Monday, February 8, 2010

Go Daddy. Designing your own web site.

Last week my work partners Sue Pess, Carol Dole, and I launched our new event- planning web site, At this point our business could not afford to outsource the work, so we did what all small biz owners do—we did it ourselves. The result is a web site that, I think, is elegant, clean, simple, and can be easily built upon when our business becomes hugely successful.

I learned a lot in the process and would like to share what I learned with you, dear readers of Well Done Blog.

Insight 1: Writing copy with a group and asking friends and family to edit can be emotionally trying.
It could have been a recipe for disaster. Fortunately we can all write a decent sentence and Sue is a master of editing and style. The only hitch was this: I showed my husband, editor extraordinaire, the copy after the site was launched. Let’s just say that he gave me some, um, “constructive criticism” about one of the pages. He is tough, but usually right. I listened to his remarks, without totally freaking out, and told him I would consider his input and discuss it with Sue and Carol.

An aside about my husband: his attention to detail is crazy good. He really can tell if something is off by 1/32 of an inch and can recite, verbatim, the rules of grammar. It’s sort of nauseating and sexy all at the same time.

Another aside: I forwarded said page to a bunch of super, professional lady friends. For the most part, they liked it and made excellent editorial suggestions.

Final aside: I do have one male, marketing friend. He recently upgraded his company’s web site and asked me to take a look at it. I gave him so much, maybe too much, feedback and was too nervous to ask him for his feedback in return. I am a wimp.

Insight 2: Surf the web and “borrow” design ideas.
It’s been done. Just borrow from the pros. There is a lot of good and bad web design out there. Fortunately I look at web sites as a hobby and had a few favorite sites to draw from.

A short list of sites I think are WELL DONE: Coco and Kelley Design, Design Sponge, and Hutchison and Maul Architects. 

Insight 3: Bartering with friends is fun.
Thank God for Anne Viggiano. She designed a simple layout, selected the colors, proofed the photos, and remained very calm after receiving numerous emails and calls from me asking her to change one detail after another. In exchange, I helped her clean and organize her art studio, which was actually fun.

Thank the goddess for Sara Tro. Her photographs are heavenly and set an elegant tone for the site. I have yet to clean or organize anything for her.

Insight 4: Just Launch It.
We did it. Our site is up and we are ready for business. The site will change and grow as we change and grow. Sue is working on editing the #$% page and we will incorporate the updates soon—I’m not going to sweat it.

Insight 5: When your business has the money, hire a pro.
This is where I advise everyone to hire a professional graphic artist to design their site. I can’t emphasize enough how important this is. They know what they are doing, they understand the language of graphics, they will save you a lot of headache, and your site will look and feel professional.

Insight 6: You can never thank anyone too much.
Thanks to my marketing friends, my biz partners, Annie V., Sara Tro, and my editor and chief, Michael Drumheller, for all your help. Well Done.


Carol said...

What can I say? Thank you, back at 'cha, uh huh, exactly, mmphm, me too, you're so welcome. And Rebecca, without you, we'd be nowhere.

Eli said...

Luckily I just booked with WDE for 2013. Your calendar is going to be full.