Build your content first, then design the site.

I need to see things laid out in order to see if they’ll work.  If I were buying a house, my perfect world would be to move in my furniture and live in the house for 7 days before I commit to buying it.

That’s possible in the web world.  If you have picked a platform, there is always a free / default theme that you can use just as a placeholder.  A bit of unique content (blogs, photos or products) and then it’s super easy to pick the theme that resonates with you the best.

For my last shopify business, I used their default theme and created my products and categories.  I added my social feeds, setup my payment gateway, added a couple of blogs.  I didn’t worry about my slider images, I didn’t care how the blog was presented, I didn’t stress about the homepage layout.  I added enough content so that it was meaningful.  I created the menu structure and secondary pages (contact, about us…) all on my own.

It’s my business, so I’m the expert on that stuff.

Once I had all those things in place, then I grabbed a talented designer and he helped me ensure that the design reflected my brand.  He was able to see my blog, my about us page, my products and as a result it was much quicker (and therefore cheaper) to have us sync’d on how to tell my brand story.

  • amazing how my first instinct was to pick the perfect theme.  Then I futzed with my logo and lastly worried about my banner.  All stuff I’m not good at.  All stuff that drained my enthusiasm and encouraged me to procrastinate.
  • I caught myself this time and I was able to layout 7 articles in 30 minutes.  It was enough content for me to focus on the items I would be the lead on:  Categories, Tags, formatting (author name and date publicized)

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