I decided in the launch of my book that I would have a website to support it. Quite what the website would do I wasn’t too sure, but I definitely needed one. I’ve never written a book before, but I had built and managed websites, so quite frankly, it would all be a piece of piss.
I say I’ve built websites. It would probably be more accurate to say I have been involved with websites throughout my career. Over the past twenty years, as a marketing trainee/exec/manager/director, I have always been involved to some extent or another with websites.
In my first job out of Uni in the mid-90s, I managed the ‘award-winning’ Wine Cellar website as part of my job. This basically meant updating the range online and when an order came in, managing it through the local wine shop. A few years and a few jobs later, I was involved in the project to launch a web based booking system for the cruise industry. Ground breaking at the time for a site which went onto to be the biggest cruise booking engine in the UK.
When I moved over to Australia, on my first day of my first job, I was asked to manage the new website even though it wasn’t strictly part of the job. This was for one of the biggest gym chains and within three months the site was doing a million dollars a month in additional sales. I found out all about SEO and PPC and the commercial advertising routes to increase sales. I didn’t know anything about SEO, so I typed Search Engine Optimisation into Google, and worked on the assumption that the best people at SEO would be the people who came top of the (organic) search return. I was right, they were brilliant and I still work with the people who came top over ten years later.
Next I managed the introduction of a new site for a cruise business, although to be frank, I completely fucked that one up, so I’ll move swiftly on. I came back to the UK and was responsible for the build and launch of a global e-commerce platform for four global brands. I did better that time!
What am I good at when working with or building websites. I’m good at putting myself in the mind if the customer and coming up with hair brain ideas to improve the online experience and make them spend money. I’m good at talking to technical ‘whizz-kids’ (sounding like my dad now) and cutting through their technical bullshit to find ways to not waste money on things we don’t need and only invest in things that make money.
What am I not so good at? I think that would be listening to any of the boring detail given to me by the people who are building the website or actually understanding what they do or why we pay them any money. I’m shit at that.
It’s like driving a car. I’m very good at that, know where all the pedals are and what they are for, know what the steering wheel does and after a while I can also manage the air conditioning. What I’m not so good at is understanding anything about how it works, what is under the bonnet and what to do if the bloody thing doesn’t go.
So in the set up of the website, I have focussed very much on all the things I thought I was good at and ignored all of the things that I am shit at. To put it another way, I haven’t got the first clue what I’m doing! And as many blogs as I read about setting up your own website, it has become abundantly clear that I don’t have any understanding of anything that goes on in the online world!
I thought the best way to address that was to jump in at the deep end. I registered the site (I did that myself, very proud of myself!), and then filled a shopping cart with all sorts of magical things that the blogs say I needed…and then I bought it. And then…I had a very stressful half hour where I didn’t know what I had bought or what I was doing…before finally phoning the company back and asking for a refund because I’m a technologically illiterate fool. To be fair, I don’t think it was the first time they had taken that call!
So then I look around and find someone to do it for me. But now I don’t have a significant marketing budget to pay for an agency. I have my own money and I don’t fancy throwing that around in the same way. I went Fiverr and I found Boby…full name PositiveBoby.
Boby is based in Belgrade, is a Red Star fan and is absolutely brilliant. Boby turned my sketch drawings for a simple blog based site into an actual blog site in a couple of nights. He stayed up late and as I scribbled on my Ipad, he turned those drawings into reality…real time. Amazing. I love Boby. Boby’s getting a signed book when its launched and he can’t wait (so he said anyway). Boby is my new hero!
My blog site isnt a fancy one. It doesnt have to be fancy. It needs to have a blog where I can write about the process of writing my book (you’re reading it!!!) It needs to have a button that points to Amazon so people can buy the book and a button so people can contact me. It does all that and I’m made up with it.
I learnt a lot on this website. I’ve learnt a lot about what I know and what I don’t know and I’ve learnt about the importance of other peoples skills and expertise. Its been a very valuable lesson.