When we talk to clients about website development and creation, we understand it can feel daunting, confusing, and downright hard to wrap your head around. If you’ve never been behind the scenes of website development, you may have a hard time understanding how everything comes together to form the end product—your shiny new website. We find that using analogies can help translate the process to be on the same page about this essential business practice. Let’s talk about the website house analogy.
Has anybody else watched nearly every single episode of Property Brothers? Besides being wholesome and entertaining, it also exemplifies our house analogy perfectly. Two people, often a couple, reach out to the property bros for help finding a house.
One of the brothers, Drew, a realtor, takes them to their dream house only to reveal *gasp* it’s way over their budget, and they’re only there to gather inspiration. He guides them through their house search, showing them what is possible at their budget, and brings in his contractor brother, Jonathan, to tell them how he can renovate a fixer-upper to resemble the dream house that was out of reach.
Throughout the episode, we see how the original scope of work gets tweaked (yes, it sometimes happens), the unexpected lurks behind the 70-year-old drywall, and how the Scott brothers repeatedly remind the clients to trust them to execute their vision. The property bros collaborate with the clients, taking them to furniture, lighting, and home decor stores to get a sense of their taste and create a shared vision. You want to add a sliding door instead of the window in the dining room? Let’s look at the budget and see if we can find a way.
We also see how many people are involved in the renovation of a house. Engineers. Plumbers. Electricians. Realtors. Contractors. And even family members and friends helping a hand. It takes a village. And so does a website.
If you’ve ever created a website or rebranded a website, the ins, and outs of renovating a house a la Drew and Jonathan should sound familiar. If you haven’t, here’s where the scenarios overlap:
Drew and Jonathan represent the agency. They have experience. They do this every day. The clients are the clients. They come to the experts with a vision. Split-level. Semi-attached. Mid-century modern. High-performance. Referral programs. Automatic discounts. WordPress. Shopify integration.
Any developer will tell you website creation rarely goes according to plan. You hit walls and need to find creative solutions. Your initial plan hits snags, and there are always, always bugs to fix. Jonathan Scott knows this and treats unexpected repairs as inevitable. That’s why there’s a contingency.
But at the end of the process—after the sweat and sometimes tears, frustrated at first, happy at the end—there’s a beautiful house. Here are the keys to your website.
It’s a perfect analogy for website development. And that’s why we use it to help clients understand the process that will unfold while working with them to make their website vision a reality. Let’s talk about who is involved in website development.
There are many people involved in a website build, and they all play a role in bringing the website from foundation to house. Let’s talk about each of them and what their roles entail in the framework of our analogy.
Account Manager. The account manager functions like the realtor. They establish the relationship with the client and help define the vision. What kind of website are they looking for? What do they want it to do? What do they want it to look like? They help manage expectations and satisfaction. They communicate with the client at the beginning stages, the decision to make a website. Here’s what we can do for you. Here’s how our team members can create the website you want. The project manager also helps with vision definition, though focusing on communicating it to the agency team.
Project Manager. A project manager is like a general contractor—Jonathan Scott. Project managers set the timeline after consulting with their team members, they set milestones, they create the scope of work that defines the extent of the project, and they keep everything moving until your house is a home. They keep track of the planned and agreed-to components of the project. We’ve decided to put in a vaulted ceiling, we’re busting out the walls to create an open floor plan, and we know we’ll have to do asbestos abatement. In Agency World, it looks like this: we’ll build your website on WordPress, integrate it with Woocmmerce and your Mailchimp account, build a homepage and four additional web pages, and this will all take 10 weeks.
Website Developer. The developer or developers are the people that build the house—contractors and their staff, electricians, plumbers. They put together the nuts and bolts of the website. They make the website pieces that get covered with drywall—the beams, the joists, the pipes, the tubes, and the wiring.
Designer. The designer is like an architect. They help define what clients can do with their building, including what the floorplan can look like and what features the house may include. They work hand-in-hand with the developers to ensure what’s behind the walls works seamlessly with what’s inside the walls. Yes, we can refurbish your fireplace. We can’t increase the ceiling height in this room, but we can add accordion doors off your kitchen.
