Mr. Spencer Brooks with Brooks Digital talks about Agile Website Redesign

In this week's Industrial Talk Podcast we're talking to Spencer Brooks, Founder and Principal of Brooks Digital about “Website redesigns don't have to be complicated, frustrating or messy – Welcome to Agile Website Redesign”.  Get the answers to your “Agile Website Redesign” questions along with Spencer's unique insight on the “How” on this Industrial Talk interview!

Finally, get your exclusive free access to the Industrial Academy and a series on “Why You Need To Podcast” for Greater Success in 2020. All links designed for keeping you current in this rapidly changing Industrial Market. Learn! Grow! Enjoy!


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Welcome to the industrial talk podcast with Scott MacKenzie. Scott is a passionate industry professional dedicated to transferring cutting edge industry focused innovations and trends while highlighting the men and women who keep the world moving. So put on your hard hat, grab your work boots, and let's go, Hey there, welcome to industrial talk, where we celebrate industrial heroes such as yourself, you are bold, you're brave, you dare greatly you solve problems, you're changing lives, and you're changing the world. As we speak this very moment. That's why we celebrate you on this podcast, we have a gentleman by the name of Spencer Brooks. And we're going to be talking a little bit about nimble, nimble or agile website redesign. And I think right now, that is a great topic to have. So let's get our car rack in.


So we're going through a homepage redesign as we speak. And that just begs the question of what you want to try to do, what do you want to go with your website? How do you want to engage individuals on the website? What do you want to do? And I mean, those are great questions to ask. And especially in this sort of post, new world that we live in, I think it's a great, great opportunity to be able to just ask specific questions. Now.


With that said, with that said,


I am going to talk a little bit and if you're out there on the video, if you just listen to the podcast, you listen to podcasts, that's fine. Picture, picture, what I've got an engagement quadrant, because I'm going to ask these questions. And this is what you have to start thinking about.


When you start developing content, and we've been doing that for the past, whatever contents everything right, you get it out there, you get that attention, you want to be able to engage people, and you want to be able to get their feedback, and you want to hopefully open up doors for opportunities. Now. I've put together this engagement quadrant and what it just does. So you have four areas quadrant, right? And to the right and to the top. The top is great content, right? So at the top great content, what is that it solves problems? It answers questions, right? It's short, it is relevant to today's challenges. To the right of that our max entertainment. Is it humanized? Is it fun. So if you combine something with great content that is also entertaining, then you have a greater opportunity to engage, right? It just makes sense. It's but but if you look at the quadrant to the left, if you have sort of a sort of a lazy type of entertainment, it's boring. sameness, doesn't set itself apart. And the poor content is like, hey, it's all about us. It's an infomercial, you're not helping anybody, you're not trying to solve problems, you're just saying, hey, it's us, then your engagement, the opportunity to engage the time that people are engaged on your content, right? is limited. If any, right? I'll be the first to admit, if I see something that is boring in the same and it's like an infomercial, I'm zipping right by, and I'm sure a lot of other people are doing the same. But if I see content that is truly relevant to today, solving problems, that is human and entertaining, then me my time to be able to learn increases. And within that's the bottom line, we want to help people learn because we're all about that education, collaboration and innovation. And you can't do that without that education and learning. So if you're out there on the video, you see the little quadrants, you see it if you're out there on podcast, you sort of get the picture but I'll have it at industrial talk comm you just sort of download it. Every time you create that particular you know your your content, think about those components. And I and and really, it'll improve now. Let's get on with the interview. So we're going through a industry, industrial talk to Dotto is happening. And we want to make it easier for you to get information, we want to make sure that it's easy for you to get it and it's entertaining, so that you consume it and that you know what are better and we're highlighting the best within industry. And we're able to do that because we're going through another redesign. It's and


with, with this one agile website redesign and what Spencer brings to the table is a really nice approach to be able to do


It's not overwhelming. It's not. It's not, you know, a big job. It's just an incremental approach to be able to


change and give you a little bit of fresh perspective on your website. Because sometimes we just get a little old we get a little lacks and right now is not the time. All right. He is the founder and CEO of Brooks digital. He brings a lot of street cred when it comes to this particular topic. We've got a lot of information out there and we're going to be talking about agile


redesign of your website. So enjoy. Spencer, welcome to the industrial talk podcast. Thank you very much for finding time in your busy schedule, schedule. And to join the wonderful, absolutely wonderful listeners of industrial talk. How you doing? Hey, Scott, I'm doing awesome today. Thank you for having me. I'm excited to share what I can with the listeners. I like it. I like your setup. You got I mean, you really sound good.


