Starting my blog challenge



blogging university class of june 2014

Here it is. Day one of my blogging. Go.

The twist on today’s challenge is that I have to post it to my blog. So when they say, ‘just write and don’t stop until your 20 minutes is up’, I can’t write about just anything. It has to be “clean” and be of some value to anyone who may read it, right?

I could talk about how developing WordPress sites has opened up a whole new world for me. Taking a couple online classes and donating my time on several sites so I don’t get rusty has definitely helped. I’ve picked up a couple of jobs as a result of being able to create WordPress sites. A year ago, I wouldn’t have been able to say that. Because of my  WordPress skills, companies have hired me to do their logo / brand creation AND their website. I think I missed out on work a year ago because I couldn’t do WordPress sites. I’m a happy camper.

But doing WordPress sites has also created new challenges: how am I going to manage the sites I create? This concept was posed to me by a fellow designer just a few weeks ago: ‘You’re really doing the WordPress thing? How are you going to manage all the sites you design?’ I have to admit I panicked. But then I did some research and found out there are companies out there who DO that! So I can design to my heart’s content, then have someone else do the technical stuff. Like what happens when you update a theme only to have your customizations over-ridden? Gulp?! You create a child theme. And some designers don’t update their WordPress or themes because of this. If you have sites with minimal functionality, or, functionality that you’re happy with, why do you NEED to update?

I’m going to WordCamp Milwaukee in July. I’m going to take a list of dumb questions to ask the WordCamp experts. Like anything new, it’s scary. I am telling people I can do websites. But what I need to be saying is I can do websites as long as they’re in WordPress, and you, client,  take ownership of the domain, hosting, technical management, of the site. That actually hasn’t been as difficult as I thought it might be. So I’m going to keep talking about the fact that I design WordPress sites and hope that people listen…and tell other people.

Why I started doing websites at all was because I felt like I was stagnant. Yes, the world needs print designers; however, if they can get someone who can create their logo AND their website, they’re going to do that rather than hire one person to do the logo and another to do the website. I was definitely missing out. I worried that I’d have to go back to school for years to get these skills. Is ours the only field where kids coming out of school are better skilled than us seasoned veterans?! Probably not, but what they don’t have anyway is the years of experience I have in working with customers, honing my creative skills, anticipating the needs of my clients, working with vendors, disciplining myself to plan, execute, revise, repeat.

Kids coming right out of school may have the most current set of technical skills, but they don’t understand the sometimes unexplainable personalities of clients: the client who calls at 5:00 today and needs something…yet tonight…or first thing in the morning; the client that tweaks something 14 times only to return to the original concept (I know, sometimes you have to go through the motions to know you had it right the first time…much like photography); the client that questions how long it took to do something…’did it really take that long?’; the client that has you quote projects every month or so, only to never award you a job…or rarely award you a job. All of these scenarios take patience. And thankfully, after years of doing this, most of my clients give me plenty of time do work on projects; they apologize for looking at 14 versions of something, but they pay me for it; they respect that it DOES take a certain amount of time to do something, and they trust me because I record every task and amount of time it takes; they stopped asking me how much something is going to cost because they like working with me, and they know I’m fair.