Losing the Website Way – Part 1

Well, it’s Day 13 of my journey into the writer’s life, and I have a painful confession to make.

I’ve been lost in website development hell.

For the past three weeks, I’ve been on a miserable package tour into the twilight zone. I’ve thrown away time and money, found dead ends, changed direction over and over again, and lost work/life balance in the process.

The trip started well — it looked like a nice three-hour tour. I followed all the official advice on freelance site development and all the preliminaries were straightforward. I picked a great URL, found a good hosting company, did a lot of research on WordPress, signed up with iStockPhoto for imagery, and then started downloading templates.

That’s where everything went wrong.

First, my favorite WordPress template was on a site that crashed the day I went to download it. The developers had a huge denial-of-service attack so payment, downloads and support were down. For nine days.

On the bright side, I didn’t pay for the template I couldn’t download.

Clearly, it was time to give up on my first plan and opt for Plan B. I tried a free template. It looked like something a six-year-old created. With glue.

Now for Plan C. My first paid-for template ($49) was better, but the end-result still looked like a kid’s science project instead of a polished professional site. Not acceptable – yet.

I decided to choose Plan D. My second paid-for template ($197) actually looked like a reasonably well-done website. But it had limits and restrictions. The template developer agreed to do some custom work for me, and then 48 hours later fired me for being ‘too hands-on.’ He referred me to another developer. The new guy was great — until he stopped answering his phone or email. He was already working 80 hours a week when I contacted him – so he may have spontaneously combusted.

After much angst, I moved forward with Plan E … or is it F? Checkbook out, I hired a top-notch, professional web developer who had been going along brilliantly for about a week. Until yesterday. He got sick and didn’t send a revision on time.

He’s back at work today. I hope I’ll have the site I want shortly.

There are many lessons to be learned from this sorry story, so I’m going to write multiple posts on my website woes. But here’s the big picture takeaway I want everyone to have. Be optimistic in the face of bad stuff.

Your journey isn’t going to be flawless. Years ago, I did a self-guided walking tour in Germany. I got lost. I got blisters. The museum I specifically went to visit was closed for renovations. I ordered pasta and I got eggplant. The trip really didn’t go according to plan.

I stayed optimistic then, and I’m staying optimistic now. I’m finding that optimism is an essential part of my journey to the writer’s life. Even if I’m forced to eat eggplant along the way. How has optimism helped you cope with bumps on your journey? How has it helped you cope with bumps in YOUR web-building experience? Drop me a comment and let me know.

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Published: May 16, 2012

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