I got an email the other day from a client that made me smile. Here it is:
Check it out man! I’ve turned my home page from two columns to three columns and now the layout is perfect. I’m getting good at this stuff man!!
Ahhh yes, my client Jason is now experiencing what I call ‘The Paintbrush Effect’.
The Paintbrush Effect
What is the paintbrush effect?
Well, look at it like this: Most business owners are artists when it comes to their field. They know how to talk about, teach, and present their product/service extremely well. For years, they’ve been deeply involved in their chosen field, and for this reason, they literally exude knowledge and ideas.
But the problem with today’s world is most of these same business owners are handcuffed. The area where they are able to best talk, teach, and present is their website. It is, without question, the ‘great digital art room’.
Sadly, most are locked out of this room. They can only peer in the window while someone else (aka webmaster) paints what should be their canvas with their vision.
Years of Frustration
I used to be one of these onlookers. For seven years, off and on, I attempted to learn web design and failed. Unlike my friend JK Allen, who was able to master CSS on the side and start his own web design business, it never came for me. Spending hours in an effort to learn Dreamweaver in 2005 was a disaster. I seriously would have been more successful attempting to master Chinese.
But the clock was ticking. With each day, I saw more and more consumers were headed to the web to do all their research. My frustrations mounted. I can remember well looking at my dull website, with its dearth of content, and having one idea after another of things I needed be doing and adding, yet they never seemed to happen.
But again, I was locked out of the art room.
This all changed though, as many of you know, when I discovered Hubspot in March of 2009 and learned about CMS (content management system) technology.
The Power of Content Management Systems
For those of you unfamiliar with what a CMS does, it allows web dummies like me to do the majority of my own web design/content without the help of a webmaster. In other words, one doesn’t need to be a coder (for the most part) to build pages, add forms, paste in videos, etc.
Or, to state it even more simply, one can now hold the paintbrush and produce their own art—hence ‘The Paintbrush Effect’.
I can remember well the day in 2009 when I was given this brush. After years of making calls to a webmaster to cross my T’s and dot my I’s, the power was now in my own hands.
At the time, my pool company’s site consisted of about 20 pages, and there was little to speak of in terms of traffic, leads, etc.
But fast forward to present and everything has changed. The site is now 750 pages and generates massive amounts of leads through content, SEO, and some solid inbound marketing.
The Future of Web Design
In today’s rapidly advancing world, CMS technology has never been better. Where there used to be only a handful of platforms to choose from, now there are many, with the most popular being WordPress, which has a mountain of sub-platforms (like Thesis, Genesis, and Headway) falling under it. But WordPress and Hubspot are just two of what has now become hundreds of CMS platforms, all having their own pros and cons, depending on the end user. (Note** For those interested, I’ll soon be doing a WordPress vs. Hubspot article.)
For those of you interested in seeing how easy it is to build a page with a super simple CMS (like Hubpsot in this case), watch how quickly I was able to build a quality landing page on my swimming pool site with this video, with no coding involved:
What’s cool is this is just the beginning. As tech advances, more and more average Joe and Jane business owners like me, who are ‘non-techies’ but would like to be, are going to be able to hold the paintbrush and create masterpieces when it comes to their site, much like digital cameras have done for the photo industry.
When it comes down to it, as entrepreneurs and business owners we do what we do because we like control. We want to be in charge of our own destinies.
For the first part of the web explosion, this ability to ‘take charge’ was ripped away from most of us. Literally, the ‘paint brush’ was snatched right out of our hands.
But the time has come for all of us to start painting again. Just like my ecstatic client Jason, who is by no means a ‘techie’, we can all benefit from this technology and get back to doing what we do best—CREATING.
So here is the challenge: If you’re a small to medium sized business owner/marketer and you feel like you’re completely ‘locked-out’ of your website, do something about it.
Switch to a CMS.
Allow your creative juices to run wild.
And be an entrepreneur again.
Trust me, the feeling is magical.
I’m curious to know your thoughts on the future of web design and user ‘control’. Do you see it as I do, a world in which most biz owners handle most of their design, or do you think webmasters will always hold the majority of the cards (focusing on small biz here)?
Also, for those of you using CMS technology, tell me about it. Is there one you think is the most effective for ‘non-techies’? For WordPress users, what theme do you feel best fits this need?
As always, your thoughts, questions, and comments matter, so feel free to leave them below.