Thought Starters

Hey Blogger! What are you? A tech savvy geek or what?

So, are you? Tech savvy or not?

If we discuss experience with the internet then the last thing I will say is I am a tech geek, tech savvy or tech anything really. I have loosely described myself as a techno-peasant and generally it holds true.

I used to think I knew a few things but noooooo…….

If you want to talk the merits of architecture and design and how they affect your world I’m your guy.

I really start sweating when I have to deal with stuff like Feedblitz vs Feedburner and CSS and sidebars and adding plug-ins and anything technical on the internet. So, right or wrong, when it comes to blogging technical design is a royal pain to me and I really don’t have the time (read: make the time) to devote to the technical aspects of running my website.

I use WordPress and by use I mean write posts and make pages. Hey, I added a favicon all by myself but only after my friend Tim wrote about how easy it was.

What does that really mean for me in this tech-savvy world?

Well two things:

1. If I really want my site to be kick-ass I will be forced to learn it or I may have to part with my own hard earned dollars and pay someone to do it. I am not an easy guy to work with. Just ask Chel Pixie. She knows.

2. I am potential prey. I am prey because I don’t know enough about the web world to necessarily judge what good practice is or not. I am not stupid but that doesn’t really have anything to do with it.

It’s all about gaining knowledge.

I am learning at a frenetic pace and because I like to think I have a learning mindset I am open to understanding things that will help me succeed but how much time do I want to devote to tech versus talking about my first love; design?

Yes, that was rhetorical.

I see a role-reversal going on.

When it comes to design I see a big difference between what I do as an Interior Designer and design in the web world. In the Architecture and Design industry we typically hire for talent and teach the technical. Teaching talent is very, very difficult. It’s not that it can’t be done but it is very, very rare.

In the web world see the roles reversed. Tech knowledge is the edge and design talent is the know how to use that technical knowledge to build a great site. It seems that without being technically proficient you can have all the great ideas but never be able to pull them off.

Right?

Then why does the complexity of many websites leave me with the sense that somehow something went wrong? Is it the same as leaving the design of a house to your contractor who likes to dabble and wants to move up to designing it too? Can he do it? Sure, but does he understand the fundamentals of design? Does he have design sensibility?

I sure hope so.

Hey, it may not leak, it may not fall down and it will certainly last but does it function as well as it could?

Does it really work both ways?

Don’t get me wrong.

There is a place in the world for that and I am by no means qualified to critique the merits of good web design, however, understanding how to use that technical knowledge appropriately, regardless of your profession, is the basis of good design.

So when I think about building a website I can certainly learn and understand the basics of a landing page and I can gain a general sense of the psychology behind how “people” read websites (i.e. F Pattern – thanks Craig) but that doesn’t mean I have it right. The CTA (thanks Ruth), the location of a subscription opt-in box, not too much crap in the sidebar(s), images on the right not the left making copy easier to read and even breaking up your writing into manageable chunks are some of the fundamentals that I have tried to absorb over the past 15 months.

I understand just enough to be dangerous. To myself.

Can I learn to be a good contractor?

Maybe.

I look at posts that have been successful on my site and wonder why? What was in the water that week because nothing has changed on my site to make a discernible difference? Imagine if I had all the things in just the right places and my copy was killer? Imagine if I was a good contractor who is also a good designer?

Man, the possibilities.

So, no, I don’t have all the things in all the right places and maybe that will be seen as if I don’t care but I do. I really want to tweak things and make them better but other priorities (read: my day job) have kept me from doing much different in the past 3 months since my site became self-hosted.

Design is very important to me, it’s what I have chosen as a profession and I will never really see myself as a contractor. The vehicle, in this case, is forced to play a lesser role than the ideas which are hopefully reflected in my writing regardless of whether it is optimized for my website or not.

That is where I make my stand.

That’s my deal.

I will leave you with this.

If you are a contractor then please write me a proposal to renovate my house. Should I go Genesis, should I stick with my current WordPress framework or is there a better way or a better approach that will entice more people to this little corner of the web other than my motto of simply caring about who I visit or who visits me?

Does it need to be more than social?

I know it’s up to me. I know it’s about what I want from this experience.

But, I am all ears.

 

 

 

 

Oh, I do have a great feature on Facebook.

I offer a light-hearted joke to anyone who accepts a friend request from me. It’s just my way of saying thank you and is my appreciation for the start of a new (on-line) relationship.

There’s always that. No tech required there.

 

 

About this Author: Ralph Dopping (195 Posts)

A quirky sense-o-humour coupled with an indelible sense of stylish sarcasm makes it difficult to take the world too seriously doesn't it? My faves: fun, passion and hard work. I work here everyday: www.designdialog.ca


43 comments
ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg

I think I'm pretty tech savvy, but I"m often proven wrong. Currently my own blog is suffering from the decline of feedburner. I've been given several very reasonable suggestions about changing to feedblitz. On Sunday, because I tend to procrastinate, I will devote 3 - 4 hours to avoiding the issue and then I'll nap. After the nap, there will be a short period of snacking and then I'll see if I can get my subscription thingy to work.

