A Declaration of Website Independence

An eagle flying high in the clouds holding an American flag

Website independenceWhen, in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for all people to dissolve the ties that bind them to unfair, unjust and oppressive systems, out of respect to all, they should declare the causes that impel them to separate from the past.

That’s what today’s post does. πŸ™‚

We hold these truths to be self-evident …

That all people are created equal, that the person who does not know how to code a website shall not live beholden to the person who does.

That the person who wants to change a page on their website should be able to do so quickly and with ease, and should not have to wait days or weeks and be sent an invoice that makes the person faint upon sight of it.

That if a person would like to try a different color for the headlines on their website, they shall have Design Controls which enable them to type a number, click Save Settings and view the results immediately.

That all people have the right to a website that’s simple to maintain and puts a smile on their face every time they type in their URL.

That when a system creates a long train of abuses and usurpations that frustrate, confuse and derail a person’s plans, it is the person’s right, it is their duty, to throw off such a system, and to find new ways to get things done.

To prove the absolute tyranny of the current system, let the facts be stated:

The current way to create websites calls us to places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of common sense, for the sole purpose of fatiguing us into compliance.

The current system does not allow a person to make changes to their website that are of immediate and pressing importance.

The current way websites are constructed is overly complex, outrageously expensive and takes too long.

The current system does not allow easy access to the knobs and twiddly bits that would allow us to change the appearance of our site at whim.

We, therefore, the representatives of Common Sense assembled, do, in the name and by the authority of good people everywhere, solemnly publish and declare, that we are — and of right ought to be — free to create our own websites, all by ourselves.

We declare that we are absolved from absolute reliance on web developers.

We declare that as free and independent entities we shall have full power to build new pages on our websites, change the colors, fonts and sizes as we see fit, and to make all other website modifications which independent people may of right do.

I believe the future of most (not all) web development lies in do-it-yourself systems that empower the website owner to maintain control over content and appearance.

Pamela Wilson
Pamela Wilson
Founder, BIG Brand System
February, 2012

Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson

Pamela Wilson is an online educator, author, keynote speaker, and the founder of BIG Brand System. Read reviews of the tools used to run this site and business. Have you taken the free Focus Finder quiz yet?

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29 thoughts on “A Declaration of Website Independence”

  1. Very well said Pamela! Website design and maintenance has changed SO MUCH over the past few years, and truly it is within grasp of us all. When considering updating a website or building a new one, we all should look at all the wonderful options available, and really consider what suits our individual needs the best. I LOVE being able to do updates, some redesign, etc. myself and as often or as little as needed without having to have another party for it to go to. In the “old days,” after I crafted language for changes and sent it to webmaster, I still had to proof it when it was posted. There were always invariably things that weren’t quite right, usually around formatting, but that in my mind meant my site looked less professional. So then I’d send edits along. For years I thought – how much easier it would be to skip this duplication of effort. And now my website dreams have come true!

  2. Unfortunately there are few of us who can do an almost “turnkey” operation where it comes to web design.

    I myself am very capable in the coding department, but where it comes to color or color combinations, font selection and layout, I definitely need help. You can learn to code, but in my opinion, an eye for design is just that something special.

    This is precisely why the various design frameworks are experiencing such an explosion in the number of people purchasing them.

    Their creators have realized that many of us don’t want to be bothered with the back-end or programming side of a site, we are more interested in the aesthetics, and this is exactly what working with one of these frameworks offers you; child themes and the like.

    There are many designers who now specialize in one or another framework, and this should theoretically make the turnaround time for a new site substantially quicker than it has been in the past. If not, check that you are not paying an hourly rate!

    Compared to where we were when everything was done in pure html just a few years ago, to where we are now, I think that setting up a site in a year or two is literally going to be child’s play.

    • Agreed, Wayne: the technical component and the design component are both important.

      Technology has come a long way and isn’t nearly as intimidating as it was before.

      And design can be learned. It’s not for the chosen few who are born with a special talent! There are a few rules and guidelines to keep in mind as you make design choices, but once you’ve practiced and mastered them, they become second nature.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment. πŸ™‚

  3. Oh YES!!! I agree so much! You have no idea how much I have been wanting something like your course. I have been beginning to despair of finding a way to create websites which I can understand. And FREE – I love you!! You are my latest favourite person. I can’t wait for the course. I hope it’s written for ordinary people (am computer literate but not a programmer!!). Thank you!!

    • It’s very easy to understand, Saani: don’t worry. I wrote it with Wendy Cholbi who’s an expert on making technology easy. We even tried to make it entertaining so learning this stuff will be fun. I think you’ll love it: thanks for your enthusiasm!

  4. In the “we declare that we are absolved from all allegiance to web developers”, you might want to change “web developers” to “web designers”.

    “Web developers” more properly refers to the people who do the PHP, SQL, and other associated programming that makes things like shopping carts, contact forms, and modern CMS systems function. I think we can all agree that they’re still quite necessary – especially if you rely on “point & click” design solutions.

    Just a thought. πŸ™‚

    • I agree, Robert: for complex site functionality, web developers are still important. But a few years back, we were completely dependent on them, even for the most minimal site changes.

