Vermont Women’s Business Center: Making a website in a handful of hours.

One of my recent “Take Gahlord to Lunch” clients was the Vermont Women’s Business Center. They were in a tough situation with their website. Hackers had managed to destroy their existing website leaving them with no way to update their constituents about upcoming events.

Redesign and development of a website without the benefit of planning for it, both for time and finances, is challenging for any organization–for-profit or non-profit. I was particularly happy to help out.

We made a new website for Vermont Women’s Business Center over the course of two lunch meetings. Here’s how:

  1. At our first lunch, I got a sense of the specific business needs of VWBC: promoting live events and workshops throughout Vermont.
  2. At the end of the lunch we each had a task list. I gave VWBC a specific set of instructions for their tech liaison so that I’d have the access to do the things needed to get them rolling with a new website.
  3. Before our second lunch, I spent a little bit of time doing basic web configuration stuff and doing a basic WordPress install.
  4. Meanwhile, the VWBC did a great job of writing up all the content they needed to have on the site and emailed it to me.
  5. At our second lunch we looked over the content and talked about how it should be organized (aka website architecture).
  6. I taught the VWBC how to enter their content into WordPress so they can now update their own site without having to pay someone every time they add a new event.

Clients make all the difference when it comes to a successful website

Now, not every organization can put together a website in a handful of hours like this. There were some things that Linda Ingold and her staff did that made this possible:

  • Super-organized web content: VWBC took the assignment of writing out the content for their website very seriously. They did a good job of organizing it ahead of our second lunch so we could really hit the ground running.
  • Honest assessment of what was most important: VWBC kept the objective of the website as the main focus and didn’t add anything that was extraneous. Even things we might normally think of as “standard” on a website they left off–this results in less work for us all but also a very focused user experience on their website. This is a hard thing to do for many organizations and Linda and her team rocked this.
  • Focus on function: When you see the website it probably looks familiar because the core code framework is the same as the Thoughtfaucet site. I know from reviewing my analytics that the “plain Thoughtfaucet site” is valued by many visitors for being clean and easy to navigate. The VWBC felt good about spending our time together focusing on the core business objectives and function of the site for now, knowing they can always change the design later.

These three things take a lot of courage and skill on the part of a client. Successful projects only happen when everyone is focused on the business objectives. Vermont Women’s Business Center was and that made their two-lunch website work out well for everyone.

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