Social Media for the Sensitive Entrepreneur

My dad would’ve called it a “hissy fit.” I prefer “tantrum” myself. Whatever it was, it wasn’t pretty.

There I was, minding my own business, checking up on a client’s business page on Facebook. Not just any client, but a thoroughly kind and thoughtful soul. Poking through posts and their replies to see what conversations she was sowing, I came across a bizarre, politically-biased response so full of vitriol that it made me instinctively lean back, away from the screen. It was a profanity-laced paragraph labeling my client as “one of those nut jobs who’s ruining America,” and other choice proclamations.

Social Media frustration

The advantage of having someone like me manage your social media? They know how to make those things go away. But after I did, I stormed away from my office, slamming the door and putting my coffee cup on the sink so angrily it shattered into pieces.

My little dog Gordon found me on the couch staring straight ahead, and talked me into taking a walk in the forest. That got some of the poison out. But I knew that day that, effective immediately, I had to find ways to move through social media without letting it ruin my peace of mind, my blood pressure, or my cortisol levels.

The Social Media Jungle

Depending on who you listen to, the world of social media is either A) a handy way to keep tabs on friends, family members, clients, and other interesting people, all in one place, or B) a vast wasteland of self-absorbed people who use it as a bully pulpit because they love the sound of their own voices. Astute readers will note that it’s actually both. Beautiful conversations and connections take place on social media. And terrible ones take place there as well.

It’s the latter that make dealing with social media so stressful for people like me, who need (and want) to engage there for business purposes. Not everyone finds it stressful, but as an introverted intuitive person who’s sensitive to the needs and pain of others, it can be utterly overwhelming at times.

Why Does It Have to be So Hard?

1) Social media is something impersonal masquerading as personal. No matter how pretty a picture you want to paint, it is always going to be a poor substitute for true human interaction, which is rich in inflection & tone, body language, the meeting of eyes, and (generally) social boundaries. It’s not real. Real is real. Mind you, it can close up distances, such as the 5000 miles between my wonderful coach and I. But when a good friend who lives down the block says “Happy birthday” via Facebook rather than taking the 2 minutes to call or even leave a kilogram of Belgian chocolate in your mailbox, it’s a sign our species is going somewhere I don’t want to follow.

2) As we’re all aware, the anonymity of the online world – real or perceived – brings out the worst in certain people. Perfectly rational people say things online that they would never in a million years consider saying if they were standing in the same room with you. Sometimes these things are vicious, spiteful, critical, even hate-filled. I’ll often get an image of a snarling, chained dog, spraying spittle as he tries to get free and latch onto your throat. It unleashes the inner jackass of many people.

3) Conversely, others tend to put only their best foot forward on social media, wanting so badly for the world to think of them as good people, to approve of them, to socialize or work with them. With words and pictures they have carefully crafted an online persona that, upon meeting or working with them, turns out to have little basis in reality. You’re expecting the Dalai Lama; you get something more like Rush Limbaugh in a “Save the Whales” t-shirt.

 

When You Have to Enter the Jungle

Social media is no longer just a place to share vacation photos, post upcoming life events, and say hi to Cousin Bob. More often these days, it seems like a place to stake out your value system and defend it to the death. Lurking amid the sharings of Kahlil Gibran and favorite Thai restaurants, waiting to spring, are people desperate to be heard, and to prove at any cost that they are right.

Express virtually any original thought online, and it’s a safe bet you’ll become a jerk magnet, attracting people eager to argue, to show you the error of your ways. And that’s tiring.

Turning our backs on this dysfunctional space isn’t really an option for entrepreneurs. Many of us have Facebook pages and groups we manage. In order to reach out to far-flung readers everywhere, we need to spend a certain number of minutes each day or each week in our accounts. We answer questions. We disseminate useful tips and information. We offer support and encouragement. We intermingle with people interested in what we do.

