I didn’t want to do this. I had no intention of doing this. But I couldn’t get anyone else to do this.
The “this” I keep referring to is my new website. Every word – every inch – was put into place by me. I really had no choice because every time I thought I had someone hired to help me do this – or to just “do it”, they needed me to do big parts of the puzzle myself. The list of things that required my input or work was long.
Of course, I had to write all the content. I write content for others all day. So I had to hire myself for this project. Doh!
But wait, there’s more! I had to upload all the pictures, create all the graphics, and organize where I wanted everything to go.
I had to figure out what my menu items would be and how they needed organizing. Should I have a separate area just for artists? Yep! Do I now need to keep a flow of information in that menu area just for artists? Yep! Big commitment? Yep! But happily and excitedly, I made a section “For Artists Only”, although everyone’s invited!
I had to understand my audience above and beyond the artist community and get clear on what services I could provide. I had to be sure I could be accountable to whatever promises or offers I was making on the site.
I had to grab my entire business concept by the shoulders and give it a good shaking. I had to look my business in the eye and say, “okay, what exactly are you hoping to accomplish with My Golden Words.” My previous website was put up in less than 3 days with almost NO planning because I had unexpectedly been asked to teach some workshops for the Arts Business Institute. I had to have some kind of website! It was, at least, a website. But I knew I wanted a more professional one someday. I needed to find “someone” to help me – no way I could figure all this out!
In the end, I figured it out. I did virtually the whole thing myself. Once I realized that my business – just like YOUR business – is not just some template or set of standardized designs, I was off and running. There is no magic wand for my industry. I need to show you my world – not a generic world of “service industry professionals”.
Doing it without a net, without the norms as my guide, also means that I surely have made some mistakes. I am not talking about spelling or grammar – there will be those moments for sure. I am talking about my impact on visitors. The process is so over-whelming that I have no illusions that this site is done. It will evolve greatly in the weeks and years ahead. I haven’t finished this chess match yet. I won’t enter earth’s atmosphere for some time. Surely there will be moments where I over-reach, over-look, over-sell and under-sell myself.
But one thing for sure: if you have a small business and you want your voice, your ideals, and your vision to show up on your website, you will need to learn a few skills to help you move freely inside a website. Otherwise, you will be lost in space and depending on someone else to move your business forward. I hear from artists and small business owners all the time: “I need to change a picture on my website, but I need to get in touch with my webmaster to do that for me.” Become a master yourself! If I can build an entire website, you can learn to put up a new photo! Take control.
I am not (NOT) adding “webmaster” or web designer to my list of services. But I am ready to be your sounding board and help you organize your concept into a cohesive format that you can then share with a webmaster/designer. And if you want to learn how to do this “back room” stuff, I might be able to help with that, too, although there are great videos everywhere.
Dump fish on the village or teach the village to fish? I prefer to teach the skills, whether it’s how to get a free shopping cart going or how to create awesome marketing plans and email campaigns or how to resize a photo for the web. You can do this. I can help.