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You know those times where you think about what you would tell yourself if you could go back in time and give your younger self some much needed advice? Well, this post is what I would say to my nineteen year old self. So, hop in your time machine and lets get some guidance.

1: WEB DESIGN IS NOT ART, IT IS A TOOL

I was so hung up on the art, that I totally neglected the very reason I built the website: Getting clients to contact me. It is easy for anyone to get fooled by this, even if you are a business owner. Sometimes it is tempting to dictate all the details of how the website looks, when the real reason you are having it built is not to be an attractive homepage for your staff, but to generate leads and sales.

You are much better off deciding what your goal is (eg: generating more leads) and then create a website that will accomplish that goal, regardless of whether you think it is pretty or not.

2: YOU CAN’T BE A HERO

I was so sure that I could be the unicorn… that rare guy who could be good enough at everything to succeed in the web industry, but guess what? I was sorely disappointed. Doing everything poorly was not nearly as smart as doing one thing well and working with others who also excelled in their own areas.

By the way, it was this realisation that led to the formation of Farbox and totally changed everything.
This principle is true for every business. Don’t try and do everything, pick one thing and do it well, then work with others to fill in the gaps.

3: DATA IS YOUR FRIEND

I have always loved looking at analytics, but I never realized how important data was until much later. Collecting and rightly interpreting data can mean the success or failure of your business. You can gain insights about your market, what they are looking at, and what they are interested in. This will then tell you how you can reach them. A/B Testing will tell you what marketing works best, and how you should handle your new leads.

4: CONTENT IS KING

Finally, I wish I had understood sooner the link between good quality content and online success. Content is, in a very real way, the currency of the internet and I spent too long ignoring that fact, building beautiful websites with the naïve idea that if I built a beautiful website the perfect people will visit it.

But guess what?

They don’t.

You need give them a reason to come, a reason to stay and a reason to care about your business and awesome content is the way you do that.

But now it is time to get back into the time machine and come back to the present day. I hope the lessons I learned the hard way help you to learn them the easy way.

If you could go back in time and talk to a younger version of yourself, what advice would you give? Tell me in the comments.