How to get a new website

At long last, I have a new website! Redesigning the website was a fantastically arduous process; to save you time and money, here’s what I went through. Please learn from my mistakes.

First, I thought I could do it myself. After all, if a 19-year-old can start WordPress, I can design a simple WordPress site, right? This wonderful post by Franklin McMahon sums up my thoughts exactly:

You are not a designer. So rather than get someone who knows what they are doing, you design the website yourself. It’s OK, design is not good, it does not function too well, but hey at least it’s something up there.

Getting into new areas and developing new talents is great. This is not what this is about. It is about having a genuine talent and then completely surrounding it with a subpar presentation. The problem is most of the audience will stop at the presentation.

I spent far too long trying to teach myself web design, only to realize that I wasn’t getting any better because my heart wasn’t in it. Great design, like anything, takes years to learn. (Seriously, read this McMahon post and take it to heart.) If you are not a designer, do not attempt to design your own website. It will look like crap. Even if you’re proud of it, it’s the work of an amateur.

Finally, I decided to stop thinking about cost and start thinking about value. Cost or price is what hits your wallet in the short-term, but value pays off in the long run. Yes, it helps to invest in yourself if you want to take your goals seriously. When I decided to hire a pro, I put an ad on Craigslist that attracted a lot of subpar designers. Then I turned to Dribbble, Webcreme, Behance, Siteinspire, and the soon-to-be-defunct Sortfolio.

About 75% of designers I contacted didn’t respond. When I finally hired somebody, well, let’s just say it didn’t work out. Finally, on a camping trip in Idaho, I met an editor in Portland who couldn’t say enough good things about his web designer. And now, I can’t say enough good things about Natalie McGuire. If you’re in the market for a responsive, responsible, professional, kind, communicative designer who also happens to be insanely talented, hire Natalie. And if you want someone to code the design, improve the back-end, and make WordPress do anything you want, look no further than Brad Hogan.

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