07 AM | 13 Jul

Motivation Part II

A lot of people have contacted me to talk about developing a website for their business or organization. I’ve completed websites for probably 20% of them. There are all kinds of reasons that the other 80% of those projects never go anywhere.

Some of the projects actually get started, but are derailed for one reason or another. My favorite was a lady who wanted a website for the home decor business that she ran out of her home. We were three weeks into the design before it became apparent that she didn’t actually own a computer, much less an internet connection. I went so far as to print out some prototype webpages, stuff them into an envelope and mail them to her. But it didn’t take much of that to realize that this wasn’t going to work. She had a strong sense that a good website would help her business, but I was able to convince her that she needed to be on the internet before she could take advantage of the internet.

Most projects never even get off the ground, however. The common thread seems to be that customers appear to lose interest in a project once they discover how much work it involves – for them. They don’t realize that they need to supply most of the content on their website. I can edit, elaborate, enhance and amplify, but I can’t make up things about your business or organization. You have to have something to say before you start a conversation.

11 PM | 09 Jul

Time

I’m thinking that I may end up just being a weekend blogger… As much as I’m enjoying this effort, I have a hard time putting the necessary time into it during the week. My hours in the evening seem to disappear into more pressing tasks, and by the time I’m done all I want to do is sleep.

I started a new theme three days ago but I haven’t been able to get back to it. So I find myself looking forward to the weekend…

08 AM | 06 Jul

Motivation

I originally started Netpalouse because I love doing web design.  I did some research to find out what people were charging for web design services, and learned that prices were all over the board.  A simple website could cost anywhere from $300 to $2500.  There didn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to that differential – companies were just charging whatever the market would bear.  It was easy to see why so many small businesses had not moved onto the internet, or had tried to develop their websites in-house.  Web design companies, even the local ones, were not making it easy.

I had the luxury of a day job that paid the bills, so I made the decision to keep Netpalouse design fees dirt cheap. The plan was to keep the business small, to keep my prices low, and to grow the business slowly over time via word-of-mouth.  Hopefully by the time I was ready to retire from WSU my “hobby” would be active enough to keep me busy, interested and feeling useful.  It was a good plan, except that I’m not ready to retire yet and Netpalouse has become more successful than I could have expected.

Something else entered into the equation over time.  A desire to make it easy for small businesses to discover the benefits that could be found in an active internet presence.  I discovered early on how difficult it is to get a new website visible to the search engines.  But as I got better at it, I found that I received a huge amount of satisfaction when these websites began to have a positive impact on the small businesses they represented.  And it’s not always financial impact that makes it worthwhile. Visitpalouse has seen contacts from all over the world, and has become a real asset for this small, rural community.  And the Moscow Day School website that I support is used and appreciated by most all of the parents associated with it.  I like building things that get used.

10 AM | 05 Jul

Perspective

I came to Palouse in 2001.  I was asked almost immediately to undertake support of the Visitpalouse.com website.  I’m not sure I remember exactly why, but I assume that people heard I had done some web design in my job at WSU.  I bought some Adobe software and dove in with both feet.  Didn’t take me long to find out that I loved the work and that I had a knack for it.  A serious geek with too much time on his hands – it was a perfect fit.

Soon after that, the Mayor introduced me to an ex-Palousian who had moved to Seward, Alaska.  He was running a salt water charter business there, and needed someone to develop a website for him.  After talking with him I decided I should make this into a legitimate business, so I went ahead and created Netpalouse Web Services.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into…

Netpalouse has grown slowly but consistently by word-of-mouth for seven years now.  I’m currently supporting 15 active websites, and new sites keep popping up every time I turn around.  My first commercial effort, the fishing charter in Seward, is still active and we’re on our third version now.  This weekend “hobby” now manages to eat up most all of my spare time.  Not that that’s a bad thing.  I still love the work, and I think that I get better at it with every new website that I develop.  I just didn’t expect it to become quite this consuming this fast.

That’s enough for now – more to come.  Thanks for listening.

08 AM | 04 Jul

Here we go

Hi.  My name is Bo Ossinger.  I’m starting this blog for a couple of reasons.  First, I need to learn how to use this WordPress software.  Second, I’m curious to see if I have anything to say.  I’ve started community blogs in the past that were intended to be conversations between people in Palouse.  I had a hard time getting any one to contribute, so those blogs eventually went by the wayside.

This effort, then, is going to be personal.  I’m putting it on Netpalouse so that it won’t be seen by a lot of people.  And those people who do find it (that would be you) are probably interested in learning more about me anyway.  Please feel free to leave a response if you are so inclined.  Thanks for stopping by.

So, here we go…