I just finished building my new WordPress website www.jerriwilliams.com. It was…challenging. The video instructions promised I would be done in an hour, but it was more like four days. Four days of my life that I will never get back. The website looks marvelous. But throughout this experience I kept feeling that the process seemed so familiar. And then it hit me. Building a website reminded me of IKEA. Let me explain.
1. While building the website I had to learn a new language. I’m now fluent in plugins, widgets, shortcode and SEO. Similarly, I’m introduced to a new language each time I visit IKEA. During my last trip I had to decide between purchasing the liatorp, hemnes, tomnas, or besta. In case you’re curious. I selected the liatorp.
2. WordPress offers you literally hundreds of free and premium themes to choose from. I spent a couple of hours (I’m not joking) scrolling through the templates and clicking on the demos. Now, I’m sure you know exactly how this relates to IKEA. Nobody goes to IKEA without spending several hours there. It’s compulsory. That’s why they created that maze-like floorplan.
3. Instead of selecting a quick and easy template for my website, for some inexplicable reason I choose the complicated premium theme Cadence. A music theme. Don’t ask me why. Seriously. Don’t. IKEA got me exactly the same way. I initially went in to get a basic nornas or finnby, and the next thing I knew I’m strapping three huge flat boxes containing a wall to wall liatorp onto the roof of my car.
4. I was told that a simple no-frills website would only take me one hour to build, but who needs one of those? To build a highly-functional and attractive site I had to read and watch hours of instructional articles and videos. It took me days to figure everything out. Similarly, those IKEA instructions with pictures and no words may look like something a kindergartener would be able to understand, but I struggled to decipher what bolt, nut, screw and panel went where. In the store I had myself convinced that I could whip it up in a jiffy. But it took much, much longer. By the time I finished assembling the liatorp, I had been sequestered away for so long I needed to remind the family dog who I was. “It’s okay boy. It’s Mommy, remember me?”
5. Once the website started coming together, I realized I wasn’t just building a website, I was building my brand as an author of crime fiction. I started looking at my plain old Twitter and Facebook profile backgrounds and decided I needed to spruce those up too. So I hired Robert Dieters from jackrabbitdesign.net to create the custom banner featured with this post. Similarly, once I assembled the liatorp from IKEA, the rest of the game room furnishings looked well…shabby. New knick-knacks for the shelves, throw pillows, and artwork were absolutely needed. I’m sure you know what I mean.
Now that I have my professional website, I barely remember the frustrating days and sleepless nights caused by this experience. Barely. So come take a look around jerriwilliams.com. Let me know what you think.
And in case you were wondering, the IKEA liatorp I put together… it’s still standing.
Jerri Williams, a retired FBI agent, author and podcaster, attempts to relive her glory days by writing crime fiction and hosting FBI Retired Case File Review, a true crime podcast available for subscription on iTunes and Stitcher. Her novel—Pay To Play— about a female agent investigating corruption in the Philadelphia strip club industry is available at Amazon.com.