Thank you. Right That's that's always what I want to hear. You do? broadcast voice? I tried man you write on it. You got your your windsock you got everything happening. There you your five by five. All right, for the listeners out there. Spencer, give us a little background on who you are. Sure, yeah, well, I run a company called Brooks digital. We're a digital agency. So we build websites, mainly for nonprofits who focus on a particular disease or disorder like diabetes, cancer, things like that. And we do that by taking a particular approach an agile approach to doing that, which sort of prioritizes responding to change, and adapting to, especially in the healthcare industry, and things like that things change very rapidly. So we want to take an approach with online, the website and digital presence that can adapt to that changing environment. So that's, that's what we specialize in. Alright, listeners, you're saying to yourself, Scott, how come you have this gent on the industrial talk podcast, because you need to hear about agile websites, you have to understand that your website is well questionable. And there is a way of being able to take that questionable website and put it into a way that can definitely be an asset to your business. Because that's what's real important. You're in it. Don't come to me and say, Scott, that's not important. It is important. I'm just here to tell you. And when Spencer connected with me about agile website redesign, I just said, yeah, that's important. And industry needs to hear about it. Who I'm worn out by yelling at everybody. That's if they really care. No, you do you need to care. So let's, let's define a little bit about what agile website, what does that mean? What are we doing? Yeah, that's a good, it's a good question, Scott. So with that, I mean, without giving the entire history lesson, no one needs to take notes here. Right. But the idea with with agile website redesign is maybe back, I don't know, 20 years ago, there's a group of software developers and they noticed a problem that they would take years to develop some sort of digital product. And by the time all those years had passed, the product that they had developed, the piece of software was no longer relevant anymore, because the problem had changed. Or the industry had changed. And they said, you know, this isn't working, we can't, we can't spend 235 years trying to figure out and build something, and then launch it. And our assumptions are totally off. So the idea with agile came about because they said, and it's true with website development, with software development with product development, they said, We need a way to build something that's rather complicated in a way that we can actually change and adapt that on the fly to the market conditions to even our own knowledge about what it is that we need, and and adapt that so we can track a moving target. So that's in a nutshell, what agile is about is about prioritizing change and responsiveness during the process of developing a website, either. So just putting a pin in the ground. Yeah, so here I am. I'm an industrial guy. And I've got a company. And we've been in business for many years. And I've got that unfortunate problem called legacy thinking. And this is how we always do it. And this is what


the what I've seen in this pandemic is, of course, a situation where it would have been great to have a great website at this particular time to be able to facilitate hopefully some commerce or whatever it might be, is if I have a website and I'm My mind is like, I'm about 10 years behind.


Can you take us through a sort of a step by step approach to what that might look like? Her? Yeah. So if you're if you're already


behind the ball a little bit right now, I mean, first year, your, your sense of you said a little bit. I'm saying that there's a lot of people behind the ball quite a bit. All right. Yeah. So okay, so you're way behind the ball and you know, you're waiting on the ball. Don't stop pedal this right. Okay, there you go. Yeah, that's right. Okay, I'll be straight here. So yeah, I think the first thing that you need to realize is, number one, you don't have to do this whole thing at once you might have a big you might have, it could be a big project to think about, it could it's frankly, it's overwhelming to think about this, you could go Oh, man, like, I don't even want to open that can of worms and you shove it, you know, in a folder somewhere that you don't open for a year. Just remember, you don't have to do all this at once. The great thing about a website is that you're not it's it's not like you're constructing a building that you can't, it's very difficult to change this, you can, you can change your website every day or every second, it's it's flexible, it's malleable. And so you can launch a first version of it. And it doesn't have to be a complicated first version. And the next day, the next week, the next month, you can go and add something else to it. So if you're in that position, just First of all, no, you don't have to, you don't have to do it all at once. So once you commit to that mindset of saying, I don't have to launch the ultimate version of whatever I want my website to be right up front. And you can just focus on prioritizing your most the most important things that that the website should do for your business. And then after you launch it, then you can just work your way down the list and continue to add stuff and add more features that might be important or respond to changing market conditions and things like that. So I like that incremental approach. And it's sort of it really I mean,


it can be done. And I think that, from my perspective, listening to what you had to say, because I'm going through a redesign with my particular website, and of course, I'm sitting there going, well, it's got to be all or nothing. But you've just changed my view, I could get it. I get it to a warm and fuzzy position and boom, and then I could continue to add to it, I would imagine, correct me if I'm wrong.