In order to get to talk to those readers, and even when we’re interacting online with them, we have to brave the rest of it: the complainers and the attackers, the armchair critics of all stripes, the interrupters and the conversation-dominators.

How can we reap the best of social media without having it drain the joy from our day and replace it with tension and stress?

Map, Compass, Machete, and Bug Spray

Here are some tactics and tools that may help make it easier to enter that space and keep your sanity:

1) Get clear about why you’re on social media in the first place.

Very few of us set up social media accounts with the express purpose of getting into arguments with people we’ve never met, listening to rants, or hearing endless tales of woe from distant relatives. Be purposeful about social media. Decide why you’re entering that world—what you want to get out of it. Here are my reasons, just to offer an example:

  • I want another way to stay in touch with people who add to my life – people I love, people who are wise, people whose presence in my life feeds me.
  • I want to connect with people doing good things in the world. I want more access to good news, which isn’t as profitable and therefore is harder to find.
  • I want to keep up with my clients, and share their wonderfulness with others who might not yet know them.
  • I want to share bits of myself with others, in the hopes it’ll make someone’s minute/day/life better in some small way.

When I’m tempted to start bickering with someone who’s being insulting, obstinate, pushy, or downright hateful, I try hard to remember my list . . . and to note that “Teach a lesson to jerks who desperately need a beat-down” isn’t on it.

Why are you out there? Get clear. Write it on a brightly-colored sticky note that will catch your eye when you’re tempted down the Facebook/Twitter rabbit hole especially.

2) Turn off notifications on your desktop or mobile.

Have you ever been seated next to someone at a restaurant whose phone bleeped, pinged, squeaked, and buzzed through the entire meal? How would it feel to have someone following you all day long, randomly poking you in the arm without warning, without rhyme or reason? “Hey. Hey Margaret. You know what? Hey, hey, are you listening?”

Unless your business depends on getting immediate notifications of every small detail that happens in your world (think stock broker, surgeon on call, political PR director), do yourself a huge favor and turn off “push” notifications. 

3) Take time to get to know your social media settings.

There are a lot of people on social media who don’t know how to change their settings in order to keep out the things and people they don’t want to see. A friend expressed frustration at the sheer volume of notifications flying past all day long – unaware that with a click she could control who appears in her feed and who doesn’t. Learn how to use each service. Check out their how-to regarding privacy, timelines/feeds, and notifications. On Facebook in particular, learn how to turn off notifications if and when you need to, so you stop seeing what you don’t want to see. And…

4) …Make friends with the Unfriend/Unfollow functions.

We are all pulled in a hundred different directions every day, and most of us suffer from the insidious effects of stress in one way or another. Do you really need to add to it the complaints, insults, demeaning jokes, and arguments of distant relatives and sorta-friends? Are the photos of your middle school friend drinking at the football game adding something to your life? Does your happiness hinge on being perfectly up to date with the latest gory news stories, gross injustices, political outrages?

Consider paring down the people in your online world to just those who make you feel better, not worse. People you actually know, like, and trust. Or even those you don’t know personally but who have something kind, or wise, or supportive to say. For the rest, either turn off their voice in your feed or delete them altogether. And watch your blood pressure go down.

5) Get relief with helpful tools

Lucky for us, software developers get just as annoyed on social media as we do. They’ve been hard at work dreaming up ways to give us more control.

Want to filter out specific topics, people’s names, ads, that annoying celebrity news feed on Facebook? Social Fixer and FB Purity are add-ons that allows you to block, hide, and filter out annoyances of all kinds — literally giving you the power to control exactly what you see. If you’re a Twitter user, Lifehacker has some suggestions for filtering your Twitter feed. When in doubt, google “filter posts on {insert a social media service here} and see what’s available.

Can’t stop yourself from spending too much time on social media? Try one of the blocking tools like Freedom, Self Control, Stay Focusd, or Cold Turkey.

 

Social media outlets can be useful tools for keeping connected with people who help us have the kind of life and work we want. If we can all make conscious choices about why we are using these tools, and put intelligent, thoughtful limits on how we engage there, we can have the best of both the “real” and online worlds.

