I love to talk about WordPress because the moment I started learning it I fell in love with it. It was what I had been looking for. My print design days were filled with interesting exploration of color, type, photography, illustration and paper. But I started to realize I was missing out.
I’ve been a print designer since 1987. My first job was for a sweet boutique ad agency in Marion, OH. I made employee number five. In my first week, I designed a logo, created a map for a brochure and typed up proposals. Fast forward to the late 2000’s…
It’s probably 2007 or 2008. I’ve been designing logos, stationery, brochures and just about anything that can be printed since 1987. I’m missing something. Prospective clients call. They need a logo…and a website. ‘I can design your logo. We’ll have to find someone else to do the website’. And…cut. Most small businesses and start ups I talked to wanted to work with one person on their logo and website.
Probably about the same time, I explore WordPress. I see potential but it’s confusing and I’d never consider doing a client website using WordPress. I create a Tumblr blog instead. I read a book a week for a year and talk about it on my blog.
WordPress all grown up.
I start hearing more about WordPress. I look into it. I take an online class. And then another one. It’s better now! WordPress is all grown up! I create my own business site using it. I create sites for my Rotary and Synergist groups.
And I attend my first WordCamp, a three-day $40 (yes, $40) conference with WordPress royalty for presenters. Even breakfast and lunch are covered. I learn so much in one workshop on the first day I admit I would have paid a few hundred dollars for that experience alone. Sticky notes and Sharpie pens are all you need to develop site architecture. It’s so easy. I can see my clients dig it. Every thought gets a sticky note. I rearrange them as people around the table shout out new ideas for pages, posts, categories and calls-to-action. I will never forget that workshop.
Back to what I love.
I create a few sites for paying clients. The ones that work out best are companies with an Information Technology (IT) person on staff. I create the site. They add content and maintain it. I get to worry about the stuff I enjoy: color, type, photography, illustration. My client gets to do press release updates and minor tweaks. You might say I’m missing out on repeat business but what I hope is that they’ll tell their contacts about their experience with me, and I’ll get to keep doing what I love: designing.