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Big Budget, Low Quality… Why?

I am not that creative…
I don’t use Photoshop well…
I rarely create something with gloss…

But I don’t have a HUGE budget, either!

So tell me this…

With large hotel tax budgets, why are so many of the websites for official cities, counties and states just not up to step with current trends or even visual appeal?

When I want to redesign a website and I can’t hire a professional to do it for me, I search for similar websites to find trends and examples.   Note: I work better in the backend of a website than the front.

Just now, I got tired of searching through official state/city/county websites around the US for nice examples of design – rated for 2010!

Maybe I am wrong about all states and localities getting revenue from taxes (like the 4% hotel tax in PA that specifically goes to tourism related organizations).  Maybe they don’t have the budget.

What is so bad about the sites?

I see too many examples of crammed design – small, narrow websites, with small text and no spacing for the copy.  Images that are small and boxed in.  Hard to read, too much going on.  Maybe there is just that much to tell.

How often should sites be updated or redesigned?  Is that the budget restraint?

Why Am I Ranting?

Yeah, why am I ranting?  Well, I get slightly jealous when I see these designs that I know I can’t even come close to duplicating.  I tear my hair out (ok, the hair has been gone for years) trying to replicate something even close!

I am ranting because I know the budgets of these organizations.  I know the prices that some of these design firms are charging.  And I think that the touring, visiting, hungry citizens (that pay for this) are getting shortchanged.

They are not all bad…

True – I am really looking for cutting edge design in these sites, or at least an update.  I guess the toughest part for most sites that I visited – is that I started with the site I feel sets the best example:  Visit Philly.com

Q: Am I setting my expectations too high? Let me know in the comments below…

Dealing with Projects

The Dilemma

I have  a dilemma…  I run quite a few websites as you know if you have read this site.  All of them need work, either in maintenance or upgrades.  I guess I have more of a problem than a dilemma.  I can’t stay focused because I like all of them.

I am only talking about the ones that get maintenance or need work, because there are others…  and those are in a dark place… poor lost websites!  But that is another story.  Right now, I never seem to complete ideas or tasks.  And now I feel like I am beating myself up a little, since there are things that I have done and am doing rather consistently.

The Solution?

I know what I did to solve the task that I am now doing consistently, a To-Do list.  I knew about Remember the Milk, but I didn’t use it at all.  Now, on a recurring schedule (depending on the task), I get an email reminder, to do the task that I set up.  This works well for tasks I want to complete each week or month, but what about the big projects?

There are 3, 4 current ideas and redevelopments that I am trying to get accomplished.  Each has potential to bring in more revenue if accomplished.  Most of these are hard though and will take hours to complete.  My time is limited due to a large commute and long ‘regular’ working day, so daily hours are not very available.  On the weekend, if no major project occurs, I may have 8 hours (non-continuous) to spend on a project.

I think the real problem is that even when I have a plan laid out for the final result, I am not comfortable enough to put in the work for fear that my plan was not good, or doesn’t design as well as it did on paper, or is (temporarily) technologically over my head.  So then I procrastinate, then I get sidetracked, and then all the time I did have, is gone.

Fear of Failure

Perhaps “fear of failure” is the real cause holding me back from completing some of these projects.  In some cases, it also feels overwhelming when I think of the amount of work that needs to be done (1 project in particular).

So – many people hit this wall…what have you done to overcome this?  Let me know!

An Update 02/22/2010

The Remember the Milk idea worked great through January – and also with little one time tasks that I am adding.  However, the recurring ones are getting stuck.  Now I know that I need to add 4 Festival Listings and 3 Attractions to current websites, but they now sit there as a nag.  Will I get them done and get caught up with my goal of one additional listing (per site/each week)?  Yeah, probably, but that task list is getting longer!