Do you have any tips, tactics, or tools that you use to engage in social media without losing your peace of mind?  What has helped you?  Please share in the comments below — thanks!

Marketing Integrity: Can We Ditch the Pitch?

“Can we just stop with The Secret you Need to get XYZThe Successful Women Upleveling Strategies; and The 7 Steps to Having it All? Seriously. Let’s stop that. You’re implying that you know what I need; you have it and I don’t; I’m less-than without it; and only you can open the door.”
http://www.jacmcneil.com/2016/08/30/an-open-letter-to-anyone-running-virtual-summits/

Okay. Picture this:

You’ve just received two emails, each promoting an upcoming workshop. Both sound super-useful. You believe that either one might truly help you ratchet your business or organization up to a better place. You’re thrilled you have the time to attend, but there’s a catch: you can only afford one of them.

One of the workshop promoters ends her email with,

“You don’t want to miss this amazing opportunity to invest in yourself and your amazing business! We won’t offer this again until 2022! We’ll see you there on March 7th!”

The other promoter says,

“We’d love to help you craft a business that supports you and your clients. Does this workshop sound like something you’ve been looking for? If so, we hope you’ll sign up for our next session on March 7th.”

Which do you respond to – which makes you feel like hitting the signup button? Which feels better in your gut?

This isn’t a trick question, and there’s no correct answer. But how my differing clients have responded has provided some food for thought for me this week.

The integrity thing.

I’m into integrity. It’s been one of my favorite words since I was an impressionable kid, and heard it on TV. (Yes, I was that geeky kid who had her own dictionary at 6.)

  1. the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles;
    synonyms: honesty, honor, good character, principle(s), ethics, morals, virtue, decency, fairness, sincerity, truthfulness, trustworthiness, e.g. “no one doubted her integrity”
  1. the state of being whole and undivided;
    synonyms: unity, unification, coherence, cohesion, togetherness, solidarity, e.g. “upholding territorial integrity and national sovereignty”
  1. the condition of being unified, unimpaired, or sound in construction.
    synonyms: soundness, strength, sturdiness, solidity, durability, stability, stoutness, toughness, e.g. “the structural integrity of the aircraft”

Honest. Whole and undivided. Sturdy and strong.

Was that a groovy word to fall in love with, or what?

Fast forward to 1997, when I started daydreaming about a business of my own. I wasn’t sure about the details yet, but I knew I wanted to make something that was breathtakingly honorable, that let me be in tight solidarity with clients, and that was sturdy and stable enough to support me financially.

So here’s what that idealism evolved into: I get to know other businesspeople. I’m honest, whole-hearted, and strong with them and for them. I’m a careful observer of what they need in order to be happy, or happier. I have products and services that might help many of them. I try to articulate those clearly, and then provide paths for the right people to work with me. It’s good, meaningful work that makes me feel good about myself.

Yet increasingly, all around me, I see marketers taking a different tack. And not just taking it themselves, but recommending it to thousands of people as the golden ticket to success.

Is this the only way to succeed?

In a recent newsletter from author John Parkin, he pondered statements like the marketingspeak I began this post with. “We’ll see you there,” “Thank you for your patience,” and “Thanks in advance for signing up” are everyday examples. He saw this use of language as manipulation, and wondered why people couldn’t simply speak more honestly and directly.

I nodded all the way through that newsletter. True, there are folks making a bajillion dollars on products and services with this sort of manipulation. You’ll know them from the 72-point headers shouting at you about what you can’t afford to miss out on. They kindly offer reminders that there won’t be another chance to (insert action), and won’t you be sorry? They sneak in subtle or not-so-subtle rebukes of those who won’t “invest in themselves.”

We all know this type. They’re everywhere. Because it works.

It works because there are human beings out there who see nothing wrong with being spoken to in this way. We are so inured to media manipulation that it may not even register as such. It’s just business, right?

