Those five words right there. “So, you do web design…” we all hate hearing them because we know what is coming up next.
The great thing about working in web design is you will always have potential business. There are more crappy websites out there than one can reasonably shake a Weebly/Box shaped stick at. So, there are always plenty of bad sites as well as businesses that somehow avoided getting a website before now.
Also, there is a great advantage to this when it comes to sales. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a business, pulled up their website on my phone, and flat out told them that their website sucks. 9 times out of 10, they know their site blows. So, it’s an easy conversation to start.
However, once your friends and family, and God forbid any church/charity/organization/lodge you belong to finds out that you “do websites,” you suddenly are everyone’s favorite person. Actually, it’s not that I mind. In fact, I’ve done a fair number of free websites for people I know and/or like for free. I’ve even helped some with e-commerce stuff. Still, I do it voluntarily and by offering.
I can’t say how many people lately I’ve had come to me asking to do a site for them for free. I like to point out that social media and marketing is more my forte but it’s all “internet stuff” to them I guess.
I want to hit people with this sign. Ok, so it’s not a sign but lettering. WordPress is seriously one of the most powerful things on the net. Wait what is that you just said?@! Yes, I said it,
WordPress is one of the most powerful things on the net.
One of the initially very awesome things about the internet was that it was a very democratized platform. People had the ability to speak and let their ideas be known. The problem is, it does take some technical knowledge to get the word out unless you want to be beholden to someone like Facebook or Twitter. So, the alternative is putting up your own site. A lot of people were able to put up sites before WordPress. However, they were a real pain in the ass is you didn’t “get” HTML.
But what about Drupal etc?
They absolutely have their place. However, for ease of use, cost, ease of building and maintaining, you really can’t beat WordPress. Are there better platforms for doing just about every single thing? Sure. However, it’s about getting as much together and working as possible as easily as possible.
I can build an e-commerce site using WooCommerce and a free theme over the span of a weekend and then give it over to someone. They don’t need a lot of training from me. The stuff is easy enough to use and do that they are able to go in and make changes etc easily enough. Do they have questions and need some help? Sure. But there isn’t an insanely complicated way of doing things in WordPress, for the average end user, unless you really want to.
So, getting back to DIY….
WordPress is easy enough to use. I’ve referred people over to places like Themeforest and told them to pick a design and do it themselves. Some people did it. Those people I’ve actually helped out since they were interested enough to get into, I’m happy enough to help. They end up with a genuine appreciation of how hard it is to build a good looking website.
Websites are easy to build, good websites, not so much.
I used to be a stockbroker. For a decade and a half people constantly asked me for free investing advice. Doctors get it all the time as well. Accountants get it in April It’s that appeal for free stuff from someone. I rarely ask for something for free. I’m more than willing to offer a trade. If I need legal advice, some work on a car, etc, I’ll be willing to trade service for service. However, I’m not about to ask my mechanic friend for free car repairs. I’m especially not going to complain about him getting grease on the hood when I dropped off my car with him to have it worked on for free.
That’s just it. I think if people were more grateful, they’d get more stuff for free. I once got a bottle of vodka free at a liquor store. Not because I drank that much (which I don’t drink at all BTW), but because when I went in to buy cigars from them I went out of my way to be polite and grateful for the wonderful service they gave me.
In just about every case, when I’ve done a site for someone for free, they’ve been really polite and thankful. Does that mean they bought me a lap dance? No. In some cases it was a short note just saying
Thanks for all the hard work, we do appreciate it.
That. Seriously. That means the world to people.
Is that hard? No. Do people do it often? No. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been referred to as “they really nice guy” or “the polite guy” by stores or services I use. I get great service from most of them and I am thankful for it.
So, if someone offers to help you out on a website for you for free, thank them and let them know they are appreciated. If you need a website, realize that we are trained (ok,, so trainedish) professionals that get paid well to do these sites. So have that in mind when you approach someone about a website. Ok? No need to cowtow or lie prostrate in front of them, just say thanks.