Copywriter. The copywriter is like an interior designer. Let’s compare and contrast. The website developer may help establish how to house the drainage system in the kitchen walls, for example. Simultaneously, the designer considers where the drainage pipes run and add white cabinets and a large kitchen island in a contrasting color. And the copywriter picks the artwork and moves in the dishes. They take it from an empty house to a place that feels like home.
Here’s where it gets interesting. There’s a lot of collaboration between the roles. The designer and the copywriter may discuss what dish set works best with the chosen style of cabinets. The designer may work with the developer to understand what kind of beam is going across the main level and how the team can cover it in an aesthetically pleasing way. Yes, we can encase it with wood to make it look like a stylish exposed beam. And the project manager regularly consults with and checks in with each team member for progress updates, challenges, and solutions to any snags.
Together, the team makes sure the website development process goes smoothly.
In our analogy, the website is a house. And the development process is akin to a new build or a renovation if we’re continuing our love for Property Brothers. Just as you can find a parallel with the people contributing to the work, you can see parallels between the work itself. Let’s break this down too.
The blueprint. Before you decide to build or renovate, you need blueprints for your house to establish how many stories it will be, what square footage you’ll have, and more. The same is true of a website. You need a blueprint for what you’re going to build.
The property. You can’t build a house just anywhere, and the same is true for a website. When you decide to build a website, you have to find a digital location to host it, kind of like purchasing land to build on. Website hosting services carve out space for your website to exist on the world wide web.
The address. You need a URL and domain name for your website. Think of your street address if you own a house. It’s how people will find you!
The studs. The studs are like your content management system (CMS), which helps you seamlessly organize the content on your website. You can add blogs, store images, and create new web pages easily, and without needing to be a website expert. We use WordPress for most of our websites. And like the studs, it provides the infrastructure for your website.
The rooms. In our analogy, the rooms are your web pages. Will you have an About Me page (recommended!)? Tabs for your blog and contact information? How will folks get to your product page?
The drywall. It’s common during website development for the designers to create wireframes before building your website. These are visual representations—layouts—for how your website will look once it’s finished. They are the building blocks for the external-facing part of your website.
The design. This one is the most obvious. A designer picks the colors, fonts, and images to adorn your website. They do the same in a house—paint colors, wallpaper patterns, cabinet style, door style, and beyond.
The decor. Once your house is ready to move into, you have to bring all of your stuff—furniture, dishes, toiletries, candles, artwork, and rugs. The copywriters put these final touches on the website, adding text to the places outlined in the wireframes. They add calls to action, compelling headings, and subheadings that encourage your visitors to explore further.
The locks. An SSL certificate is like a good, sturdy lock on the door to your house. In website terms, it encrypts internet traffic and verifies server identity. Essentially, it lets visitors to your website know they can share their information—email addresses, payment information, etc.—safely. It’s basically a security feature.
The housewarming party. Once you build your website, it’s ready to launch. Everybody involved eagerly awaits the moment you go live and show your new site to the world. It’s worth celebrating, once you make sure you don’t have any major bugs.
And just like there are increasingly creative solutions for building houses, there are just as many innovative solutions for streamlining the website development process. For example, we use an Express Website Theme to create your new website in record time. Get in touch with us, and we can tell you all about it.
THE END RESULT
When you partner with us to create a website, you’ll have an experienced team behind your design, development, and content. And just like renovating a house, developing a website takes time, planning, and flexibility. But when you see the result, you’ll have a website that meets your needs and speaks to your audience. With this solid foundation, you can start inviting people over for a housewarming. And once they see how amazing your place is, you’ll become the designated community hangout. The best houses (and websites!) are welcoming, easy to navigate, and beautifully designed and written. Let’s build you one!
Caitlin Lead Copywriter
Caitlin Knudsen is a writer, editor, and food photographer based in the Midwest. With a background in nursing and decades spent writing, she is a published eBook author and knows a thing or two about communicating complex concepts in easy-to-understand language. Caitlin spends her free time developing gluten-free recipes, reading psychology books, and wrangling two pugs and a Dutch rabbit.more posts by Caitlin →
Content Marketing, Digital Marketing, Websites
Content Marketing, Small Business
SEO, Content Marketing
SEO, Content Marketing
Content Marketing, Small Business
Content Marketing, Digital Marketing