Web 'Design' on the Cheap

Backstory: J– has decided to start a business. She’s not quitting her day job or anything, but tossing her spare time into a new venture; henna. For those not in the know, henna is the mostly-Indian (as in the sub-Saharan continent) practice of staining the skin with a natural paste. Some of the design are incredibly complicated and complex, but J– has picked it up in an incredibly short time. Despite my family’s, er, chilly reception to her skills, I and everyone else she’s worked on has been impressed and have encouraged her to keep going.

So, with the help of her friend, she’s started booking gigs. As with all entrepreneurial endeavors, J– has to have a web presence, which is about all I can contribute. So, fire up Dreamweaver, Firefox, and TopStyle and start hacking away at her site, Fat Cat Henna.

Three hours into it, and beating my head against my desk over rounded corners in CSS and it occurs to me I’m going at this all wrong. Other far smarter people have tread this ground already and publish a pretty kick-ass product. It’s called WordPress.

So, off to WordPress we go, download, unzip, upload, configure and whadda yah know, we got ourselves a Hello World website. In slightly under 20 minutes. J– digs around the following day and finds a few templates that she likes and brings them home via thumb drive. Download, unzip, upload, configure and whadda yah know, we got ourselves a solid framework, a template that’s 90% to where she wants it (although not enough green yet).

So, aside from this post and some chores, we’ve spent the last 2 hours or so tweaking the site. Change some CSS, alter a couple graphics, copy and paste some content, upload some photos and whadda yah know, we got ourselves an honest to gosh, fully functional website.

The To Do list is short: Need to build and publish a Flickr slideshow, tweak the template a bit more (no blogging going on), and maybe a hack to allow her to publish gig dates without a hassle, but not a heck of a lot.

Did we design the site; I guess not, but I do know this. For a small business (of 1) with a $0 design budget, a $0 web management budget, and 2 days until her first solo gig, WordPress got it done.

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