For too many years, I have been trying to update my website. After seeking input and advice, asking others for help, and clinging to the current design in the hope it would magically become what I wanted it to be, I finally followed the advice of many wise and patient friends and tackled it myself.

The first design in 2003 was expertly crafted by Brian Hydesmith, who created a simple and practical site, with photos by Andrew Sikorsky. In early 2006, Jodi Pratt ramped up the quirky design quotient, adding wonderful illustrations hand-drawn by her and Brian and photos by Corinne Napper, as well as some other features that added more value to the site.

The 2003 site even promoted my interest in being an actor.

A few updates over the years saw minor changes to Jodi’s design, and then in 2013, Peter Hoyle not only brought the site right up to date, but on my instruction – and against his better judgement – stripped the site of most of its features. My brilliant plan was to quickly build and upload a new design, but that proved to be both misguided and clueless when I realised that HTML was a language I couldn’t easily update and didn’t understand. What was once a fabulous website stalled in the shadow of its former self, and I could neither update nor replace it, at least not in the short term.

Inertia and despair took hold while I sought professional help from my friend Tone Gibson who provided excellent advice from a marketing and visual perspective. Unfortunately, at that point in time, I wasn’t really able to act on his advice, which left me frustrated because the website lingered in limbo, incapable of connecting me with my audience in any meaningful way. Eventually I got over that, but in the next few years as each designer I approached offered a different perspective, it all got too confusing and the whole thing fell into the too-hard basket.

That’s when I decided to visit Ayoko Design and invite business partners Yoko and Ayame to be my web consultants. They listened to my concerns and my ideas and agreed with me that the best way to get this site done was to tackle it myself.

Together we found a template that would work – Divi 3.0 in WordPress – and after a few setup tasks and two hours of instruction, they sent me off to play designer. The learning curve was huge, but I was determined, and the process ultimately proved to be easier than I ever expected. That’s because:

  • WordPress is not HTML,
  • Divi is largely self explanatory and actively supported by loads of “how to” videos, and
  • Ayame was there to fix anything that wouldn’t quite work as needed.

For the past two months, I have worked on a temporary domain while building my website from scratch and shaping it into the marketing tool I need and want it to be. A few things are still lacking, but at least I have something I’m proud to share and can continue to enhance as time goes on. Right now, it is being reviewed by friends and colleagues, and will go live September 5 (barring any unforeseen glitches).

I think there’s a speech in here somewhere, but in the meantime, let me say if you’re still waiting for someone else to build or update your website, don’t wait any longer. Sometimes the best solution is to do it yourself, and these days with all the web design options out there, not only is it possible and empowering, but it’s also practical and sensible, and all it takes is you – and a web consultant, if you get stuck.

Good luck!