★ Throwing out a perfectly good idea.

(the intro to this ‘story’ is kind of long, stay with me)

I’m in the organization team of the biggest international badminton tournament here in Belgium, the Yonex Belgian International Championships. The tournament is on the Badminton Europe Circuit, had been held for 6 years now and attracts players from all over the world, many of which can be counted among Europe’s finest. My part is in the organization is maintaining our online presence (web design and content), write for the tournament’s newsletter and take loads of photographs during the tournament.

Last year, we moved our website from Joomla over to WordPress. Mostly because Joomla had to many features and was more complicated than we needed. WordPress on the other hand is much simpler, a cleaner interface and (personally) easier to work with. Design-wise, we choose for the Atahualpa theme by BytesForAll. This theme has every option you can imagine and you can basically do anything with it (and it has a very active user-forum, which is great for when you’re stuck somewhere or would like to add something). This setup served us very well over the past year, but lately I wasn’t really happy with it anymore. The text was too dark, the menu on the left was too busy and reading wasn’t a very pleasant experience.

Part 2 of this story. In December of 2010, I got myself a copy of the Fusion Ads bundle. Mostly because it included a license for Expression Engine, a CMS I’d been wanting the play with for a long time (but because it wasn’t free, I hadn’t taken the plunge yet). But with a bunch of other apps and some EE training videos for the same price, why not right :). In January (‘11) I got my license for EE and started playing around with it.

And since my HTML/PHP/CSS knowledge is little to none-existent, this was quite a challenge. I started out with an existing theme, made some drawings of what I wanted the site to look like and started on it. About 6 weeks, some long nights and lots of trail & error later, I got to a point where I was ready to share the new website with the world (meaning some peers and the rest of the tournament team). Since I’m the only one on the team that’s into web/internet/design stuff, the others didn’t really have an opinion on the news site, except that it looked good and that I could implement it. Cool. But I was having second thoughts. I liked the design and what EE would let me do with it but I wasn’t ready to take the plunge (as in switch to something I know very little about).

So I set up a fresh WordPress install, installed the latest version of the theme we were using and imported the data from the live site. And then I searched through the theme options to find a way to adapt the design to what my EE site looked like (aka to change the things I thought were currently ‘wrong’ with the site). A long night later, I found what I was looking for. I had the WordPress install looking just like my EE website. So I could now just change the current website to reach the goal I had set out, without having the change to entire back-end en structure of the website as well. So I was going to stick with WordPress, because it’s a system I’m familiar with, because I won’t have to worry about keeping it running. Instead, I can focus on the content of the site.

When I told various people but this, for example my sister (who’s also with the tournament), she asked ‘But what about all the work and time you put into it?’. She’s right. But. Just because you have a good idea and you spend lots of time on it, doesn’t mean that there can’t be a better idea out there. And if that better idea means less work, less friction (which is the main reason for sticking with WordPress), maybe that new idea is worth going for.

Kind of a long story just to say this: don’t be afraid to throw out something you’ve been working on when something else comes along. Put down the why and the why nots and maybe the new idea will come out on top. Maybe not.