 

Often in these instances, my perception of the challenge makes it seem much worse than it is and when I'm done I feel stupid for all my apprehension. The subscription thingy, though, has been a nightmare. When I originally tried to do feedburner I spent an entire day NOT getting it to work, then I quit for a month, followed by a half day of misery, another week of cooling down and then somehow it magically started doing its job. I hate feedburner and am glad it is dying. I hope feedblitz is better. If I get it working I will, again, consider myself tech savvy.

 

Latest blog post: The Connections Make it Work

Jeevanjacobjohn
Jeevanjacobjohn

Am I a tech savvy person?

 

Depends on what you mean by tech ;)

 

Do I know a lot about gadgets and other stuff?

 

Nope. But, I am your guy with specific stuff such working with an Android device and other stuff.

 

And I do know some technical aspects with blogging, but not much to consider myself as "tech savvy with WP" ;)

 

I like the learning part - just keep on learning. Never believe to be a expert, be a learner, act as a learner.

 

I say play around ;) That's what I do with my design. I do experiments and I write about them (although I stick my a simple motto: Keep it simple. Simplicity is success).

 

And yes, I try to do things the way others don't (break the existing "rules" and predispositions in the niche!)

 

I like your current design, but a few changes may make it better for the new guy or gal :)

 

It's all up to you :D

Hajra
Hajra

I am the most non techy person around. I use a theme that handles itself and a plug in here and there. But that's just about it. I still can't figure out this code from that. But I so want to learn how to do it. I somehow feel I should be able to handle things if something goes wrong and I should be knowing a few things about the things called coding!

Latest blog post: How much is Honesty Worth?

jonbuscall
jonbuscall

 @suddenlyjamie @rdopping We build sites on Genesis because it's actually very easy to customize – if you know your way around CSS and a bit of PHP. Out of the box it works very easily in terms of SEO and there are lots of dedicated Genesis plugins that work very well with functionality for your site. The added bonus is that Genesis plays very well with Copyblogger Media's other services like their site hosting (rocket fast), Premise (landing pages) and Scribe (SEO). 

 

The IES, IES Breckland and Stone and Tree sites on my portfolio page < http://jontusmedia.com/portfolio/ > are all Genesis customizations and we're using Genesis for our latest client. 

 

If you want to talk Genesis customization, just DM. I'm happy to help and talk through the geeky stuff. 

wonderoftech
wonderoftech

One the one hand, getting a blog up and going really is easy. It's the refinement and customization that's complex. I use Thesis and it was challenging getting it the way I want it but now I can modify it quite easily, so long as I don't do too much. I'm a techie but I don't code (neither did Steve Jobs). I could learn coding but I'd better spend my time learning about tech I can write about for my blog. After all, the readers would prefer reading my content then looking at a sidebar, right? ;-)

suddenlyjamie
suddenlyjamie

FWIW, I bought Genesis and plan to shift my site to it soon. I want things that are as professional as possible with as little tech-pain as possible. I'm hoping Genesis fits that bill. Good luck! :) 

Jens-Petter Berget
Jens-Petter Berget

I have been dealing with feedblitz vs feedburner, and I am now 100% genesis on my blogs as well. I am not technical at all, but I understand that as a blogger we need to have some sort of technical skills. So, I say go with Genesis, you won't be sorry :)

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @ExtremelyAvg Hey Brian, just so you know my feedburner access (if that's what you call it) works fine still and I know a few others who have yet to migrate. I will likely regret saying that at some point but I thought you should know that it still works for me.

 

I fee you on the frustration in getting things to work well. It took me a couple of hours and a few glasses of water (due to the perspiration involved) to get a favicon on my blog. Geez! Good luck on your tech savvy adventure! Once you have it sorted let us know as I would like to subscribe even though i get your posts through Triberr. Cheers, sir!

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 Thanks @Jeevanjacobjohn  appreciate the compliment. If you would change something what would it be? I am always interested in what others see as challenges to their own success.

 

Appreciate your time, as always.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @Hajra  You and me both sister. That's what scares me about this stuff. If it goes pear-shaped then I am at a bit of a loss but then again necessity is the motherhood of invention isn't it.

 

The great thing is that the theme, structure or set up does not seem to affect your engagement with your audience. Your site is easy to use and navigate and it's really about the content, right?

 

Great to see you here.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @timbo1973 Now that's more my speed. I wonder if those drag and drop themes are flexible enough to allow for the right - scary word here: customization? I think that was my downfall. I had the WordPress theme I use somewhat customized and now I am afraid to play with it.

 

I had to look up what PHP is.

 

I like the idea that your theme is mobile and responsive. I need to check that out on mobile to see how it looks. Thanks for stopping by. You comments are always appreciated!

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @jonbuscall  @suddenlyjamie See! I knew it. Between the acronyms and the terms it's all a new language. I might just take you up on that offer at some point. You have reconfirmed that I don't know much at all about this stuff. Why should I care about CopyBlogger?

