find these days, so I definitely take advantage of it when I can.  As a result, I have discovered that the process clients endure while creating an online presence is comparable to the training, and then running, of a marathon

1. Initial enthusiasm

The moment you make a decision to sign up for a marathon, you are on top of the world.  An item on your Bucket List is about to be checked off; a feat that less than 1% of the US population has accomplished will be yours; a goal that provides your workouts a sense of purpose has been established; and you get to buy those fluorescent shoes you see everyone wearing.  Does life get any better than this?

Similarly, finally deciding to take the leap and introduce (or reintroduce) yourself to the world (wide web) jolts your emotions.  You cannot wait to google your name and see your website appear; legitimize your business and provoke confidence in your potential clients; reveal your beautiful website and witness your viewer’s amazement.  When do you start signing autographs?

2. Timelines

website timeline scheduleYou soon absorb the fact that marathons are 26.2 miles long!  Now the less-than-1% is starting to make more sense.  You don’t get discouraged though, because you understand lofty goals are merely a series of less daunting hurdles.  So, you search the internet for a training schedule and start mapping out the road ahead.

Who knew there was so much to a website?  Between envisioning the layout, finding the perfect images, creating meaningful content, building the backend functionality, making the front-end user friendly,… you need to stay focused.  It is best to generate milestones and due dates so everyone involved knows when their expected tasks need to be accomplished.  With many tasks dependent on others, it is imperative to stay on schedule, especially if a hard deadline is set.

3. Much effort

With your new-goal-adrenaline pumping, the early weeks of training are a breeze.  However, as the weeks progress, your runs become harder and longer.  You find that more effort is needed to stay focused on the short and long term goals ahead, to tackle the extra mileage, to convince your mind that this is still a great idea, to incorporate more stretching and strength training, and to healthily replenish your body after all you are putting it through.  Training has become much harder than anticipate, but you do not waiver (most of the time).

The contract has been signed and the time schedule has been set, now you can relax, right?  Not exactly.  You can relax knowing that you are off to a great start with a fully defined plan of attack; however, you still need to execute it.  Even if someone else (let’s say Ironistic, for example) is tasked with the design and development of your site, you still need to provide the content, opinions, and approvals.  While this might not sound like much, it is!  With a new or refurbished site, you want fresh content and eye-catching imagery.  Creating just the right mix requires more effort than you planned, resulting in schedule delays.  In order to get back on track, you need to re-allocate your time and focus more on your site.

4. Pride and Joy

Rita Foss, Ironistic CEO and CO-Founder, with her son. The medal is much heavier than you imagined, but you proudly wear it everywhere you go.  All those hours running and stretching paid off to the point that you forget about any bad runs you had along the way.  Nothing could ruin the joy you feel for not only setting this lofty goal, but for successfully executing it as well.  Life is good!

Launch day has finally arrived.  Those late nights tweaking content and reviewing designs and functionality has really paid off.  An impromptu celebration is in order for the entire company, even if it is only you.  You proudly add your URL to your signature block in your email in hopes everyone will take the time to visit this vision of beauty.

5. Maintain Momentum

just-runNow that your marathon has been conquered, you envision more time to focus on other responsibilities that you may have been putting off during training.  As you start checking items off your to-do list, you realize something is missing in your life…running.  Everything you gained physically, mentally, and spiritually from training is too important to lose, so you sign up for another, shorter, race.  Smaller goals help you maintain the momentum you gained from a task you once thought was impossible.

If you build it, they will come, right?  Wrong!  Creating and launching a site guarantees nothing, well, except a sense of accomplishment.  With over 600 million websites out there, you need to market your site so people can find it.  Some of the search engine optimization techniques are incorporated during the design and development phase; however, a great deal more is necessary on a continual basis.  Maintaining fresh content through blogs and posts, creating and engaging in relationships through social media, and conducting email campaigns with current and potential clients are some examples of the many online marketing techniques to consider.  Sounds daunting, so do not hesitate to ask for help.  A little help can go a long way!

Whether you are thinking of running a marathon or improving your web presence, Ironistic is here to help.  Please do not hesitate to contact us.

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