For years, decades actually, I was the sole web-person at advicesisters.net. I used a bootlegged version of Microsoft Front Page 2008 (sorry Microsoft), designing, updating, editing and working on advicesisters.com and advicesisters.net on my own. I admit that the way these websites looked, a kid with one nano-second of experience might have produced a better looking result. But the point was, anything that went wrong, I knew how to fix.
As time marched on, however, it became clear to me that if I wanted to connect with people on social media, and if I wanted to be taken seriously, I had to update the design. Although I had a meagre budget, I did intend to pay for someone to design the site(s). I also wanted to add a personal website for photography (www.alisonblackman.info).
The process of finding a web designer who would agree to do relatively simple website designs with a few minor bells & whistles, should have been easy. The first web designer was eager to help, but then he had personal problems, and just disappeared.
The second web designer also was eager to help, but cutbacks at his (day) job made it impossible for him to work on my sites, and he also, just disappeared.
The third and fourth people “working” on my sites weren’t really a web designers, just nice souls who get gold stars for offering. But when someone is working on your stuff for free, you can’t complain when they have other things to do, and leave you wondering what to do, next.
The fifth person agreed to design my site, but only if I did it exactly as she wanted it, on her terms, and for more money than a shopping spree at Barneys.
Finally, after exhausting every resource I could think of, I found “R” i would put his entire name and a link to his website here, but I don’t want to get in any legal trouble. Let’s just say that this so-called designer has malware on his own website that is infecting every one of his client’s websites, if he uploaded anything to their servers.
“R” was cute, and young, and eager, and even agreed to meet me in person. Starbucks was home base to figure out what I needed. We talked a few times, and he came up with two designs for advicesisters.net and alisonblackman.info that I liked. Eventually, “R” helped me migrate websites to WordPress and I ditched my Blogger blog in favor of categories on advicesisters.net. If anyone at Google actually reads this, please note that in four years I have never been able to get a single question answered, or a single problem resolved, because Google’s most prominent feature appears to be a policy of never, ever, not under any circumstances, providing any customer service or technical help.
“R’ didn’t provide a lot of technical assistance, and I’m not all that much of a fast learned, but soon I was adding content to my sites. I was happy. I liked the look of the design. The only thing that worried me was that I couldn’t handle some of the activities on the site myself anymore. But “R” assured me that he’d always be available to update the site or do whatever was necessary to maintain it.
“Alas,” stand by me didn’t last very long. When “R” apparently infected his own website last year, he didn’t alert me to that fact. All of his clients–at least those who allowed “R” to upload things for them (if only initially), are also effected. Google put “warnings” in beet red on my links, telling people to stay away from them. Of course, the sites were and still are CLEAN, but try telling that to a Google-bot.
If you’re still reading this, you probably don’t want to and don’t need to hear all the details that followed, except to say that a very generous husband of a friend, who is indeed a computer “GOD,” has helped me fix the issues. But where was my web designer who swore he’d be at my side, ready to help, when I needed him? Countless calls, emails and even a few threats to “R” have produced not a single response. He is not deceased — he’s on linkedIn and other places, quite alive.
The point of this post is that in the end, what you can do yourself, or LEARN to do yourself, will be the most valuable activity. Don’t give your “power” to someone else if you have no idea how to get it back!