Building your own website is a long and painful process. Believe me - I know. And it feels like you're forever tweeking bits and pieces to be juuuuuuuust right. Or maybe that's just me.
But now that my website is finally finished (for now) I've had some time to reflect on how the whole process went.
Here are the 8 things that I learnt whilst building my website...
1. It takes time
Me in September: "Oh yeah, I think I'll probably have it finished for October..."
*6 months later*
Me in April: "oh my gosh when will it enddddd!"
Building a website takes time. It takes even more time if you want to build it well. And it takes even more time if you're a bit of a perfectionist. I started working on this in September with all the enthusiasm and naivety of a year 7 starting secondary school. It didn't take me long to realise that to do everything that I wanted was going to take a bit longer than a month...
2. There are somethings you just can't change
When you're using templates (like me) you'll learn that while there is a lot you can edit, there are some bits that you're just going to have to get used to. I mean - you could go and build your own website from scratch.. But when using templates, this is just something you'll have to deal with.
3. You will curse not keeping track of everything you've ever done...
Oh yeah, it's easy to remember the things you did last month. And it's not too tricky to remember things from the past year or so.. But those random projects that you did when you were first starting out? You know, the ones that you didn't get any photos of because you were just trying things out? Yeah, you're not gonna remember them.
My social media pages have helped me trace most things that I've done over the past few years, but I'm pretty sure there will be some bits I've missed. But I will be keeping a much better record of projects now.
4. ...and you will also curse yourself for not starting this sooner
After realising that there is no way you're going to hit that self imposed deadline you set yourself, you'll probably find yourself wondering why you didn't start this years ago.
BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT FUTURE CAI WOULD SORT IT OUT DIDN'T YOU PAST CAI?!
5. You'll have so many grand ideas for things you can add
Once I started to become familiar with what I was creating, I started thinking about all the things I could add to make it even more exciting.
"Let's get a load of GIFs in here!"
"Maybe I could embed some videos?"
"Yeah... of course I can code in some things!"
Some of these magnificent aspirations made the cut, but most didn't when I realised that I wasn't quite the expert I thought I was...
6. The little things are ALWAYS make you feel the most excited...
Oh my gosh you guys. I've been waiting for this bit because I can tell you my favourite bit of this whole website.
The newsletter sign up boxes.
Yep, those tiny little bits scattered around the website - I don't blame you for missing them (or ignoring them). See Shopify had their own plugin that let you add that to the website, but I wasn't too keen on how it turned out. I spent a whole afternoon trying to code in these boxes myself. Annoyingly, I'm most proud of the password page and that's not even being used anymore!
7. ...and then finally it all starts to come together rather quickly
Once you've made all the big decisions, taken the photos, worked out exactly how shipping is calculated on this damn website (I still don't really know, so I'm just doing free shipping on orders over £5) There isn't much to do! Actually getting all the written content in takes time, but I've blitzed through that in just a couple of sittings.
Only a bit of user testing to go and then you'll be ready to go!
8. But you'll never be fully satisfied and you can keep tweeking things forever!
"Ooooooh, maybe I could switch up the home page?"
Websites are in constant change. Time goes on and what I do changes and grows over time. Making all this live feels like a big deal to me now, but I know it'll be constantly improving over time.
And that's okay.
For now though, I'm finished.
Please do take a look around my website - I've spent a long time working on it and I feel really proud of all the effort I've put into it! I have products for sale, a portfolio to browse, an exhaustive about me page and a newsletter to sign up to.
And hopefully soon, I'll have new blog posts to read!