Computer Does Everything (Myth #1)

Gourds and Candles, Holidays, Embellishment and Photo by Jenny Lens, MFA, October 2013

How much does it cost to create a site like mine? What kind of planning, research, knowledge and skills to know what functionality is effective? First I created the layout, customized colors, decided what info would go where, organized the data (that last step is vital and so few do that!). What next? What has to be added to every site?

Social media buttons (installation, customization, inputting data), signup forms, questionnaires, sliders, fancy header, tabs, integrating Facebook’s new Insight and more.

WHY? Because it’s no longer enough to merely use a nice layout and some content. If you want to be successful, plan for expansion, but front load with connectivity tools. People are scattered about and you need a wide, deep net to scoop them up. We have to “meet people where they are.” All over the net.

Pls believe me when I look at the clock and wonder where my life is going as I sit here, the midnight hour, a Blood Moon, and Billy Idol and Eric Idle (omg) performed 2 miles west at the Santa Monica Pier, on a Saturday night.

  1. Earlier tonight I signed with MailChimp because they are offer a free plan and overall lowest prices.
  2. Then I cried and cried as I read through the various help pages. I couldn’t even find them at first! I had to Google cos MailChimp didn’t have an accurate listing nor search functionality.
  3. I made a list of all the pages and links for future reference.
  4. Thankfully, their support is superb! Great vids and step-by-step screen shots. Yay.
  5. Still sad.
  6. So much work just to set up a sign-up form? Let’s not even talk about the email newsletter. Yet.
  7. Set up email newsletter subscription sign up form on this site. Customized colors to match colors I chose for my site layout/theme.
  8. Installed an email newsletter Tab in my Facebook page for Jenny Lens Academy.
  9. Created a header for my email newsletter template, which also works in Facebook. But it’s a different size and layout (580 pixels wide) vs this site (960 pixels wide).
  10. Facebook has something new called “Insight.” I installed an Open Graph Plugin to utilize Insight. But had to create an app for it to work. I kept getting an error msg from FB. No help what to do. I left a field blank and then it worked. Why have a field if we can leave it blank?
  11. Plus upload a 200 x 200 px image and then provide the url (link) to the image. How do I know that? It’s not posted on a site or page. I had to go into my web host file manager and deep within folders to figure that out. No instructions.
  12. ANY idea what that took? I’m still shaking.

So how much do you think you’d pay someone with experience? If you don’t have experience, think you can do it?

  1. Haven’t finished setting up email newsletter. Works best with images. I’m a photographer, so using original content is not an issue. Just time to do it and add information.
  2. Need another header for Google+ Cover Photo (2120 x 1192 pixels)
  3. Another for Pinterest (735 pixels wide).

You still think you can have a fully functional site for $500. Go for it … then try to add functionality and features. IF you are guided by someone who knows the ropes, you will save time and money. You will have more knowledge when hiring a web designer or if you do it yourself.

I only wish someone would guide me. With guidance and a pro designer, I could pay someone $5,000-$10,000. Seriously. That much customization. I’ve gotten quotes. Keep it simple and work within your budget. I am picky. I’ve created and see so many sites.

If I am going to teach and coach you, I’ve got to have a full functioning, high end site, right? How many coaches do that? Not many.

Tis better to have a solid idea what are your goals, time frame and budget. What can be done now and add functionality later. Don’t over design and leave no time nor money for needed features. Another story from the trenches.

Upside: my site is getting done. Step by step. Now back to it. Be smart, hire someone who makes the mistakes, does the research, and teaches others. We creative entrepreneurs need each other. Let me help you. Thank you!