Build your own website. It’s easy! There are at least a bazillion websites out there that will provide the tools you need to create your own business website online. Some of them will even host it for you. This has been going on for years (I think GoDaddy may have been the first), but recently these do-it-yourself sites have been springing up all over the web. Build your own website. It’s easy!
I am seriously torn on this subject. I have always been a strong advocate for my customers – I do everything I can to be a fair and affordable resource for them. Most of them are small businesses with limited budgets, so I understand their need to save a dollar whenever possible.
The tagline I associate with Netpalouse is “Affordable. Professional. Unique.” I do work at staying affordable, but it’s the other two words that are the most relevant here. “Professional” refers to over 26 years of working in the Information Technology field. I bring a broad base of technical expertise to my websites, and I strive to demonstrate a professional approach in everything I do.
And “unique” pretty much sums up what you get when you come to Netpalouse for a website design. If you’ve ever looked at my Portfolio, you can see that I work hard to make my websites reflect the individual businesses they represent. If you use one of these do-it-yourself providers, you will build your website based on a template that countless other people have used. The “uniqueness” is limited to adding in your own photographs…
I’ve inherited a couple of websites lately that were originally self-built. People found that there was more work involved than they expected, and that it was difficult to make the do-it-yourself templates look the way that they wanted. I was happy to rebuild these sites into “professional”, “unique” websites. And as far as I know, these customers considered my rates to be most ”affordable”.
You get what you pay for, and free is not always the best solution. Give me a chance to build you an interesting website, and I’ll show you – It’s easy!
As of today I am officially retired from WSU, and I couldn’t be happier about it!
I’ve finished cleaning up my websites, and I’ve moved most of them over to my new hosting provider. I think this is a win-win situation for me as well as my customers. This provider offers some utilities that will help me keep my websites secure and running efficiently.
They have a very affordable backup system that gives me all kinds of flexibility on scheduling backups of my websites. I’ve always had local backups of my copy of the sites, but this lets me backup directly from the production server copy. I’ve had several customers ask me about that capability, so this is a good thing.
They also offer a free version of a utility that is supposed to significantly improve both security and performance of my websites. Who can argue with that?
I absolutely love having the time to take proper care of my customers and their websites. And I’m as busy as I can be with new site development as well as maintenance work. I have a ton of things I can do to develop this business, to improve the services I provide, and to grow myself as a professional web designer.
Working pretty hard for a retired guy, and loving every minute of it!
I’ve spent the better part of this last week trying to recover from a major attack on many of my hosted websites (and a few that are hosted elsewhere). I’m still fighting it, and I’m hoping that my customers will stay with me into a brighter and more secure future.
All I can say is that I will do everything I can to be more proactive about security on my hosted websites. In the past I’ve been careful, but I’ve also been lazy. Now that I’ve retired from WSU (yay!) I have the time to invest Netpalouse with a higher level of support and security. With luck, I’ll be able to stay at least one step ahead of the hackers.
I feel absolutely terrible that I let this happen, but my only option is to fix it and to make sure it never happens again – as opposed to the dweeb hackers who broke our websites in the first place. I don’t claim to understand these people, but I do know that they get more pleasure from breaking things than from building things.
Me, I’d rather build…
I started this blog on the 4th of July in 2008. That means I’m coming up on my 5 year anniversary. Cool. It’s a good time to be excited.
I’m excited because I get to do this full-time. I’m still at WSU for another 6 weeks or so, but I’m definitely getting into short-timer mode. 26 years is long enough, and I am so looking forward to working for myself from now on.
It’s funny how giddy I am about it already. I’m already spending time on things I never had time for in the past. Found a nice little e-book about SEO principals (seo = search engine optimization) that I’m working my way through. I think I’ve used my time constraints as an excuse not to deal with some things. I may never become an SEO expert, but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn more about it.
And this morning I updated my Netpalouse keywords for the first time in several years. Yay! And in the process I found and fixed a major bug on my Netpalouse home page. It’s bugged me for a while how slowly the home page loaded. I thought it was just because I had too many things going on. But I fixed it and now it pops right up. Double Yay!!
Click here to see what I mean.
Another thing I’ve avoided in the past is advertising, and I’m having all sorts of fun with that now. Added my business to the Uniontown phonebook (all kinds of new work down there), and I purchased a tee sign to sponsor the 7th hole of the Colfax Golf Club! I’m even running a software giveaway for my customers – click on ”Special Offer!” on my home page.
I’m excited about my future and I’m excited about the future of Netpalouse Web Services. I’ve been doing this for 12 years now, but now that it’s a full-time job, I feel like a kid with a new toy. This is gonna be fun! Triple Yay!!!
I’m a fairly organized person. My house is not as clean as it might be, but it’s organized. If the power goes out, I can put my hand on a flashlight in the dark. Because I know exactly where it is.
I’ve decided that Netpalouse needs to be better organized as well. As I spend more and more of my time on this business, organization will become more and more necessary. I’m already seeing my workload grow, and I worry about losing my reputation for quick turnarounds. I can’t let that happen.
So I’m a geek. What else would I do but go looking for software? I needed something that would help me manage multiple projects, keeping them organized by dates and priorities. Something that would let me keep up with my growing workload, and keep my customers happy with my work.
This weekend I found Podio, an online project management application. I think it’ll do the job. I get to it through my browser, and it has apps so I can run it on my Android phone and tablet. It’s very easy to configure, so I can tell it exactly what data I want to track on my projects. And the best news is that it’s free for companies with less than 5 users… that’s me!
Podio was bought by Citrix last year, so I’m expecting it to stay around for a while. If I can learn to use it consistently, I’m hoping it will keep me organized and productive. And with any luck, that’ll help me keep my wonderful customers satisfied.
I’ve worked for the IT department at WSU for almost 26 years now. I’ve only been a professional web designer for 12 years. But that is what I love to do. I have always tried to highlight my IT experience, because I believe it gives me points, both technically and professionally. There are a ton of “fly by night” web designers out there, and I think I offer my customers a more serious, responsible approach.
But it has gotten harder over the years to put time into Netpalouse while I worked full time at WSU. I’ve done a pretty decent job of keeping the business active, but I haven’t spent enough time growing and expanding, building and learning. There has always been this feeling that I could do better by my customers if I only had more time.
Well then, more time it is. Early next year I expect to hang up my career at WSU and focus full time on Netpalouse Web Services. It will be interesting to see if I can grow this business into something that will keep me busy. I like being busy, so I’ve got my work cut out for me. Netpalouse has grown consistently (but slowly) by word of mouth for 12 years. Let’s see if I can learn advertising and promotion well enough to turn it into a full time profession.
It’s what I love to do, so I may as well do it full time.