Maintaining a Website Should Be Boring
Like most web developers, you're an adrenaline junky. You crave the rush of the launch. You crave the last-minute crush and crunch of getting code ready for go-live. But once the site launches and you get all those tweets, then what happens? You get bored and you fade out. But the boring part is where all the fun is.
I used to expect that marriage would be boring. I thought that settling down meant settling into lameness. I thought that growing into middle age would usher me into a life of mediocrity or milktoast or beige. I was wrong. When you commit to giving something a great deal of your time you open yourself to depth. You create the conditions for cultivating and experiencing flow states and excellence in craft.
I belong to the first generation of web developers. I'm part of a cohort that grew up professionally as builders of the web. When we were young, in our 20's and early 30's we wanted novelty, disruption, fanfare, flash, excitement. We wanted to build and launch over and over again. But now we have kids. Some of those kids are websites we launched long ago but continue to maintain. Some of those kids are actual human children. In both cases, they thrive and flourish when we provide them with a stable, reliable and dependable foundation.
There's something qualitatively different about something that you build carefully and release slowly with the intent of nurturing it over a long period of time. It has depth, nuance, character. It also has value. And that value continues to accrue as time wears on.
A website should be reliable. It should always be on. It should always be fast. It should always speak directly to the customer for whom it is intended. It should not confuse, befuddle, or distract. A reliable website is reliable in the way it allows a customer with a need to flow smoothly and unimpeded toward the resolution of that need. A reliable website generates revenue reliably. It's boring. And it's great.
How do you achieve this state? How do you arrive at web boredom? You start with you. You have to be reliable. You have to be boring.
"Man that Mike! He's so boring. He shows up every day, on time, prepared, and ready to work. He's healthy. He has a positive attitude. He reads and contributes. He's not a jerk. He cares for others. He's kind. Ugh! He's so boring!"
The product of your work can only truly be reliable if you are reliable. This applies especially when your work product is actually a service. When multiple teams count on you to execute and deliver, when marketing teams, IT teams, leadership teams, boards of directors, and legions of VP's all depend on you to deliver - boring is one of your greatest assets.
I don't know if being exciting helps you get clients, but I definitely know that being boring helps you keep them.