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @wonderoftech My point exactly. You don't know how many sites I have visited where I need to bleach my eyeballs after the experience. Coding is one thing. Good design is another.

 

I agree, I would rather spend my time waxing poetic about the world of Architecture than figuring out how to make the site as optimized as possible UNLESS someone tells me that it really makes a difference.

 

I have a sneaking suspicion Google doesn't really care about the look when it comes to search algorithms, do they?

 

Thanks so much for dropping by Caroline!

Erin F.
Erin F.

 @Jens-Petter Berget My site is built on Genesis. I then bought a child theme and wrangled with the CSS until I was able to get the colors to look and behave the way I wanted. CSS can make my head hurt, but it's a price I'm willing to pay.

Latest blog post: How to Write a Summary

jonbuscall
jonbuscall

 @rdopping  @Hajra  I suppose it's a bit like the old days of cars. We used to be able to tinker under the hood a bit and then it got to the stage where it was all done by computers. Wordpress sites can feel like that.

 

As WP has become more advanced, it's got more and more essential to work with folks that know what goes on under the hood. Especially if you're looking to do more advanced things. 

 

The biggest frustration I see from clients is that they don't actually know what to ask when talking design / code. They don't understand why a custom php homepage could benefit the site instead of just going without the default pages a theme offers. Or that there are easy ways to create custom sidebars for separate pages. 

 

Conversely, I get frustrated when I see developers charging masses for something that is very simple, often because clients simply don't know what's involved in achieving a particular result.

 

If you need help or want to bounce any questions around and get some non-techie answers, just mail me. I know you guys know how to find me.  Similarly, if you want me to put together a podcast on any of this, mail me some ideas to take up !

 

 

 

 

jonbuscall
jonbuscall

 @rdopping  @suddenlyjamie Care about Copyblogger ? Their dedicated hosting platform is the best service I've come across for WP in almost 10 years. Lightening fast and secure. Also, the Premise platform is perfect for landing pages. Not to be ignored if you want easy landing pages for sales / conversions, etc. And Scribe is a great SEO tool. All this helps me run my business site.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

@jonbuscall @Hajra Thanks Jon. I will certainly think on that and send you some ideas.

Craig McBreen
Craig McBreen

 @jonbuscall  @rdopping  @suddenlyjamie  The folks at DIY Themes have been taking a lot of hits lately, mainly due the the lack of documentation, but it does look very cool. The only reason I was thinking of changing to Genesis is because Thesis 2.0 is completely different than the 1.8 I'm currently running. So much so, that'll I'll have to rebuild the site (I have a lot of custom hooks and CSS). And I do like the suite of products Copyblogger media offers. Seems like a well run ship over there. Anyway, I'll decide in a couple weeks or so and slowly start a redesign.

rdopping
rdopping moderator

 @jonbuscall  @Craig McBreen  Ok. You two stop talking dirty. Just reading those last two comments has me all hot and bothered. WTF, are you talking about (wink, wink)? This simply reinforces that I don't know WTF I am talking about. Mani, I need help.

 

Thanks for the tips.

jonbuscall
jonbuscall

 @Craig McBreen  @jonbuscall  @rdopping  @suddenlyjamie The new version of Thesis looks very cool. I've trialled it on one of our development sites and it's rock solid. I would not recommend changing unless there is a specific function in, say, Genesis that you can't get or can't easily get. We changed a site from Thesis to Genesis this summer for a client and it was easy to do because the key function of multi-widgets on the front page was default in the Genesis child theme. Otherwise, there would not have been any point in switching frameworks.

 

 

Craig McBreen
Craig McBreen

 @jonbuscall  @rdopping  @suddenlyjamie  I'm on Thesis and have been meaning to upgrade to the new 2.0, but am wondering about transferring all to the Genesis platform. Still not sure as that's quite the switch. I imagine I would like the seamless integration of the Copyblogger suite ... never even considered them for hosting though. Brian Clark is counting his money right now :)

jonbuscall
jonbuscall

 @suddenlyjamie  @Erin F. There's a new Genesis subscription box that will work with Aweber, MailChimp, etc. Although more expensive, I've found that Aweber consistently delivers more mails. We've used both with clients and found Aweber more successful, although the html templates aren't as great for the mails. 

 

Have trialled Hubspot but found it a bit overkill with the other servies we're using. 

suddenlyjamie
suddenlyjamie

 @jonbuscall  @rdopping I bought the full Genesis suite, but haven't yet implemented and am still hosting with Bluehost (another great company), though @jonbuscall is making me rethink that decision. 

I'm gearing up for a redesign and relaunch (new design, content, etc, AND new framework and theme) in early 2013. I'd love any reccs you guys have for designers/developers. I've tried doing some of that stuff myself, but it's not my "thang" and I am ready to be a grown up with a beautiful and seriously functional site. 

 

One last question on the topic -  have any of you considered Infusionsoft or Hubspot? I'm leaning towards Genesis w/mailchimp, but - like @rdopping  I'm not a tech geek, so I'm not 100% sure what is the best choice. <sigh>