Strategically, you don't want to put yourself in a bind. So it's sort of incrementally you can just keep on adding, I like that. Absolutely. The thing about websites is it can be surprisingly complex. Once you actually get into the details, it seems like Oh, sure. It's simple. I want a homepage, right. And then you realize that every single thing that's on that homepage, you've got to decide how it's going to be displayed and how it's going to be managed on the back end and all the rules about it. And you just spiral into a black hole. And so in that complexity, just mushrooms, the more stuff you add. So the real the key to taming the madness there is to to get very disciplined about chopping out all the things that you say, you know what we're going to deal with that later, and prioritize in a small bucket of things. And knowing that by saying no, right now, it's not like you're saying no, forever, you're just saying you're saying yes to that later on. And that's a big deal, because you can get totally overwhelmed. That is huge. I'm just telling you, that's a that's a great way of approaching the situation. So when when you're in a when you're you're engaged, Spencer, and when you're engaged, how do you? Do you have that conversation with clients and saying, okay, there's your, here's your existing website, or we need a website, let's just say we're doing with an existing website, you look at it, and then you start to have that conversation correct with your clients? Absolutely. Yeah. And so usually, there's some combination of my existing website is terrible, and it doesn't work, it's broken, it looks bad. All these things, usually, it's a combination of things that need to be fixed. And then also some aspirational things like, you know, I want to I want to add all these, these new features to help you support my business and to help to help grow it. And so it's this hodgepodge big melting pot of all these different things. And so I think, honestly, the first step is, in order to prioritize, you got to know what your priorities are. And so sitting down and saying, All right, like, what's if your website had a job description, if it was a person that was employed, 24, seven that never ate, and that never slept? And it just worked for you? And what is the job description of that website? What is it supposed to do? What are the most important


responsibilities and functions, and then that I think it helps clarify the key outcomes that the website should be delivering on and then you can use those outcomes and that way of thinking to start structuring and making priority calls about what should be included in the website for the first version. And so you have to develop a framework around which to prioritize before you can start making those decisions. Okay, a couple of things, listeners.


Keep note of it could be done incrementally. So don't come to me and say, Scott, I've got a website, but I can't do it. Don't come to me. It can be done incrementally think through that. The other one I really like, is job description for your website. That to me is an interesting, I like that. I like the incremental approach. I like that job subscription. That to me brings it down to the level that I can understand. I don't have to sit there at chirp tech talk. I can say, No, I want my website to do this. That's the job description. I like it. Why for industrial? The listeners hear of industrial talk, why is it important to have a good website?


I think if you go just go out anywhere, right? Scott, if you go out here in line at Starbucks, look around at all of the people in line at Starbucks, you know it or outside and take a guess at what they're looking at their heads, their heads, yeah. And they're looking at a screen, they're looking at a screen. And so I think from a marketing perspective, it's very important to just even culturally pay attention to where people are paying attention, and they're all paying attention to their screens. I think the I don't have a hard stat on this, the average person is spending hours a day on their iPhone, it's like multiple hours, literally. Yeah. And if you look at your own phone, you know, you can enable screen time on your on your iPhone, if you have one. Just look at how much time you spend staring at a screen. And you want to be where people are directing their attention. And so that's the I think one of the the biggest compelling reasons why you need a good website is because frankly, people are spending hours a day in front of their screen for and to simplify it. What is a good website? What is what's, how do you? Like? You know, I've been on our websites, and I'm not sure if it's good or bad. I don't even know if mine is good or bad. What what what drives a good website? Yeah, that's I mean, that is a key question. I think, first and foremost, a good website is going to, it's going to generate a couple of key outcomes. First of all, it's going to generate awareness for for your organization. So it's going to get eyeballs on you. So people are going to come and visit it, I think that's the first function of a good website is that it's delivering people to it. And then it is converting them at some to some kind of further engagement with you. So that could be signing up for an email list. It could be filling out a contact form or some sort of interest, like I want to have a sales conversation, and things like that. And then it's providing the resources that facilitate that process. So if you want to get someone's attention, and you want them to reach out, you know about working with you, then you that website needs to have the right information to address common concerns, you address objections and to deliver a person to you that, that as a lot of that information already answered, so it makes your job easier. So I think a website really has to facilitate that process of taking a stranger, getting them to understand that your organization exists to get familiar with you, and get common questions and objections answered, and then ultimately have them take whatever action it is that you want them to take after they view the website. And so I think if you look at your website through that lens, and some of the actions and the details are going to be different, obviously. But if you look at it through that framework, I think that's what a good website does. He Yeah, it's interesting, it


