Design Website…Finally!

New Website After years and years of not having a dedicated design website for myself, I’ve finally gotten something up at ## The Long Process

I started the process of figuring out just what I offered as a designer last October in this post. I liked the idea of being a boutique of some kind, rather than a full-service design shop. But a boutique of what?

Design Niche Drawings Soon afterwards I started the Agenceum Project to try to make low-cost websites, and while this didn’t turn out to be very profitable (admittedly, I didn’t push on the marketing/sales side), it did give me a much-needed kick in the pants to start mastering CSS/HTML.

And in January I started putting together a master list of service offerings as evidenced here:

Master List Still, I dithered. There were a LOT of possibilities, but they seemed confusing and esoteric; as a hybrid designer/developer, my work tends to be a little hard to define.

I got it into my mind that I should narrow my focus to three basic offerings: a sounding board, a designer, and a “productivity caravan master”, as these all seemed like things I could do. After feedback from my friends, I learned that this was still confusing. The issue was that these categories are more about me trying to figure out who I was in a unique way, which is a hopelessly-complex exercise in futility. At least with the Agenceum approach, I had a well-defined product: inexpensive websites.

About a week ago, I happened to be talking in The Google Wave with Colleen™ and was reminded of her approach to marketing, and she laid The Formula on me once more:

  1. Are you this person with this problem?
  2. I can help!
  3. Here’s how…

Simple, to the point, and incredibly focusing. It’s just about everything I am not when it comes to writing about myself, and so I sheepishly set about trying to get this messaging into my hastily-cobbled together design shell. For once, I was not focusing on expressing my entire identity, but on what people needed and how to package it. I’m not sure why this never really hit with me before, but thankfully Colleen’s influence is starting to sink in.

The biggest challenge after getting the index page whittled down to a page was actually selecting images and writing content. Image selection went fairly smoothly, taking about 3 days of archive searching. Figuring out what to write, though, eluded me until I remembered the Formula again. Just WHO was I trying to help?

It turns out that the “who” I’m trying to help isn’t the high-powered super-technical companies and their projects. I’m really more interested in helping people who are just getting started, because I love seeing that happen. Entrepreneurs like me, artists, crafts people, solo professionals…these are my people. I decided that they would be my target, and then I just started to write as if I was writing a blog post. It’s long-winded, yes, but it’s conversational too. That’s the way I like to work, and I figure that people who are willing to put up with reading are more likely to be people I work well with.

So the next scary step is to swallow my own medicine and tell people about the new site. I’m still assembling pages and proofreading, but here’s a sneak peek. CMS? HA! It’s all static hand-coded, messy CSS and HTML…but it’s UP. I may convert it to Code Igniter later, since I’m starting to get into that environment.

For the record, is the URL for the design subsite. And now I need to go to sleep.