I started doing web design out of an interest in technology and also from a frustration of dealing with bad websites. I wondered if there was a better way of providing information without pop ups, or bad gif images al lover the place. so when I was able to I started my own company to provide a service with clear plain talking websites. This is a bit of a self indulgence post about me, but will give you an incite in to me and if we would work well together.
Starting out back in the mid nighties before the web was a big thing, I was interested in developing a website so I picked up the best tool I knew – Dreamweaver.
I went to my local library (yes a place where I could ‘Hire’ a physical book for free)took out many books on HTML and Web design. Testing from a basic website written in Notepad and checked within Internet Explorer on Windows XP. while these websites were very basic, it gave me a great understanding of how HTML works in a real hands on way. From here I moved on to using Dreamweaver as this was an early drag and drop visual web site builder. This allowed me to play around and add in new functionality and discover that I am a visual learner.
Creating the websites using the visual part and then switching back to the raw HTML to clean up and remove bits was much better, but this was still only on small sites on my local 286 PC. I wanted more so went looking on line and found services such as freeservers and created a basic site there –
I left web design for a while until I heard of WordPress in 2012 while working for a Kung Fu Franchise. I was given the task of managing 40 sites to make sure they were up to date and to try and get them ranking better. This is where I now had a whole new system to learn, not Just HTML, but now CSS and PHP.
I was able to pick up the CSS fairly quickly, but PHP was a struggle and thankfully wordpress have massively improved since version 3 and manually adding or tweaking PHP is not something that is needed for many websites.
Now when producing websites I recommend using Divi by Elegant Themes. This is a great visual builder, but is also quick and dpes not have issues with each major upgrade.
From here I took several courses to fine tune my SEO skills and am now SEMRush qualified and Google Qualified. So I have a great toolkit for building and getting the website to rank.
WHY I CHOSE WORDPRESS
When I started with wordpress there was a big surge in different content management systems. Joomla was growing in popularity, as was Drupal and Concrete5. Rather than try and learn more than 1 I decided to stick with wordpress and find out how it worked.
I considered looking at making my own plugins and bought a course, but in my early days never found a need to because there were so many different plugins coming out I could always find one, be it from the repository or from Code Canyon or a programmers own website. For me WordPress had all the functionality available
The only down side was as the rate of productions was so quick the quality was not always there. I had issues with compatibility and would often take down as live site while trying to add functionality.
These days WordPress is much more stable and the plugins and themes have become better coded and more streamlined. I have a great toolkit I am confident to work with and trust. I review the themes and plugins to see if there are better options that offer the same functionality and test them out.
These days my host of choice is Siteground. As part of their tool they have a great Staging site setup. I can create a basic site with a holding page then create a clone and build out the full functionality from there. When completed I can send the site to live in a few simple clicks. There is always a debate over which hosting company is the best or best value for money, but many free lancers or agencies have different requirements, so there is never a clear winner.
FINDING MY WHY
I have struggled with this one, and then when completing a Demystifying SEO course, they referenced the famous Simon Sinek for this quote. What they also did was to go in to how to get your why and what makes it so powerful. I am not sure I have 100% got it, but I am working on it.
I have read Simon’s book and listened to the audio. I understand it can be powerful to find what is driving you, but I see this as more of a journey to finding it than reading a book and ‘Ding’ there it is.
Like any agency or freelancer there are a bits of the process that are less exciting or less enjoyable and these can often be a struggle to get through. With an agency you can pass the jobs around so everyone can do a bit they like. Being a single entrepreneur I do not have the luxury. Being a single entrepreneur means I can change the process.
Like many freelancers, there is the worry of the feast and famine, where lots of work comes in, I stop marketing and then the work dries up so back to marketing again. I have joined some local business groups and this helps with work being referred across to me. Showing up to the meeting each week and presenting my 60 seconds script allows me to keep up with my marketing as I can constantly tweak my ‘Elevator’ pitch or have different variations depending on the situation or type of prospective client.
Where am I looking to go and what do I want for the future? Always a big bold question. Like any good business I have goals and targets set for myself and being driven to succeed I will do everything in my power to achieve them. I understand I may have to sacrifice time now so that in the future I can have the time, but I am mindful that as my children grow up I am there for the important things even if that means taking time away from what I love doing.
I would love to have a small team and a great bunch of clients that I can work with each month or year, clients that I can help make a difference and would grow with me.
If you would like to be one of these clients please get in touch.