The other day I was in a routine morning meeting with a client who wanted to add ecommerce and a theme upgrade to their site. Next month. And their marketer mentions they’d told the entire mailing list to buy a new product on their website. Tomorrow. Not next month!
The client felt, correctly, that they couldn’t afford to burn every customer on their mailing list with false information. They asked if I could add ecommerce to their site by morning. I said yes, I was familiar with the WordPress plugin they were intending to use for their store. They said please go ahead.
A couple of hours later the commerce site was working well enough to show that… their old WordPress template was completely incompatible with the ecommerce plugin. So after a quick consultation the client asked if I could also add the new theme software that we’d also planned to have ready for the roll-out… a month from now!
Well, fortunately I also am familiar with the new theme framework. And since fixing the otherwise obsolete theme would have been just as time consuming I said yes. They said please go ahead with that too!
And you know what? I got it done! Next morning their customers were able to come to their website and purchase their new product… with a much more powerful, more forward-looking theming system to boot!
Best of all? This was a “crash” job, right? A major, non-stop effort to finish what had been a one-month project in 12 hours! And so in the morning of course there were some bugs, typos, and other minor issues to clean up. All of which I was able to resolve in less than half an hour!
It’s still going to take the client a month to refine the site, establish policies for further expanding their ecommerce product line, optimizing shipping, taxes, terms of service, and so on — it wasn’t just me who was caught off guard. And I’ll continue to work with their designers and, yes, their marketer to refine their new website design, also in time for their “proper” rollout a month from now.
And I really, really, don’t recommend hiring me or anyone else to add a full ecommerce package and template over night.
Wouldn’t it be nice to know that if it happened to you your web developer could make it work for you?
I’m not sure I’m really comfortable bragging about this. And to be honest I’m a little shy about leaving this post up. But you know what? Even though it’s not the sort of thing I want to do every day, or for that matter ever again, I’m pretty darn proud that I was able to meet my client’s needs. They’re happy. And I’m happy too. So I hope you’ll forgive my little end zone demonstration.
“Why should I have my own website when there’s [insert social-media sitename here]?”
It’s a popular question that, over the years, has always had the same answer: because then someone else owns it!
Here’s the latest version of the story, this time from a podcast (#235) by Rooster Teeth, the very-successful online production company beginning at the 21 minute 53 second mark. Fair warning, if you follow the link you may find the language in the podcast quite profane. Here’s my rough transcript for the section, which begins at roughly the 21:53 minute mark and runs roughly to 24:11.
Well Matt, you’re the CEO for Rooster Teeth, been with the company since the very beginning, you know the value of having your own space on the internet, for the company.
I mean that’s like, the number one thing that we tell people
In all honesty and seriousness … that having your own home is very important online.
You can’t maintain with all the ups and downs and crazy machinations of the wonky internet world we’re in now unless you’ve got your own space
carved out. So I think going out and making your own website? Yes! Do it!
People don’t want to do it now cause they can go to Facebook, they can go make a YouTube channel or whatever.
Promote yourstuff on Reddit or on Twitter.
But you don’t own that!
Someone else owns that!
Well if we’d startd doing that kind of thing back when we first started Rooster Teeth those sites would have been Slashdot — we’d have tried to get
linked on slashdot every day…
Right, and FARK. And MySpace… we’d have had a site on MySpace.
You know, a big inspiration for Rooster Teeth when we started out we looked at other people who were very successful at the time.
There was a group of guys [Broken Lizard, the producers of an underground hit called Supertroopers.]
So they sold a million copies of their DVD and home video, it made them a huge hit.
Everybody in college had that DVD.
We looked at them and the way that they were marketing themselves and watched what they were doing.
We did that with a lot of people [list] just trying to see what people were doing online.
While we were looking at that, Broken Lizard took their site and turned it off, and just sent everyone to their MySpace page!
Seemed like a smart idea probably for them at the time, but then MySpace evaporates essentially four of five years later or turns into a total music
What is MySPace?
And Napster’s for… just for naps. (laughs)
But hey, we really do believe in this — making your own website.
The transcript is mine
I am experimenting with the official WordPress iPhone app
You just sign in with your name, password, and URL to most of your site through a relatively intuitive iPhone interface.
The compose window even gives you little buttons for adding simple formatting like italics and bold, links and quotes, lists and more!
You can even add photos from your phone and post them to your site! I’m going to try it now.
This website is a great example of the adage “the cobblers children are the last to wear shoes.” Or perhaps the future example that the inventor’s robots are the last to get painted.
The internet is constantly changing, and I’m constantly experimenting with new methods, approaches, technologies. Sometimes experiments go awry. But here’s the deal: I experiment on my website because I always want your website to work perfectly.
— David Innes, founder RealBasics.com
Technology author and online information-systems guru Jon Udell says rule #1 for your professional or business information is…
1. Be the authoritative source for your own data
[T]hat means regarding your own website, blog, or online calendar as the authoritative source. More broadly, it means publishing facts about yourself, or your organization, to a place on the web that you control, and that is bound in some way to your identity. Why?
To a large and growing extent, your public identity is what the web knows about your ideas, activities, and relationships. When that knowledge isn’t private, your interests are best served by publishing it to online spaces that you control and use for the purpose.
Source: Strategies for Internet Systems
The great thing about modern website technology (WordPress, Drupal, MovableType, Joomla, and others) is that they all make cross-posting information from your website to different social media (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+, Google Reader, and so on) anywhere from easy to completely automatic.
If you already have a website but it doesn’t connect easily to your other social media I can fix it for you. If you’re already on social media but don’t have a website I’d love to build one for you that keeps you connected while still making you the authoritative source for information about you and your business.