All Things Are Created Twice, Including Websites

website design, creation, imagination, visionIn 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey writes, “All things are created twice; first mentally; then physically.”

This principle extends to websites…

…or at least it should.

Every website should start with a vision

The first step in the creation of any website, should be to envision the end result.  However, often this step is skipped.

  • Sometimes there’s a rush to get the site done and the developer skips right to implementation.
  • Sometimes someone else’s vision – often vague and poorly defined – is forced on the person responsible for the website.
  • Sometimes the person responsible for the website simply assumes their website should be X, Y & Z and doesn’t realize there is the opportunity to imagine and dream about the end result.

Take some time to dream

Do you have a vision for your website?  Have you created your website the first time – the mental creation?  If not, stop and take some time to dream.

  • Read the vision statement for your organization…
  • Close your eyes and imagine what that looks like…
  • Now imagine how your website fits into that vision…
  • If you’re vision includes connecting with new people through your website, imagine what they look like, sitting at their computers. Imagine what they’re searching for…
  • Imagine what the first impression is like when they first see your website…
  • Imagine the content – text, images, audio and/or video – they are seeing or hearing that is helping them in one way or another…
  • Imagine them taking the next step.  What is that next step?  Filling out a contact form?  Visiting your church on a Sunday morning?  Chatting with a counselor through your site?  Connecting with you and others in your organization through Facebook?
  • Imagine what that looks like on your site… the call to action, the form, the chat window, the Facebook widget, or whatever you have in mind…
  • Write all of this down so it stays clear.

Unless you are the only person in your organization, the creation of the vision doesn’t end there. You’ll need to share it with others, get feedback, make adjustments. Perhaps you’ll need to cast your vision to leaders above you and get buy in from them.  But the first step is always to have a clear vision for what you would like your website to be.

Have you taken the time to create your website mentally?  Do you have a vision for your site?  If so, share that in a comment.  And share the process you used to develop it.

photo by: h.koppdelaney

Paul Steinbrueck is co-founder and CEO of OurChurch.Com, elder of CypressMeadows.org, husband, father of 3, blogger. You can follow him on Twitter at @PaulSteinbrueck and add him to your circles at Google+ as +Paul Steinbrueck.

2 Responses to “All Things Are Created Twice, Including Websites”

  1. Great perspective on web development Paul. The difference from websites that flourish and websites that fail is in the planning and preparation. How much time, thought, and energy you put into the foundation will have an impact on the end result.

  2. Great post Paul. Im amazed at how often I help people with websites and they've got no idea what they actually want. I reckon you can't underestimate how important the planning phase of websites is.