But for me, and for most people in my circles, it’s not.

Ten times out of ten, I prefer consuming goods and services from people who see me as an individual, a unique person worthy of respect, capable of making my own decisions. And pushy salespeople—no matter how famous they are, how many books sold, how many followers, how many “Likes”—are, for me, the face of disrespect.

How many of us have been badgered to sign up for a marketer’s mailing list, only to have them flood our email box with aggressive, loud, bouncy sales pitches daily . . . even several times daily. It’s as though you’re trapped in email hell with a Chatty Cathy saleperson who loves the sound of her own voice, or are stuck standing next to a carnival barker. Let me tell you about this amazing thing!  Can you believe some people would pass this by?  You know you need it/want it/deserve it!  

In the most insidious cases marketers even use their mailing list manager’s tools to track your opens, responses and clicks, so they can—automatically—get up in your grill with nag emails: “We noticed you haven’t signed up for X yet and we’re curious why not…”

For me, it doesn’t get much more obnoxious than that.

Even a marketer’s repeated use of quasi-friendly statements like “Can’t wait to see you there!” (um, no, you might not), “Don’t wait—sign up now!” (can I finish my lunch first?), and “Thanks in advance for joining us!” (seriously?) can push me away from a perfectly good offering.

Why? Because I know these folks don’t see me. They see a prospect, with a pulse and a wallet. They see their almighty List growing by one. They see their PayPal account saying cha-ching as many times as possible in a day, starting with me. They’re on the third jab and they’re looking to land the right hook.

It doesn’t hurt my feelings a bit. But it also doesn’t get my money. It’s business, yes. It’s just one of the faces of business that I don’t feel obliged to support.

Food for thought

  • When you’re out there seeking supporters, buyers, clients, and customers for your business, do you use scarcity or manipulation to “seal the deal?”
  • Do you believe in a vigorously persuasive approach, using language to herd audience members into your solution rather than a competitor’s?
  • Are you tempted to point out the repercussions if they don’t choose to purchase?
  • Is the local online marketing guru trying to convince you that the hard sell is the ONLY way to “not leave money on the table”?

Here’s my two cents: I would offer that marketing yourself with complete integrity—and without manipulation—is a standout skillset that’s beneficial across the board, from attracting the kinds of clients you love working with, to seeing a healthy bottom line.

Your potential clients are intelligent, thoughtful, hard-working, sometimes stressed-out individuals. The carnival barkers are everywhere, so in this noisy world it can be integrity that stands out as courageous, comforting, and convincing.

In an upcoming post, I’ll give some examples of marketers that operate 100% from a place of compassion, interest, and honesty, and who are wildly successful doing it.

Thanks for listening, and remember to be honest, whole-hearted, and sturdy.

The Morning Routine: Ten Minutes That Change Everything

It seems like I was a latecomer to the “early morning routine” trend.  I didn’t really trip over that concept until 2014, when suddenly (to me) it seemed to be everywhere I looked.  Leo Babauta had written about it long before on his great blog ZenHabits.net.  Tony Robbins has been talking about it for ages.  Hal Elrod wrote a whole book about the “miracle morning” in 2012. But somehow I’d missed all of that until two years ago, and then it took until the second half of 2015 to finally find a way of doing it that changed my life.

The morning ritual is something that’s been written about in Fast Company, Inc., the Wall Street Journal, and about a trillion other publications.  It’s been popular among high achievers for centuries. Marcus Aurelius had a morning ritual. Benjamin Franklin had one.  Mark Twain contributed the often-quoted advice more than a hundred years ago, “Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day” (translation: get the hard things out of the way first).  The theory is that, by starting your day with a routine that combines contemplation, goal-setting, and various kinds of activities, you can set yourself up to have a productive, focused, and happy day—by intent, not by luck.

