My first venture into the wonderful world of blogging was done on a whim. I happened to stumble onto friend’s free WordPress blog and out of curiosity clicked on the link to the wordpress.com link and found myself staring at a button that invited me to “get my free wordpress blog now.”
Having no idea what a crazy world I was about to enter, I clicked the button and fell down a long and adventuresome hole more colorful than Alice in wonderland. I was hooked. Soon, I was meeting new friends and writing every day and looking for ways to customize my new blog and make it my own. I tried my best not to drive my new friends crazy asking them questions about how to do this, and how to do that to get my blog to look as nice as many of the other ones I would visit.
Luv At First Sight?
I fell in love with comment luv and experienced my first heartbreak when I discovered I couldn’t have it on the free WordPress theme. It turned out to be the first of many no’s and disappointments and it soon became clear that in order to do what I visualized in my mind that I needed to graduate into a self-hosted website.
Except that I secretly had no idea what that actually meant. All around me other bloggers bandied about words like self-hosted and custom designed and choosing themes and plug ins ( Which sounded like air freshener) and I nodded my head and wondered how I would ever make the jump.
I started looking around for a web designer to help sort through the murky waters of changing my site. I knew it would be a good idea to interview a few different people and get a feel for what they could do, what they would charge and what kind of support they would provide but the problem was, I didn’t know enough to even feel like I could ask the most basic questions.
I was intimidated by a technological world I knew nothing about. I decided to begin at the beginning. I started paying close attention to other websites that I liked. I started to ask simple questions. Who did your design? Were you happy with their work? Were they easy to talk to? Did they make you feel comfortable throughout the process or was it intimidating and confusing?
That narrowed down the field considerably. What I discovered from that round of conversations was that there were a lot of designers to choose from, but not a lot of designers that took the time and the patience to explain things carefully to technologically challenged clients who couldn’t speak the language.
Deciding What You Really Want
Next, I took the time to do some soul-searching. What was it that I was looking for? If I wasn’t going to be able to explain my needs to a designer in techie terms, how was I going to get my needs addressed? I made a wish list of what my dream website would be able to do, what kind of feeling it would have, how I wanted people to feel when they came there and what the absolute musts where. What was I willing to give in on? What was an absolute need?
I determined that for me, I wanted to choose a designer who was willing up front to be patient, explaining terms and reasons for why some things could be a certain way or not. I wanted to learn as I went along. I didn’t just want to send away for a new blog, have it plopped in and then have no idea what to do with it.
I realized that I was not going to be every designer’s idea of a dream client. Going into the project, I already felt bad about it, insecure about my lack of knowledge and my high degree of neediness. It was going to take a special designer to work through my inability to communicate, my need for simplistic instruction and hand-holding and my innate fear of all things technological.
Determination Pays Off
It took six months for me to find a designer that I trusted enough to get up the courage to work with. In the end, I was really glad I had taken the time to think through everything as much as I had and spent the time getting referrals. My designer was patient, knowledgeable, listened and was able to take my written list and explain what would work and give me alternatives (sometimes even better ones) from the items on my list what weren’t viable options.
The end result was my dream website brought to life better than I could have ever imagined it and the beginning of many many doorways that have opened up since. Having someone willing to hold my hand and walk me step by step through change allowed me to make my dreams come true.