This week I've been working on building my website https://www.discoverandchange.com/ and it's been an interesting experience. My partner and I set a deadline to launch around Valentine's day and my school work is requiring me to launch my website on February 15th. Both deadlines are creating an enormous amount of pressure for me which has been good, but stressful.
The developer in my screams that I'm taking too many shortcuts or that things aren't ready. The business side of me is saying I need to get this done in time to market it. Normally I'd be building some of these components from scratch that will work out for me better long term, however, if I went that route I couldn't meet the two week deadline. Instead I'm using a lot of plugins and once again I'm just so impressed at the versatility that wordpress offers me. I know from having to write and modify wordpress plugins how absolutely awful the code quality is at times, yet the amount of functionality that is available at the click of a button has just been so wonderful to me. Even if I stick with the free versions I was able to get a drag and drop pricing table builder, a short code widget embedder, a complete FAQ system. Now some of these I know I could build a whole lot better and make them look better, yet it works and it looks ok for now. When the site is making money I can come back and make it an ever better user experience. That is one of the take away messages for me is rapid prototyping and test the idea out because there just isn't a lot of time to try to make things perfect.
For my assignments I had to go and review competitor websites and it was very interesting to see what they used and their design choices. One thing I took away from this is how important it is to have a direct prominent Call To Action on my site. Every site I reviewed had that. I was also surprised that every site had an FAQ and that it was mentioned as an important point for buyer's confidence to have one. I find this interesting as I have built dozens of websites for companies and I can only think of one or two where we had an FAQ and that was added more as an afterthought. I never really use them, so I was surprised to find that a lot of people place value in them.
I think the other thing that took me by surprise is how much my class mates valued and used paypal. I've always considered paypal to be a poor choice alternative as we have so much customer dropoff when we use paypal. Yet, most of my class mates from my discussion seemed to like and prefer paypal. Although from a site aesthetic design they all agreed the yellow buttons were pretty ugly. I'll have to consider leaving paypal as a payment option for my site because of this experience.