Leo Babauta (one of my heroes) first wrote about his morning routine in 2007 here.  His routine starts at 4:30am and takes about two hours.  Tony Robbins often talks about his “Hour of Power” and even had a podcast you could tune into if you couldn’t motivate yourself to do it alone.  Hal Elrod has a handy acronym for his version of it, S.A.V.E.R.S. – short for Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, Scribe — which I tried for a while. It took about 30 minutes, and covered a lot of bases.

Each would last about two weeks. Then I’d find all the excuses in the world not to do it.

No matter what it says about me, I found that ALL of these were just too much of a time commitment to be sustainable.  I’m a person who does her most inspired work in the early morning within an hour of waking up, and I couldn’t seem to get myself to consistently postpone that creative window with a big block of time for a ritual.

In August of 2015, though, I attended a workshop offered by local entrepreneur Katy Moses Huggins called Kick Start Your Business.  Lots of super-useful stuff came out of that workshop, much of which still inhabit my work systems.  But the part I implemented immediately, and which has made a monumental difference in my work in the world, was her morning ritual, which takes about 10 minutes. It looks something like this for me:

3 minutes of movement.  Whatever gets breath, body, blood moving.  I usually click on the coffee pot, set a timer, and do 3 minutes of whatever movement seems to fit that morning.  Stepping up and down the carpeted step down into my family room, walking around lifting hand weights, easy yoga positions or stretching, standing crunches, whatever feels right.

1 minute of deep, rhythmic breathing.  I am a person who routinely robs her brain of oxygen when stressed, by shifting my breathing to shallow, short breaths.  Conscious deep breathing oxygenates my brain and gets me thinking more clearly almost immediately.

3 minutes of gratitude.  Even on the most stressful of mornings, I force myself to be quiet and think of all of the people, places, things, fateful life events, everything and anything good that has graced my life and made me what I am. Instead of diving right into everything that’s wrong and needs to be fixed, I start with what’s right.

3 minutes of powerful actions I can take that day to make progress toward the life I want.  I keep a special, inviting multicolored journal and pen on the coffee table to sit and do this part.  It guides my entire day.  Taking a hint from Leo Babauta, I write down my three “MITs” (most important things) that I want to be sure I complete before the end of the day.  And then anything else that my gut says would bring me to day’s end feeling complete, powerful and happy.

That’s 10 minutes.  This short amount of time works for me.  I have a very slow-dripping coffee machine, and I find that I can usually complete the whole ritual while it’s doing its thing.  Then I can move into my day, which usually involves doing some writing first (daily writing being one of my goals for the last few years), then working on my MITs.

I’ve never been one who could easily stick to a routine.  I’m just not wired that way.  I follow sparks of inspiration hither, thither and yon, and sometimes I get to the end of my work day and feel as though I had fun, but didn’t get anywhere near the work output I’d hoped for.

This morning ritual has been part of my life since last summer, and I can honestly say that when I DON’T make time for it, for whatever reason (insomnia, early morning crises, etc)  I feel it just as acutely as I would feel forgetting to eat, or having a bad cold.  I’m “off” in every way, and at the end of the day, it feels like I’ve been wandering around like a Roomba, running into limitations and turning around and around, covering the territory of my life but sooo inefficiently.

And frankly, there are too many things I want to do with my remaining days here on Earth to waste time that way.

Do you have a morning ritual?  What does it look like?  I’d love it if you’d share it with us below.

 

What is Your End-of-the-Year Ritual?

You can tell what season it is just by looking around my office.  There is a crispy new box of manila folders, new Sharpies, a new blank journal, and a new whiteboard and markers.  There is a mini-mountain of books on topics like mastering habits, gratitude practices, and ninja scheduling techniques, as well as all the books my client have written that I’ve yet to find time to read.  On my topmost legal pad are scribbled the names of several podcasts I’ll be downloading.  And a new pillow on the daybed.

yearendbooks

Book stack. Ahem, ONE of the book stacks.

Yep. It’s getting on time for my year-end retreat, and it’s my favey fave time of the year.

