Preparing to shoot a few segments of Big Jon in 5 for BEER2WHISKEY in our upstairs studio at Barley's Taproom in downtown Greenville. That's owner Josh Beebe preparing for his closeup.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Biting Off More Than I Can Chew? Web Site Development Isn't for the Meek

I'm not the kind of guy who jumps into new technology. I'm no Luddite, but I just moved up to a smart phone last year and I am close to being totally baffled by the intricacies of social media. I am admitting this – anyone who knows me already at least suspected as much – as a preface to telling you that for the past three or four days I've been up to my armpits in Web site building. 

Oh, Lordy, my head hurts.

I'd mulled over the idea of creating a Greenville-centric site for several years. My enthusiasm for the idea ebbed and flowed as my paying work would increase or drop off. At the beginning of the year, I finally decided to pull the trigger on the project. But, where to start?

I dusted off my Rolodex and found the card of the graphic artist we used when I was editing car magazines at American Media. He and I worked on a project that I brought him in on four or five years ago. I know we work well together and he seemed like a logical person to, if nothing else, give me a shove in the right direction. We met for breakfast at Delray Beach's Boston's one Saturday while I was on one of my South Florida boondoggles. He agreed to help me come up with a logo of some sort. He also suggested I have his stepson, who actually works for a Web developer in Boca, to build my site as a side job. It made perfect sense to me.

I walked away from that meeting convinced that I would get a jump start on this project, while putting off the steep climb up the learning curve that was ahead of me. I am a slacker first and foremost.

I bought a domain name and paid about $130 for a year's worth of hosting. I thought at this point all I would have to do is put together a little content to get things started. Sometimes I crack myself up.

No, my young Web-building savant informed me, I needed to choose a theme. But, I want you to do that! No such luck. He provided the URL to a site that sells themes by the boxcar load. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of themes available priced from $35 to $100. I looked at roughly 20 of them before narrowing it down to two. I informed my builder that I would be happy with either as long as they could fulfill our needs.

With the decision making and check writing pretty much out of the way, I began to write some content. Clear sailing from here, right? Yeah, not so much. 

I received an e-mail requesting a diagram of how the pages would be arranged to include a hierarchy of pages. What? It makes perfect sense now that I'm more deeply involved in the process, but at the time, it was just one more thing pulling me away from the writing that I wanted to do.

Not much evolved for the next 60 days. Eventually, a mock up of the home page would come up when I typed in the URL, but that was about it. Meanwhile, I'm wasting money on hosting. My weekly inquiries as to progress were answered with a litany of excuses: work, school, traveling and so forth.

I finally decided the foot dragging was my fault; I hadn't provided sufficient leadership, I surmised. I spent an afternoon laying out a home page, and putting together the copy and photos for the pages I envisioned. I emailed those to him. Two more weeks passed without any progress.

Finally, two weeks ago he e-mailed me that the project was much bigger than he originally thought and either he would need to bail or I could double the agreed on price and he would finish. That didn't seem to make much sense to me. Actually, I hadn't paid him a nickle yet. We agreed on about half of the original amount and parted company. 

Finally this past weekend, I waded into this thing. I've been reading tutorials for Wordpress and sort of feeling my way along. What it's taken me three days to accomplish, no doubt, Boy Wonder could have knocked out in four hours with me looking over his shoulder.

I'm not happy with what I have at this point, but it's not terrible for a guy who has very little clue what he's doing. I suspect I will have to pay someone to show me how to do a couple of the things that I'm stuck on and can't seem to find any instructions for.

But, I think I'm finally at a point where all I need do is create some new copy every week and plug it into the appropriate spots. I hope, I hope, I hope.....

It's at 

1 comment:

  1. This looks like on helluva project. I'll send your link to my friend who lives up that way, although he is looking to sell his house. (Want to buy it? it's right on the lake.)