Initially I used to think that, by the look of it, a website was complicated and intricate. How are all those different elements able to work in harmony to create something that is visually pleasing to its audience?
By all means, website design is not easy. But I wouldn’t call it hard either.
It took patience, problem solving, trial and error, and most of all time to create my first professional website: www.arboretagroup.com. Creating this website was a group effort. My partners were responsible for providing me with the content: “About Us,” “Our Services,” “Bios,” etc., while I was responsible for the structure and placement of content and photos. I had to make sure everything looked “pretty” and functioned properly. All in all, I enjoyed creating the website and learned a lot. As an added benefit, we received great feedback from peers and other business professionals.
But lets back up, how did I get myself in this situation? How was I handed the opportunity to create a website when I did not have much experience or knowledge?
In November of 2015, I was in a conference call with the other members of AG, we were discussing social media and marketing efforts. We knew we needed a website and had asked an “outsider” to create one for us. Weeks later, we realized that the agreement wasn’t working out as planned and the creation of the website came to a halt. What were we to do and who could we find to make a website for us?
My aunt Janedra asked, “Can you make a website for us?” I hesitated and said, “Yes? Of course!” I paused at first because I wasn’t familiar with the process and didn’t know exactly how to create a website, but I knew I can do anything that I put my mind to because I am a problem solver, very creative, detailed-oriented, and technologically savvy.
Although I didn’t have all the knowledge or experience to create a website, I had fiddled around with HTML before in middle school with my Myspace Page, and at UC San Diego for a project I had to complete for one of my Communication classes. Building a professional website couldn’t be as hard as I thought it was if my aunt and the other members of AG were confident in my ability. My partners were ecstatic and we all couldn’t wait to get started.
At that moment, I wouldn’t consider myself a pro or even experienced, but I had the desire and smarts to pull off a website and the AG team believed in me.
Our leap into cyberspace was on my shoulders. The website had to be simple, clean, professional, but have that wow factor.
I didn’t have to design the website from scratch using HTML coding. Yes! Our website is a template!
At first, I was nervous about using a template because I did not want our website to look like all the others out there using the same template. Our website had to stand out and separate us from the bunch. We chose the perfect template on www.themeforest.net. Theme Forest has a variety of customizable templates. The key is to look for a template that offers a variety of color options and customized features, such as different home variations, so the template won’t look like all the other sites. Now, website templates are my friend and I know how to disguise the template and make the website unique.
I wasn’t afraid to take risk as I created AG’s website. At times I couldn’t understand why things weren’t working the way they were suppose to. Why couldn’t I input a text box here? Or place a picture there? I often got frustrated and had to step away from the computer and regain my composure before I did any damage to the website.
Creating the AG website reminded me of my younger sister. When she wouldn’t do something I asked or put my things back where they belong I would get frustrated. I would have to step away and go tell my dad and he would solve my problem. In this case, my dad was Google. When the website frustrated me I would turn to Google. I asked a lot of questions and searched for answers; 95% of the time when I asked Google a question it helped me solve the problem I had. The other 5% of the time it wasn’t helpful and that frustrated me more. I had to take a break from the process and think to myself how can I rephrase the question so that I can get the answer I was looking for.
Some time had past and the website was coming together. I was almost at the finish line and we were nearly ready to launch the website for the world to see.
“Under construction – Please be patient as we bloom” is what the world saw as they typed in our web address www.arboretagroup.com. It is now January 14th, there was one more day left before the website went “live” and the world would be able to see what I created. I was making the final changes and then…I DELETED EVERYTHING. I was petrified! Tears began to run down my face as I sat in disbelief. What did I do? How did this happen? Why me? I couldn’t believe everything was gone.
I texted my partners. They asked me was I sure? I said, “Yes, nothing is there.” They told me not to worry and reassured me that everything was okay. That we had all the content saved on our computer and it would take less time to put it back together because I already knew what I was doing and was familiar with creating a website.
After I dried my tears, I contacted customer support. I was desperate! I asked if there was anything I could do to recover the website. I waited for a response. During that time I thought about the worst-case scenario. The bad news would be if they couldn’t recover it, I would have to create the website all over again. It wouldn’t take me as long as it did before because I knew the layout and had been working with the design for quite sometime. I also knew where we wanted to place everything on the site. The good news was that it would probably take me half the time it took me to create the site initially. The great news would be that I would not have to start all over and the website design could be recovered.
… 87 minutes passed.
It was the longest 87 minutes of my life. I texted my group and told them to cross their fingers. I had my fingers crossed as well. As I clicked to open the email, I hoped for the best. In times of stress I hope for the best!
Whooooo Hooooooo. Yesss! The support team helped me recover the website. I did not have to start all over. I was so happy! I had the biggest smile on my face. I am forever grateful for the support team and what they help me do. I could not thank them enough.
Yes, a website is complicated and intricate but once you know what you’re doing it’s fun and worthwhile. Seeing the finished product made me proud of what I accomplished. Also, knowing a client is in awe and happy to see their vision displayed in a professional, attractive, and effective way is very fulfilling.
Creating a website is rewarding for me. Although I ran into problems and almost broke down it all came together and the end result was a success. I have become much more familiar with website terminology and structures. I know how to host, configure, and design a website. Though the process was challenging, I wouldn’t do anything differently. It all happened for a reason, I learned from my mistakes and am able to move on and grow from my experience.
by Jaime Sykes-Summerville