Taking a cue from many of our clients’ businesses, I decided a few years ago to take the last few days of the year for rest and reflection. (Overcoming my abject terror at taking ANY time off.)  This year the business will be closed from December 21st through January 1st so that I can use the time exclusively for reflecting, journaling, organizing, dreaming, planning, and a deep rest. Business email will be held until I return.  The phones go to voicemail.  And a quiet settles over the office, so that I can hear the small, still voice of inspiration that is usually buried in beeps, clicks, doorbells, ringtones, and all the rest.

It’s been a delightfully busy, sometimes hectic 2015. I’ve had the chance to work with many folks I’ve known for years, feeling the pleasure of seeing the evolution of their work in the world. I’ve also enjoyed the company of a new collection of people and organizations that are nothing short of amazing. Altogether, it keeps me in the flow of all the good that’s happening in the world, all the hard work done for people and for the planet — an antidote to the steady IV drip of anger, pain, and superficiality we’re fed by mass media. I get to see the other side every day, all day.  I wake up grateful, spend the day grateful, and go to sleep grateful.

Can’t ask for much more than that.

As much as I enjoy the busy-ness, I look forward to this quieter time to regather the frayed threads of my vision for my life, and get back in touch with why I do what I do, and what I’d like to do better in the coming year.

Ike

Ike and his bestie. Photo by http://katymosesphotography.com.

I have to admit that I miss the contact with my clients during this time.  And that’s as it should be, I imagine. But in the space held by that missing, I will be:

  • Finishing up projects to start the new year afresh
  • Tidying up my year-end accounting (my weak spot)
  • Making massive pots of soups and loaves of hot bread
  • Writing (blog posts, articles, and social media bits)
  • Brainstorming new things I’d like to offer people next year…I have a couple of doozies
  • Hanging out with my geriatric puppy Ike (above)
  • Journaling in the village coffee shop, which serves a fantastic latte in a giant mug
  • Sending notes to friends, colleagues and clients to reconnect
  • Going over another year’s notes of conversations with my fabulous coach, Judith Morgan
  • And all of those self-care things that get nudged aside by long, busy work weeks – like a haircut, exercise, good books and catching up on sleep

What About You?

Some of our clients take the time and completely remove themselves from their familiar environment, choosing to spend it holed up in a cozy cabin or cabana.  Others take long walks, play board games with family, and write gratitude notes by the fireside.  Still others work right through it, enjoying the relatively quiet work hours.

What do YOU do at the end of your year?  Do you take some blocks of time away from your regular daily routine, or just the actual holiday days?  How do you reflect on the past year, and get ready for the new?   Do you read more?  Less?   Turn off the computer and phone for a week?  Draw/paint?  Fill up your new year’s Daytimer?  Go to a place with palm trees and drinks with paper umbrellas?

ashleighbrilliantI’m always looking for new ideas to deepen and enjoy this ritual.  If you’re willing share your year-end with me, drop me a note at retreat@websitesforgood.com and tell me what you do; I’d love to know.

Thanks for being out there, and enjoy this time however you spend it.

See you in the new year!

How does a web site happen?

I’m a Big Picture person, so it’s helpful to me to have a bird’s eye view of anything new in my life before I dive into it.

In my working life, I’m often approached by people wanting to have something done on the web, and who are like me, wanting to see the thousand-foot view first, then nibble on the details. I’d say fully 50% are people who have either a) never done a project like theirs before, and so have NO idea what to expect, or b) have done it before and had a bad experience, or at least one that left them feeling bad.   So most are apprehensive because they don’t know how the process will go. What can I expect? How long will it take? What are my responsibilities in all of this? How arduous will it be? How much does it cost? What if I make a mistake and at the end I get a huge bill for something?

I nod and smile at their emails. I get it.