      I tweaked it a little. How about now?

      • It’s a little better. I think you missed my original point, though.

        If you’re using WordPress (which it looks like you are), you’re absolutely beholden to an entire community of web developers who have worked to put together a framework that gives you the WYSIWYG post editors, design tweakers, plugins for lists of various types of posts, automatic page linking, indexing, and searching, etc.

        All of these things add massive complexity to the system as a whole, in order to provide the *appearance of simplicity* from the end-user point of view.

        Unless you’re talking about creating HTML and CSS by hand, you’re not escaping the “absolute tyranny” of the current system. You’re still limited to the features the developers who created your framework thought you needed and/or the features they were able/willing to program.

        You can eliminate *designers* from the loop, if the point ‘n click tools are good enough. But the developers are a crucial part of any “easy-to-update” system that doesn’t involve you hand-coding raw HTML and CSS.

        That being said, I’m sure you’ll get plenty of signups for your list. People seem to enjoy the sort of rhetoric that paints them as victims of an oppressive system.

  5. Sounds like a great idea, Pamela! I don’t think I’ve heard of anyone offering something like this. Brilliant. Love your “declaration.” I guess I’m lucky: I’ve always been tech-inclined and never had too much trouble figuring stuff out with wysiwyg editors and FrontPage etc before I got into WP.. But the key issue for me has always been time, like anyone, so I’ve often been frustrated because I know what I want something to look like but other things are calling, so design has suffered. I finally have things pretty close to the way I like them now though other things have been neglected…Think I’ll check out the class anyway πŸ™‚

    • If you’re on the list, you’ll find out very soon. I can’t wait to share this with everyone! We’ve been working on it for over a year and have put a lot of thought into how to make things really simple and approachable.

  6. hi

    I agree with all that you say but my primary concern as a non techie is not just setting up a web site but having access to support when things go wrong or just don’t do what I thought they were going to do. The time and stress in trying to put things right is always too much for the scale of the problem.
    Will you be addressing the way the website can be managed after it has been set up?

  7. Love your creativity in this post . . . . what a great “angle” to approach the topic.

    Your new Site Set-UP Kit course (or whatever you end up calling it), can’t get here soon enough . . . . seems to be “exactly” what I’ve been needing!

    I just need to take a deep breath and relax until next week!

  8. Right On ! Pamela.
    Your writing style is always SOooo good! This ones a keeper.

    This has me reaching for the imaginary blade and pressing the blood drip against the screen as I swear allegiance to the Red White and Blue. [Its just lucky that our flags are the same colour – just a different design! So its not being unpatriotic really!]

    I have one of those complex sites that requires a meeting of the nations to change – I look forward to being part of the course so that if I want to create something simple that responds to change I will be able to. Hallelujah!

  9. I’ve worked for some pretty large companies that got saddled with websites they couldn’t customize after the consultant left. Yeah, this isn’t just a small business mistake

  10. As a simplifier, I believe that business owners need CONTROL. But so often when to have control requires learning new skills most people fail to learn and that allows others to come along and offer their services. And so often the experts offer advice that is SO full of BS to try and get the job.
    I remember people saying that if you did a FrontPage website, it showed your incompetence. And I am seeing the “pros” say the same thing now about the WordPress and Joomla sites. Graphics and websites are 2 very different matters. And BUSINESS is different from pretty pictures.

    • Ah yes, FrontPage. πŸ™‚ I remember FrontPage well.

      The thing about FrontPage was that it put design tools in the hands of the average person, so many of those average people thought that meant they could just point and click, and didn’t need to learn anything about design. The result was a ton of very, very poorly constructed websites – but it wasn’t inherently the fault of FrontPage; it was the fault of the people who didn’t know how to use the tools.

      It’s not the tools you use that make you a pro or not; it’s whether you know how to use the tools you have.

  11. Now this is my kinda Declaration of Independence! I wholeheartedly agree that most people can design their own websites. They just need to be taught in a non-intimidating way! That’s what we do in The Girl’s Guide to Web Design (https://girlsguidetowebdesign.com)…because the more empowered people we have out there getting their ideas online, the better.

    Great post, Pamela! πŸ™‚

  12. Enjoyed this Pamela. In 2009, I created my own website using iWeb on my Mac. Did pretty good too. People loved it. At the end of 2010 (a little over a year later) I paid a professional to custom create a site for me and she did so on the WordPress platform for $650. I have unlimited pages and I can make text changes whenever I want. I figured out some html and I can add pictures, forms, widgets and link things. I CANNOT manipulate the template at all as I do not understand HTML. I want to make a few small changes and have been trying to contact my designer since November 2011. She has never responded. THANKFULLY, I don’t really NEED her and I worked around it. I will keep the site till the end of 2013 (to get some utility) and then I plan to do my own thing. There are gorgeous cheap templates all over the net and I have a pretty good understanding of WordPress, Serif, iWeb…etc. I have all my picture and logo files and my forms and such…I’ll do it for the future – but I will NEVER pay that much EVER again. Clients love the site, but I have found some things that I’d like to change. And will. WOOT!

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