Chest forward, notepad in hand we walked into our web designer’s surprisingly large office in the heart of West University. I had researched numerous companies and their portfolio looked exactly like what we had in mind. The perfect antithesis to Realtor websites: Fresh, contemporary, functional. And in my pad, I had the intricate blueprint of how we were going to make it happen. The more specific I am – I thought – the easier their work will be which should be a relief to my trembling wallet.
“We start at $8,500”
Before I got too far down my bullet list, he stopped me and without wanting to offend me (or anything) told me their work started at eight and a half Gs, for a basic site. Thanking him for his time-saving honesty, we walked out of that office, our doubts about how they paid the rent fully answered. Destination: Barnes and Noble Geek Section for some HTML fun. Numerous picturesque heavy books and about four Video Professors later, I was staring at a blank 900px wide square on (queue the dramatic music) Microsoft Frontpage, so help me God. I present to you the (then) finished product.
It’s been a long way
At first, I hated the fact that I couldn’t just hire someone to do what I needed. Instead I was stuck making sure I closed my tags and validated my code, both of which ranked just above sticking a fork in my ear on the fun scale. But even though my knowledge is still very much limited compared to pros, I am better off today because I took the long way here:
- I am better off, because I not dependent on my webmaster (what an arrogant job title, btw) to make even the slightest changes. This allows us to be nimble and flexible when we need to adapt our marketing message to an ever changing market.
- I am better off, because our site today looks like this and I built everything in it. Could it be better? Of course. But I’m proud of how far we’ve come from that blank 900px box.
- I am better off, because now I’m more aware of what’s possible. Believe it or not, having some fundamental knowledge about how websites work can help you make better decisions and demands when you partner with a pro to take your site to the next level.
What about you? I’d love to hear about your experience in the comments.