Lesson 1 of 3 – Be your own project manager
Below is a video transcript of sorts. It’s not a perfect transcript because that would be boring. And also, how do I transcribe 30 seconds of dancing with Minnie Mouse ears? Instead, it’s the same information presented to make sense as a written article.
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I’m Cath Wood. I specialise in teaching small business owners how to build their own proper, professional, mobile-friendly website.
This is the first of 3 lessons in which I’ll teach you some of the basics of getting started with your website. Getting started is the hardest part.
I’ll share the one BIG mistake made by a lot of people – which totally ruins their website – and I’ll teach you how to fix that. Even if we never work together that will be something you can take away and use in your business.
As a bonus, I’ll teach you a little trick that my workshop participants always love. I often find it’s the highlight of their day!
Getting Started is Complicated
When I first started building websites I had sooo many questions.
It was so complicated, like a whole new language.
What’s a theme?
What’s a plugin?
What’s a cpanel?
What’s a domain?
How do I get a domain?
Do I have to worry about being hacked?
People talk about managed hosting and self-hosted hosting – what’s the difference?
Which hosting company should I use?
Do I have to backup my website?
How do I do that?
If I do backup my website, how do I restore it?
It’s quite likely you are asking the exact same questions. It’s so intimidating. You have no idea how the hell anyone knows this stuff, and you wonder how you’re ever going to get a handle on it.
I know that feeling, it’s horrible.
Small business clients have two things in common
Fast forward a couple of years. I was working with small business clients and I discovered that they have two things in common:
- Small business clients don’t have a big budget for a website
- They are very busy
Sometimes I’d wait a year for images so I could finish a website, then suddenly the client would have a break in their schedule. I’d get a message saying, “I’m sending you all my pictures today and tomorrow so we can get the website finished this week!”
The only problem was, that was the week I’d chosen to go on holidays.
It was clear that it would make more sense for small business operators to be in control of their own website. That way, they could work on their site whenever it suited them.
I started teaching workshops in small country towns around Australia.
The results were great. My students built fabulous websites.
Hannah built 2 websites in a week
Hannah attended my workshop in Busselton. After lunch she was like a woman possessed, pounding away at her keyboard oblivious to everyone else in the room. Within a week Hannah built two complete websites, which she continues to update as needed.
Before attending Cath’s workshop I was completely lost as to how I would be able to afford having a website designed for my business, but then I spoke to Cath about her workshop and she was so friendly and helpful and genuinely wanted to see me succeed! At the workshop I learnt so much and found that WordPress and the way Cath delivered the info was incredible! All of a sudden I got super excited and then had built two websites within the next week! I was hooked, the possibilities were endless and I had control! I can’t thank Cath enough for teaching me how to design and manage my website(s!), and it’s not just about how to design, we covered SEO, image optimisation and helpful tips, she really puts a lot in to her workshops and is so helpful!Hannah
I’ll introduce you to Shep in the next lesson
Shep built 3 websites after doing a workshop over Skype.
I recorded a nice interview with him recently and filmed him at work (he’s a performer) so I’ll share that in the next few days.
The workshop participants have a few things in common
- They’re all small businesses
- They’re based in rural Australia
- They’re busy
- They don’t have a big budget for a website
Who will build your website? You, or someone else?
Whether you need a brand new website, or you have a website that needs updating, you need to make a decision.
Will you pay someone to do it, or will you do it yourself?
Paying someone else
Remember if you pay someone else it’s not just the several thousand (plus) you need to allow for the initial design and development.
You also need to maintain and update your website on a regular basis, otherwise you’ll get no love from Google. It’s a waste of time, money and energy to build a beautiful new website then leave it stagnant.
If you’re paying a professional to do everything you’ll need to allow $10000 or more per year for upkeep.
If you have a budget like this for your website, ensure you choose someone with an excellent reputation. Even then, you probably want to read on.
Doing it yourself
If you don’t have a big budget (and even if you do, actually) I believe very strongly that you need to learn what’s involved in building a professional website.
Even if you ultimately outsource a lot of the work, you need to know what’s going on. Otherwise how can you effectively manage the project? You have no choice but to trust that the person you hire knows what they’re doing, and because you lack knowledge, you can’t check their work.
Outsourcing to India or the Philippines (or anywhere, actually)
Years ago I got pretty excited when I discovered that I could get websites built overseas for a really low price. However I learned the hard way that the people I hired didn’t always know as much as I thought. Because I knew even less, I wasn’t able to monitor what they were doing.
If you know exactly what should be done you can be the project manager for your own website.
Note that this doesn’t just apply to outsourcing to countries where English is not the native language. I have seen professionals in Australia, the US and the UK that charge a lot of money yet still don’t follow best practice. You must understand best practice yourself if you want to check your developers are doing the right thing. Otherwise you just have to trust that they’re the professionals.
Be your own project manager
In the next two lessons I’ll help you to level up your learning by teaching you some of the basics you need to know. That way you can be your own project manager.
I’ll answer the questions I posed at the start of this lesson, and since I know this topic can be a bit of a head explosion I’ll provide a handy PDF that you can print out and keep in your website file.
Then, when someone says, “Can I have your FTP details?” you can answer, “Do you really need the FTP? Can’t you do it through the File Manager on the cpanel?”
It’s good to get through the freaky, scary phase which is the very beginning of thinking about your business website. It gives you a solid basis from which to go forward. Then, you can build your new website yourself or supervise somebody else. Either way, you’ll enjoy a level of familiarity which will make things a whole lot easier.
See you in the next lesson 🙂
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Please leave a comment below. What’s your biggest question about your business website?
Have you noticed that a photo shows next to the name of some people that leave comments, but not for others? Would you like to learn how to do that? If yes let me know and I’ll cover it in the next lesson!