You have lots of company. I read that 50% of small businesses still don’t have websites. Some don’t want or need one. I know from personal experience there are many who have tried & tried to build something online and failed. Many have paid multiple developers to build websites for them and have nothing to show for it but cancelled checks. Many more can see how an online presence could help their club stay organized, help their church grow, organize & inform their music students, etc. They can see exactly how they would benefit but for whatever reasons have not been able to put all the pieces together.
Costs have come down and it is now possible to build and maintain a website for less than $10/month. Two big remaining problems are:
- Finding someone with the technical skill to build an attractive site
- Finding helpers who have the skills to add/edit/delete content
Yes, you can build a nice looking website for yourself. You do not need a lot of technical skill yourself and minimally competent others will be able to help with the upkeep.
Times have changed. Technology has advanced. Software has gotten better. There are lots of online services that make things easier.
We built our first website in 1998. Mobile Home Doctor provides step-by-step instructions showing people how to repair their homes themselves. I once had a single mom thank me for directions that enabled her 14 year old son repair the water supply line to their kitchen. They no longer needed to have a hose in the window!
Discovery Learning uses that same step-by-step approach to help you establish your own place online. We like to call it your Web Presence and you can read more about it at Driven by Curiosity.
The online world has become a teachers dream. (Or nightmare for those who don’t like change.) When I did my first biology & chemistry lectures to students in 1970 I used the traditional lecture method & a blackboard. We sometimes got to use the lab. The enhanced learning experience I can now provide via online video is orders of magnitude better. Molecular models made with sticks and springs may still have their place. If you are trying to get students to understand the spiral structure of DNA, a full motion video of a simulation running on a high end graphics system is a wonderful thing.
We have a lot of ideas for online courses that will help people do things online. We expect to start with courses which show how to build simple informational websites that would be good for a small business, an organization, or others that need to publish their location, hours, & contact information.
We will follow that with courses about simple eCommerce sites from which artist, crafts people and others can begin selling physical products online. Customer feedback will give us direction. Its not like there is a shortage of things to teach. The frustration is there is so much coming so fast no one can possibly keep up with everything.
Talk is cheap, especially online 🙂 So here are examples of websites we built for ourselves using the same tools & technology we will be teaching in our courses.
X2 is the most basic single page “brochure” site possible.
Mobile Home Plumbing is a test site that shows a “brochure” site with a Home page, About page, & contact information. Our introductory course will have you watching over our shoulder as we build one like this from scratch. You will be surprised at how quickly it goes.
East Mountain Community Chorus shows a basic website for an informal group of musicians who come together annually to perform Handel’s Messiah. It gets updated each year with signup & practice details, etc. In the event of bad weather it makes a cental place to let members know a practice or performance is called off.
Plumbing Fittings uses the teaching style we expect to use for our courses. I wrote it for readers who know almost noting about home repair. There are lots of pictures and painfully detailed instructions about what to do. I try to anticipate problems which inexperienced “plumbers” are apt to make.
Gerold Porzellan Birds is an example of a Weebly website that sell physical products. It will open in a new window. Obviously, product sales adds some complexity. You have to have pictures and descriptions of your products. You have to create an account to collect payments. You need to edit the email templates to reflect your business. In this site we also demonstrate how you can incorporate video into your sales presentation.
Here at Discovery Learning we need your help. Building online courses is a lot of work. The internet is full of stories of people who poured their hearts & souls into developing a training program that no one wanted. To avoid that, we are asking visitors to use our contact popup to answer two questions:
1. What course would you like us to develop next?
2. Would you like to be notified when we put a course online?
Initial ideas for courses
- Setting up & configuring a Weebly website for beginners
- Setting up your first store to sell physical products with Weebly
- Weebly sites for antique collectors
Cloud Application tutorials
- Dropbox so you can work from anywhere
- Evernote for research
- Google Apps for email, spreadsheets, & presentations
- SmugMug for image hosting
- Vimeo Pro for hosting your videos
- Using BeaverBuilder
- Using Make
- Using the Rainmaker platform
Feel free to add other ideas for training that would be important to you.