Managing common, popular, niche, and custom needs

When you're in the business of building websites - whether large or small - after building a few, you inevitably start to see patterns that you wish you could automate.

After all, any techie hates doing the same thing twice - that's the beauty of computers - they let us automate repeatitous activities. However, as web designers, we must make sure that we meet the needs of our clients.

I have found in my experience that as time goes on, technology standardizes and people tend to become quite satisfied with the common "best practice", as long as their unique needs are also met.

Yet, even with the emergence of wonderful Web CMS platforms like WordPress, Joomla!, Drupal, and others that have taken care of automating so much for us already, there still remains a great deal of the same things we need to do for each client.

At U7 Solutions, we have wrapped our heads around this problem for the last 5 years and have figured out a structure and approach that sure seems to alleviate the pain of repetition. And in doing so, we're discovering a great deal of advantages to working this way! Here's a breakdown of the setup we use to deliver our client websites:


This is where all the basic needs of clients are met. Every website owner wants a contact form, a FAQ system, the ability to post pages, testimonials, photo albums, and more. There are quite a lof of common needs. Any of those items can generally be done the same way and clients are more than ok with accepting the best practice approach on any of these common elements. This is great for us web developers, because we can benefit from economies of scale and provide everyone with a better service and quality product this way.


There are also best practices that can be used for website features that many people want, but certainly not everyone needs or wants things like blogging, newsletters, shopping carts, user memberships, and more. These are features we sell as a premium, but build and manage in a standardized fashion. Anyone who wants to blog or send newsletters will get the same package of functionality and in our experience, everyone is again willing to accept the best practice way of doing these.


Then you get into industry-specific areas. If you run an art gallery or a movie cinema or a restaurant, you'll typically want all common items, want a few  popular items, but most definitely need something tailored to your business processes. As an art gallery, you'll need the ability to create artwork, artists, and exhibitions at the very least. As a movie cinema, you'll need the ability to post movies with detailed info on movie descriptions with metadata and showtimes. As a restaurant, you'll need the ability to post your menus and possibly even allow online bookings. These are niche features, where again best practice is most often acceptable. Art galleries have the same needs, cinemas too, and restaurants as well. 


Each client site is made to feel unique through look and feel and custom functionality for those truly unique requirements. It's quite amazing how adding custom colors, font styles, spacing, logos, and graphics can turn two websites built upon the same combination of common, popular, and niche features into completely unique experiences. Adding custom functionality on top of this package can help your client meet all of their requirements.

Many web designers treat each website as an entirely unique undertaking which, in my opinion, takes a lot more time, costs the client more money, and makes the website a lot harder to maintain, sustain, and evolve.

By developing an infrastructure to standardize common, popular, and niche features, we can save time, make more profit while offering affordable pricing, provide a higher quality product, reduce turnaround times, and ensure a longer term sustainability for our clients.

It's certainly not easy to setup, but if your in it for the long run, and can maintain the discipline required, it sure is worthwhile.

Another U7 Solutions - Web-based solutions to everyday business problems. solution.