Best Laid Plans . . .
The idea was to rebuild this website and learn to self-host at the same time. My clients are awake to the opportunity–no, the NEED to have a good website in this age of the Internet marketplace. I have enjoyed playing in the free versions of WordPress for a few years and I thought I was ready to move forward.
My first site took about three or four hours to set up and fill with content. It was easy and fun to add more pages and keep going. Kind of like driving an automatic transmission–you stick in the key, have a basic knowledge of how to move a car forwards and back and take off.
So what could possibly go wrong with building a site based on a template and hosting yourself?
Here’s what I’ve found so far . . .
Themes Have Graduated to a New Level . . .
Yes, there were hundreds if not thousands of themes when I started. But those numbers seem to have exploded. And now, you want to choose your theme not only on what looks good as you scroll through, but on the quality of features and performance. Is the theme “responsive” meaning that it easily adjusts to the various devices on which it will be seen? Is the theme developer well-known and trustworthy? How are updates and upgrades handled?
From the usability side, are there features and plugins for the industry you serve? If you sell things on your site, there need to be plug-ins for shopping carts, login and security features, and more. “Brochure sites” are still okay, but trying to keep them updated and changing is a constant concern. There are now “magazine” themes, “catalog” themes, “real estate,” “corporate,” and more.
Content Remains a Concern
Long posts are out, but only for certain media. Supposedly the “ideal” length of a post is about 1,500 to 1,600 words. In old typewriter talk that’s roughly six pages of text. You can say a lot in that amount of time. My personal experience, though, suggests you could cut that to 1,000 words and put in graphics and illustrations for a stronger post.
The posts I’ve done for All Abuzz have averaged 800 words, and I find them text heavy. In my updated site, I’d like to put in more visuals. Even though I’m not a photographer, and my budget for “clip art” is limited, it is important to have good illustrations, so my commitment is to add those to the updated site–when it comes.
Taking This Update Seriously
It was perhaps foolish to say I’d begin with a fresh new website in a month’s time. I was filled with the confidence of inexperience and hope. Now I know better. It would have been terrific to have you visit one Friday and voila! A whole new site would be before you.
But this is also a great opportunity. You can come along with me as I rebuild my site. I am an old dog trying to learn a new trick. Maybe you can help. I’d appreciate your thoughts and suggestions as I work on this site, and will keep posting on the process until we’ve built a place that you can feel comfy visiting.
I still see myself as an excellent marketing person, but for now, I’m committed to “stepping up” my game and buying into the world of new tools. Just as we seldom write a letter any more, put a stamp on it and hope it gets to the right person at the other end of the mailing, marketing professionals can’t sit back and blindly follow the “me-too” rule of sticking up a site and waiting for the world to come knocking at our door.
I’m excited to step into the world of SEO, email blasting, and virtual business. I hope you’ll journey with me.
Until next week . . . wishing you well.