How To Run Your Blog (The Right Way)

When I was 16, my first job was at Burger King.  Seriously.

Wanna see it? Here is a Google Maps street view of the actual Burger King I used to work at after school (it’s in New Bedford, MA where we were BOTH born back in the 80’s!)

I was the “Flame Broiler” guy.

Sounds hot, right?

It wasn’t.

My job was to watch the new order screen, grab the appropriate frozen meat patty (beef and chicken) out of a freezer with tongs and place it on the flame broiler conveyor belt which would send the meat through the fire to cook it.  On the other end of the broiler was another person who would put the cooked meat into it’s bun, add toppings, wrap it up and get it to the front where the people taking orders from customers would grab it, put it on a try and give it to the customer.

It was a well oiled machine.

However for me, it sucked.

I would sweat from standing near the fire for hours. After my shift was done I would walk home smelling like cooked meat. It was terrible.

Thankfully I didn’t last very long at that job. I was fired after a few short months, it’s a long story which I’ll save it for another time but I will say that it involved a carton of Orange Juice.

FUN FACT: The shortest duration of a job I ever had was only 7 HOURS… it was at a convenience store. Oddly enough, that story ended with Chocolate Milk.  Once again, I’ll save that disaster of a story for another time.

Let’s get back to Burger King.

So imagine you worked at that Burger King and your job was to take the customer’s order and one day someone came up to the counter and you had this conversation:

Customer: Hi, can I please have some food?

You {caught off guard}: Food? Uummm, do you want a number 4? How about a number 6? Those are really good!

Customer: Well, ya know… just give me some food.

You: UUummmm. Okay, let me see what I can do for you.

You grab two cheeseburgers and an apple pie, put it on one of those plastic trays and slide it in front of the customer…

Customer: Oh, no, I don’t want cheeseburgers, What else do you have?

You {sigh}: Ok, let me see what else I can get for you…

You then grab a chicken sandwich and an apple pie.  “Yum!  He’ll definitely like one of those” you think.  You put the new food on a tray, and with a big smile you slide it in front of the customer…

Customer: HHmmmm.  I don’t like chicken.

I’ll stop here, but do you see the problem?

The customer never actually said what he wants and the friendly good-intentioned fast food employee kept giving him food but never really fulfilling his needs.

And that’s what we wanted to avoid.

Let’s go for a walk…


We Need To Do Something New

About a month ago we were walking around Clearwater Beach (see below selfie) and talking about the Web Designers Academy. Under the Florida sun, the palm trees and relaxed tourists we walked. We started talking about ways that we can do more for you, the good readers of WDA.

We discussed doing something that people would really value, something that people will directly benefit from. Something that will make their lives and web design business better in some way.

And during that stroll, we come up with three ideas to do just that. Here are three brief descriptions:

1) One-on-One Coaching – We’ll use our experience to come up with a tailored plan to help you and your business be more profitable. We’ll have phone calls, video calls over Skype and more to make sure you follow through with that plan.

2) Website Review – Right before you send that email to your client saying that you are ready to show them their new design, have a pair of trained eyes look it over and offer suggestions for improvement.  This will greatly help your first round approval rate and help you close jobs quicker.

3) Behind The Code – Interview talented web designers from all over the world via Skype and learn how they get inspired, what their computer setup is like, how they started, what they would do differently, etc…

Those all sound pretty, awesome right? We thought so. We assumed that the WDA readers would also think they are all equally awesome… but we were wrong.

Really wrong.

See, we didn’t want to act like that fast food server and put in the work to get you these new things… if those new things are not really what you want.

So we asked you.


Ask And You Shall Receive

For one week (May 15th – 22nd) we drastically changed the homepage of the Web Designers Academy. We removed the latest story blocks and replaced it with an intro message, descriptions of each new item and a simple poll that would let people vote on their favorite.

In case you missed it, it looked like this:

Once that page went up, we were excited! We put our future into the hands of the people that we want to help. It was kinda crazy.


The Epic Conclusion

That week was like watching the final boss fight scene from  a movie… but really slowly.  We knew something awesome was going to happen but it was gonna take a while to finally see it.

So as the week went on, we checked the votes every night and all along there was an obvious winner, but you can never be sure until the very end. After a week of voting we had our answer…

Behind The Code won!

Not only did Behind The Code win the other two did terrible! WOW! We thought that things were going to be pretty even and maybe one would win by a few points, but we were very wrong.

Imagine if we took the time to setup those two different services, writing copy for each, installing unique plugins for each, thinking through the process of each just to have nobody care.  That would of sucked.  That would have been a gigantic waste of time and money.

It would have reminded me of my time at Burger King.

We’ve got some planning to do on our end, but you will be seeing interviews with talented web designers from all over the world here on WDA soon!

Stay tuned!
Ian “Flame-Broiler-Guy” Anderson