How To Master Your Website

My website redesign went over-budget…  Web Posting Mart I had three days to fix a long list of stuff, and my budget was running low, real low… and it turned out to be a Good Thing.website

Although the “concepting” of this website has started months ago, I have taken the time to let it brew because I want every move to be INTENTIONAL, to reflect how I want to do ME in my business.

4 weeks ago, I finally felt the click. The time was ripe, so I went ahead and contacted my web gal, Jenn, for the project. I outlined a scope, set a budget, prepare all the materials and necessary information (down to the hex#) to help make the process as smooth as possible. I thought I covered everything Page Papi.

Of course, there is always Murphy’s Law. The theme we originally selected did not allow her to make the website the way we wanted (haha, so much about “plug-and-play”!) Then the sign up box under the header got all scrambled up when viewed on mobile.

Jenn ended up developing a custom theme for the site, and we had to come up with solutions for the mobile hiccup. Long story short, we ran out of time and budget.

It was Saturday and I was getting nervous about the list of “fixes” that needed to get done because I had a guest blog post going live on the next Tuesday with the author bio pointing to the new site.

The list was quite daunting… fixing homepage layout, adding a testimonial rotator, adding links to the footer, cleaning up social share icons, revisiting some sidebar content, figuring out URL redirect, setting up business email with the new domain name, going over layout of critical pages to make sure nothing is broken, synching up all Mailchimp lists and info with the new URL and email address, and installing a trigger-box for list building… And Jenn still had to code the homepage on Monday!

I decided that instead of toiling my thumbs, sweating buckets and putting pressure on Jenn, I would pitch in and check some stuff off the list.

And I did. I fixed some homepage layout stuff (figuring out html while chasing two kids was… interesting), hooked up the testimonial rotator, got all the sidebar and footer content sorted, figured out how to use a plug-in to set up redirect, reviewed layout of I-don’t-know-how-many pages (including 70 blog posts)… even tested a few pop-up plug-ins to see which one I like, and fixed the.php file for the shopping cart – without breaking anything!

On top of that, I did some research and came up with a solution for the scrambled sign up box on the header, created a new Photoshop file for Jenn so she can get it going first thing on Monday.

Yep, all in one weekend, while herding two kids and with family in town. Came Monday, Jenn was able to go in and focus on setting up the homepage and fixing the header sign up, and we got it “good to go” by the end of the day. PHEW!

Even though I was on hyperdrive and lost some sleep (the adrenals ain’t happy about that), it turned out to be a valuable learning experience.

I feel so much more empowered and confident about handling all things WordPress – not just what I can do to fix something, but also where to find the resources/information to tackle a problem. That means I didn’t just solve the crisis at hand, but also learned a bag of tricks and gathered a box of tools that will save me time, money and panic down the road.your

It’s not about “doing it all by myself”. It’s not about proving something. It’s not about saving VA budget.

It’s about being able to be flexible and “not freak out” – because when sh!t happens at the 11th hour (and it will), you still have to roll up your sleeve and fix it. It’s better to feel confident and prepared, rather than spending the time and effort to start learning and panicking (which does NOT help with the thinking bit.)

It will cut frustration and panicking – energy drains that are not conducive to putting good vibe out there to attract the clients you want.

WordPress basics is NOT rocket science. First Thing you need to do to Conquer “Technology” is to stop saying “I am not tech-ie”

If you go in thinking you can’t handle it, you will look at the bumps and hiccups as evidence that you can’t handle it. Really, it’s that simple. It may sound like some trite personal development stuff… but that’s true and let’s roll with it for a moment.

You don’t have to be “tech-ie” to make things work on WordPress, or to hook up your online marketing. I had a client who asked a friend that teaches computer stuff in the university to help her with website, email marketing, social media and whatnot… of course, that friend has NO idea what Mailchimp is about, or how to make Facebook work for a business.

If you are thinking “tech-ie-ness” is what you need, you are barking up the wrong tree.