Things have changed from when I first started doing web work about 18 years ago. Then, I was in charge of information technology for an organization that wanted to build its first web site. There were very few people who knew very much about the medium then, and since we worked for advertising agencies, we hired one of them to design a web site for us. They asked very few questions, and didn’t return phone calls, but reportedly held a lot of “team meetings” and brainstorming sessions we weren’t invited to. They came back with a site that made my eyes hurt: garish colors, cartoon icons, a menu that didn’t match what we wanted to put out there, and so much more. It would have made our sleek, professional association look like a children’s toy manufacturer.

And then came the invoice for $5000.00.

I still have bad dreams about that experience. And like all good nightmares, it drives me to run my business in such a way that I never, ever do that to anyone else.

I can’t speak for all digital marketing companies; I only know how WE do things. But I wanted to share what I feel is the process that should be followed by everyone who does what I do:

THE MIND MELD

Marketing yourself on the web is like a complicated machine. There are lots of decisions to be made about what goes where, what its purpose is, and how it needs to work once built. No one outside your brain can know what your goals & dreams are, who your audience is, what will motivate the people you want to reach, and where you want to go with your life & business. So this first phase involves questions . . . sometimes lots of questions . . . in order to clarify what you’re creating, and synch up your brains so you both have the same vision. Beware the professional who does not ask enough questions.

THE BLUEPRINT

In this step, you take all of the answers above and co-create a roadmap from where you are to where you want to be. At the bare minimum, this articulates all of your goals and expectations, as well as a detailed vision of the people you’re trying to reach (and what you offer when you reach them) the site’s structure, interactive features, desired timeline, and cost range. This may take some back-and-forth to get right. Take that time. When it IS right, you enter into a contract to bring it all to life.

THE VISION

The web designer takes everything she (now) knows, along with agreements about things like color and structure, and sits down at the drawing table to create some possible designs – the beautiful container into which you want to pour your words and pictures. See this as the beautiful, functional space into which you’ll welcome your audience to talk with them. Typically, the designer produces two or more different ways of putting all of the pieces together into something the works well, and emails the drawings to you to review. You choose, or adjust and then choose, approving the final one you like best.

THE PROTOTYPE

So now the final flat drawing can be brought to life, as it’s programmed into an actual interactive space on the web. It starts with just a framework, with yawning empty spaces where your unique materials will go. You again have a chance to look this over, and make sure it’s what you signed up for. Then comes . . .

THE BRICKS, MORTAR, PAINT AND PAPER

With guidance, you provide source materials like your logo, the navigational structure (“menu”) you want, specific photos and imagery you want to use, text, etc. You may already have things written, or you may need to write them. You may have photos you want to use, or you may need to be pointed to places where you can pick out what you like. No matter the exact path, with these building blocks in hand, the designer can create complete pages, menus, useful mechanisms, signups/contact forms/calls to action . . . everything your site or social media presence needs in order to come to life, and to open for business.

THE EMPOWERING ORIENTATION

Step back and look at your shiny new web space, lovely but still closed to the public. A good designer will give you a tour of it, and identify what’s needed in terms of the proper care and feeding of your site. Any specific training you or your staff will need to move forward happens now. Web sites are never “done,” but are constantly evolving as your work evolves. Your web designer should make sure you know how to make that happen.

THE LAUNCH

When everything is polished and you’re ready to throw open the doors to the public, the designer will do the behind-the-scenes work to get your domain name yourwebsitehere.com to “point” to the beautiful new creation, get your email working and delivered, submit you to the search engines, etc.

. . .

This may seem like a lot, and of course it is. But — at the risk of sounding like a bit of a cheerleader — it can be a priceless exercise, as you immerse yourself in your vision, your “tribe,” and your unique work for a few days or weeks, gaining a tremendous amount of clarity in the process.

So that’s our favorite bird’s eye view. We welcome questions about any aspect of the process that might worry you, or anything that feels the least bit murky or stressful. We love what we do, and love to use our skillset to help people doing good things. Give us a shout at 720-507-1893, skype mterrian, or drop us an email and say hello.