I'm just telling you right now, I do judge a book by its cover, if I go out to website and I find that that website is just not


not appealing to my eyes. What is I, I'm, I'm shallow, I'm moving on, I'm moving on to the next thing. And and I'm trying to find a website, a portal, a place where I can find information and not be offended. Meaning, you know, the colors are good. Again, a good user feel with this. And it's like, yeah, that's cool stuff. I'm more apt to say yeah, give me some information if that website


looks and feels and flows. Right now. I think that's a it's a good point, Scott in that design. It simply removes a barrier, right? It's not a good design is not going to make a customer necessarily because I'm sure you've gone to websites that look beautiful, but you have no idea. It's the information there's not good you're like what do you do? I don't understand. Right? Right. But a good design is going to remove as you set out that barrier Scott of credibility. So someone comes and looks at the site and makes that subconscious judgment call. This is I'm going to stick around this is pleasing to my eye don't feel like this looks like it was designed by someone's nephew. And I'm not sure about it. You


And then that person can get into the information. But all that being said, is that, frankly, I think you can, if you're, if your website looks like doodoo, but it delivers a ton of customers, it's probably a good website, although most websites also looks really great. So I think the design just removes a barrier. And it does. I, you know, it's funny, I've gone to websites that do provide a lot of good content, and they do drive and it's like, but it doesn't look good. And it's like, okay, and I'm sitting there with this bad attitude, but I'm getting the information I want. But I'm not fond of this particular website.


You know, it's, it's a love hate type of thing. Now,


there are templates out there, there are templates that are out there that you can sit there, you don't have to be.


You don't have to understand the color palettes and everything, which I would just my head would explode, my ears would bleed, whatever. But there are templates out there that can be leveraged and expanded upon, right? Absolutely. There are tons of templates. And in fact, probably the larger problem is just how do you choose which ones do you use? And but I think that's a great, a great space to start with, is just literally like, I mean, you could go to any what Squarespace, Wix even if you want to do like with a WordPress site, there are some templates there. And you can just get up and going and they provide a lot of great structure. So I don't think it's a it's certainly not a matter of the the tools not being there. It just kind of depends on how quickly you want to get going and how complicated you want things to get. See, you mentioned a couple of things. First off, I like the fact that you can look at these templates, they're out there. And I I find it stimulates


proper business thinking it's like, yeah, that that feels right. That's what I'm trying to do. And you don't have to sit there from a blank slate saying, oh, oh, what do I do? Is the color red decent. Now you can see it in these templates. And it's always a beautiful thing to be able to do that. You mentioned Wix, Squarespace WordPress. Can you explain a little bit about that? Yeah, of course. So there are tons of different website platforms. And frankly, they're all just different types of tools for different needs. And some tools are, are more complex than others. But something like where Squarespace or I was gonna say, where where spacing slicks,


you can do that a product, somebody probably heard it and said, I need to do that. Another web platform. Yeah, that's Yeah, that's gonna be I'm gonna I'm gonna launch squeaks. That's my new. My new business idea. I think legally, I'm fine. I'm fine with that.


