My very first website...or at least one of them. - Michelle Schneider
My very first website…or at least one of them.

When I was in college I decided to take a course on advanced web design. I thought web design was going to be my major path forward and I was pumped to be on the leading edge of technology. Looking back, that was laughable.

The class focused on building websites in flash. Now if you know anything about web design in today’s society, you now know that course was a waste of time.

Why was it a waste? Flash websites aren’t supported by mobile devices and that class was taught on the brink before the iPhone took over the world. Another fun fact nugget, flash sites are difficult for search engines to read. To add to the mix, the links aren’t standard HTML, there’s no great to optimize the sites, the images don’t support alternative text, and are super slow to load.

Overall, not a great start out of the gate. I can’t remember the exact details of the assignment, but I ended up choosing to build a site from the perspective of an obsessed fan who loved David Hasselhoff. The comedic effect was going to be great.

But since we are talking about one of my very first websites you can probably guess that it was awful. I mean…like really bad. I could give you a ton of excuses why. It felt like the Universe was truly against me. My course load that semester tested the limits of my stress tolerance, and my health severely deteriorated from a surprise diagnosis of gastroparesis. (If you are not sure what that is, it means that your stomach is paralyzed and you can’t process food like normal people.)

So as my body wasted away, so did my aspirations of being a good web designer. The project was embarrassing. It was tough experiences like those to really make you question if you are doing the right thing or if you should give up altogether.

But if we believe the stories that we tell ourselves when we first experience these life challenges, we would never grow. By no means am I an amazing web developer, but after 15 years of working at it, I feel pretty good about my skills. It took a long time to get better. It took an even longer time to feel confident.

The point is, no matter where you start or how awful the things are that you create, you have to start. It’s so cliche, but it’s true. After you leave college the learning never stops. I taught myself everything I know about websites. I sat through endless hours of tutorials because I knew that if I wanted to be better and I had to go the extra step.

So no matter where you are on your journey, I encourage you to keep walking forward. Learn something new, and look back and laugh at where you started.

My Digital Toolbox

Here are a few of the tools and platforms that I enjoy using. Some of these platforms are featured in this video.

Email Verification: Debounce
Content Management System: WordPress
WordPress Hosting: Flywheel
WordPress Theme: Divi by Elegant Themes
Email Marketing: Mailchimp
HTML Text Editor: Sublime Text
FTP Client: Cyberduck

Disclosure: Some of the links in this document are ‘affiliate links.’ This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission.