Sometimes small business owners approach me for a quote, but they aren’t really sure what it is that I do. They know they need a website, and they know they don’t know how, or don’t want to know how, to set it up on their own. But where is the line between what I do, and what they’ll need to do, to build and run a great website?
I was going for a bike ride with my family yesterday, and I started to think that being a bike mechanic is a pretty good website development/design analogy.
Say you’ve heard that bike riding is fun. You’ve heard it can really help you improve and get healthy. You want in.
Then the question becomes – what kind of bike owner are you going to be?
Are you a…
…Deep Dive Enthusiast? Someone who wants to learn all about bikes, the hardware brands and styles options. Someone who wants to build their own bike from scratch and tinker with it on weekends and keep abreast of all the bike news, watching for new tech to incorporate.
…Hobbyist? Someone who is handy and interested enough to build their own bike from a kit, even if it isn’t quite perfect. Someone who has time to do their own maintenance work.
…Weekend Warrior? Someone who wants to buy a pre-made bike at high end bike shop and who will take it in twice a year for a tune up – but someone who also knows enough about their bike to put it through its paces on a regular basis and to keep it clean, oiled, and in good shape.
…Good Intentionist? Someone who bought a basic level bike at a sports store chain, but now it sits in the garage and they only take it out a few times a year. If anything breaks, they’d have no idea how to fix it or what to do, and it’s slowly getting rusty and dusty.
You can think of your web designer or developer as your bike mechanic – someone who can find the right bike for you and help keep it clean and shiny. Someone who knows about all the hardware and how it works together, who can create a kit bike or a custom bike or something in between that suits your riding style.
I work best with the Weekend Warriors and Hobbyists. People who know a bit about websites, enough to keep them updated and maintained on their own, but who want an expert mechanic to build the basic machine in the first place. Someone who will make sure that all the pieces are set up correctly and working well together. Someone who knows about the industry and can suggest a set of wheels that will work better, or swap out your seat for something that is a better fit.
And then I hand you your awesome bike, with some instructions on how to oil it and keep it clean, and let you take it for a ride. I’m here for semi-annual tune ups and fixing problems, but you’re the one in the driver’s seat.
Other developers are a better fit for Good Intentionists – developers that host the site for you and maintain it on a daily basis, for a fee, so you don’t have to think about anything, it’s off your radar. It’s kind of like keeping your bike in their shop all time, and you occasionally dropping by to look at it, maybe take it for a little spin. That’s not quite what I do, although if you’re a Good Intentionist looking to move up a level, I’m great at teaching you how to work with and run a WordPress site – you might even have fun doing it.
And Deep Dive Enthusiasts? They probably don’t need a designer – but if they do, they need a big design firm with lots of creative types and marketing specialists and graphic designers to build them something truly unique. That’s not quite what I do, either.
So think about what kind of bike rider you are – and what kind of website manager you are.
If you’re a Weekend Warrior or a Hobbyist, let me build you a bike – er, site – and get you out the door and riding free in the information superhighway.