Right. But yeah, those are those are website platforms that are you just build it yourself. So it's literally you, you will sign up. And they have provided templates. And you don't need to know how to code you just drag and drop, but in your content. And they have some pretty full featured, full featured features, I guess, where you can do blogs, you can have contact forms, you can portfolios of different kinds of work and contact, contact form. Maybe I already said that, but there's just lots of different stuff. So there's that. And that's probably the easiest to do. The downside of that is once your website gets to a certain size, and when I say size, I mean mostly complexity in terms of what it's providing, then it tends to not be as customizable because you are locked into what those platforms provide from a functionality perspective, which is great when you're starting because you don't have to, you don't have to decide every little detail, you just go. But once you get to sort of a next tier of website, you get into platforms, like WordPress, or Drupal is another one. And those tend to be kind of like a Lego kits in a way where they provide you these different components that you can structure and customize. So instead of maybe like, something like Wix would be, you know, you would you would just get a buy something off the shelf, plunk it down, versus getting the Lego kit where you sit down and you really decide how do I want to assemble this and build this and customize it and I can take it apart and assemble it in a different way to suit suit different needs. And it takes a bit more time to set it up that way. But the result is you do get something that is more customized to your particular business. And it would seem to be scalable to Yeah, exactly. It earliest. I had some issues with some other other platforms. And and I realized that I couldn't scale and then I went to my website is WordPress. And then I got all these little things.


logins. And then I could sit there and I could play around with it. And they, they, it was just like, I like the Lego analogy. Yeah, it's just like, there'll be a built in such as Oh, okay. Great. Cool. And, and.




I think that


there is a, for me, this is just me speaking listeners, I didn't realize the level of functionality that can exist within a website that is truly valuable to your business. So, like truly valuable. I,


I mean, people can connect with me on my website. It's like, it's just, it's a beautiful thing. I'm just telling you, what are the roadblocks?


I think when you're talking about agile and things like this, where you're taking this the the more of an iterative mindset, right? It's it's cycles is quite honestly, there is most stakeholders within your organization, it's might be other executives, it could be managers board, but whatever. They're not going to intuitively think that way. And so if you are, if you've listened to this, and you said, you know, what, I'm savvy, I've got this, this is the way to do it. There is there's probably some other people involved in that decision that are gonna say, well, do we have a Are we going to build all this at once I want it strict, you know, it needs to be all scoped in entirely upfront. And they're going to want to do it the good old fashioned way, which is to build a big honkin website with all the bells and whistles. And, and, and there's going to be some there, there might be some conflict there. So I think really, the biggest roadblock is conceptually just getting everyone on board and bought into the process that you don't have to do it all at once. Break that mindset. No, I'm telling you, man, that is an aha moment for me. I like that. I like it a lot. And I think that


it's a great way of moving forward, creating a new website be agile, again, I guarantee you, you can benefit from a new website. It changes your perspective. Now we're gonna have to wrap this up. Spencer, how do people get ahold of you?


A couple ways. First of all, you can go to the Brooks digital website. It's just Brooks dot digital. It's not calm. It's one of the fancy ones. Wow. Yeah. So there you go. You can also send me an email Spencer at Brooks dot digital. Feel free to connect with me there as well. Like that. Again, it does. We'll talk we'll have all of the contact information for Spencer big time. I like that dotdigital that's new. Yeah, it's pretty cool, right? Like you get you don't have to fight with all the other dot coms. You just say oh, no, whatever. I don't. I can just do dot digital or dot. There's tons of


Yeah, there are tons. Alright, listeners. That is Spencer, thank you very much for joining the industrial talk podcast Spencer. You're pretty welcome, Scott. It's my pleasure. Excellent. Again, listeners do not go away. We're gonna wrap it up on the other side. So stay tuned. You're listening to the industrial talk Podcast Network.


All right, his name is Spencer, Brooks, Brooks digital, is the company. Let's just be real here. Look at your website, see if there's ways to be able to improve it, and improve the experience of the clients that you serve as well as the future clients. Think about that. You can approach it from an agile perspective. It's all doable, and especially today, make it happen. We've got three events. I'm going to tell you just go out to industrial talk. COMM one is the IoT solutions World Congress brought to you by industrial internet consortium and fair Barcelona. And then we have the manufacturing and Technology Conference that's coming up in November. And it's out there on industrial And we're going to put together a mastermind in utility. big topic, big conversation. All right, be bold, be brave, daring greatly. and hang out with people who are bold, brave and daring greatly, and you're going to change the world. Thank you very much for joining the industrial talk podcast. We're gonna have another great interview right around the corner. So stay tuned.

Scott MacKenzie

About the author, Scott

I am Scott MacKenzie, husband, father, and passionate industry educator. From humble beginnings as a lathing contractor and certified journeyman/lineman to an Undergraduate and Master’s Degree in Business Administration, I have applied every aspect of my education and training to lead and influence. I believe in serving and adding value wherever I am called.

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