A lot of times, learning the basics (even the intermediates) is about having the clear head and the openness to ask the right questions.

Clear head comes from having the confidence in yourself that you CAN do it. Many competent coders don’t get it right the first time (I have witnessed this time and again during my 10 years working closely with these guys in online marketing agencies.) It is about having the confidence to keep at the troubleshooting – TRUST that you can do it, and think creatively.

How to Become the Master of Your Website

Of course, it’s not like you tell yourself you can do it and you can (I am not that out there.) Managing a website does take some solid skills and practical knowledge, so here are a few things to help you empower yourself and take charge so you can be the Master of your website:

(note: being the “master” does not mean you have to know how to do everything. It is about having the control so you can manage what comes up and devise solutions for the problem at hand)

Educate yourself on the basics – you don’t have to know how to code, but understanding the basics, knowing what to ask and using the correct terminologies can help facilitate the process. There will be fewer chances of miscommunication – which can lead to your web guy building something totally different that what you *think* you are getting, wasting precious time and money. I also find that developers show you more respect and are less likely to give you BS if you take the initiative to know your part.master

If you hire someone to set up a website for you, ask for a 30-minute walkthrough as part of the service package so you feel comfortable making changes on your own, instead of having to wait a few days just for some minor adjustments to be made.

Check out this plug-in called Sidekick – it provides interactive, real-time, narrated guides through the WordPress administration area.

Don’t forget good ol’ Google! Ask the right question, and focus on your end goal so you don’t get sucked into the rabbit hole.

If you purchase themes and plug-ins, chances are the merchant offers some kind of support, such as a forum or help desk. Make good use of them – most sellers are very helpful and I had good experience with many of them.

If you have an email newsletter service provider and need to hook up your sign up form to your website, call customer support or submit a help ticket. Personally I have great experience with Mailchimp email support.

Know where to find help when you need it – there are many websites where you can post a task and developers will respond with a quote. E.g. Elance.com, oDesk.com, and Codeable.io.
A few “DUH” tips to save you time and frustration:

(I learned them the hard way… )

Clear Cache! Yes, simple as that! As you edit and save and edit more and save more, your browser gets gunk up with stuff. It not only impacts the load time (which can be frustrating for the impatient) you may also be seeing things that have already been updated but are still showing up because the browser is “remembering it.”
Less Is More when it comes to plug-ins. Those bells and whistles may look cool but the more plug-ins you have the more likely a code conflict will occur. Deactivating all the plug-ins (except the ones you can’t live without) and then reactivating them one by one to see which one is causing trouble, can often help troubleshoot a lot of issues.
Take a break. I can’t tell you how many times I walk away from nearly trashing my computer and come back with new solutions that worked magic.
Don’t Forget These Website Soulwork

You never know what variety of sh!t is going to hit the fan when the 1’s and 0’s are having a party, so SHOW UP to whatever shows up to you. And TRUST that you can do it (or have the resource to find someone who can!)

Fears* may be holding you back from asking the right questions, or asking any question! (Having humor helps if you end up asking the stupidest question… make a joke and laugh about it. I do that all the time.) – The fear of INADEQUACY – if you feel like you are not good enough, you don’t have the confidence to challenge others. You may not want to ask questions because it may reaffirm your limiting belief that you don’t know enough. – The fear of being VULNERABLE – if you don’t want to appear vulnerable, you may “puff up” and appear that you know it all. You don’t want to ask questions that make you appear not knowledgable. – The fear of MISSING OUT – if you are afraid that if you don’t “act now” and get it done you may miss out on something – and this fear drives you to make hasty decisions before you have all the facts. E.g. how many times we succumb to pithes like “buy this plug-in now for $97 or you will be the only one left without these cool features on your website!”, and ended up with a bunch of “stuff” on our hard drive – never installed, never put to use – only adding guilt and even make us feel we must be dumb because we can’t figure out what to do with it.

 

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