Have you ever wondered where the bulk of modern websites come from?
Yes its that time off the decade again where I rave on about my like and contempt for Themeforest or Envato or whatever they like to call themselves.
Its was an interesting process getting to this point of writing especially at my ripe time of maturity in life. As an automotive exporter the last thing that I ever expected was to become involved in the process of creating and administering my own website or websites. Most people in my field of business have a full time website designer or family member controlling their websites. Others rely solely on social media for their customer retention. I am firmly somewhere in the middle and muddle through everything personally.
Maybe you like this website or maybe you dont. 98% of people reading this page would have know idea that this comes from a template purchased for about $50.
The fact that I control my social media and websites on an individual basis came about purely by accident. Some 10 or so years ago I joined whats known as Trade Car View as a dealer. Ten years ago Trade Car View or TCV for this article was fun and easy to navigate and somewhat manipulate to get bigger and better monthly sales. It was so easy in fact that every dealer/exporter in Japan caught on to it and joined the roller coaster of increased monthly car sales.
At some point or another I saw some form of writing on the wall for us dealer members of TCV as they were slipping in little extra revenue systems for themselves that the dealer was ultimately funding and our profit margins were decreasing. Coupled with the fact that more dealers were joining their service on a daily basis the slice of pie was rapidly decreasing for us original members.
After one long and restless nights sleep I decided to look around at other websites and found nothing that compared to TCV. Then I remembered an email I had received some two or three months prior about some guy doing websites for car dealers. Having found the email I reached out to the guy who was from Sri Lanka. I explained that I wanted a website like TCV but required a more simplistic way to sell cars where the dealer had as much protection as the consumer. He said this was easy but expensive and that about 4 million JPY would be required to make the website. This was 10 years ago remember and Japan. I thought, deal done!
He wanted to meet in some remote location of japan where he was working and I traveled there by shinkasen. The meeting was at some coffee shop where I was shown some of his work. After a 2 hour conversation I handed over a 400,000 JPY deposit and received a copy of his passport and work was to begin. We went our separate ways and I never heard from him again for another 4 months when I tracked him down in Sri Lanka. He was a real nice guy and a little wealthier for thieving my 4 grand. Lesson learnt and fuck it was painful. My ego took a real beating on that one.
Time goes bye and its about 2 years on with healed ego when I decide to have another crack at some website or another and the search for a website begun once again.
However during this time my own company website was doing well and we went from strength to strength for the next 5 years or so. In fact it was so good I didnt bother to keep up with changes to Google changes or website competition. All was rosy and mobile was now amping up so to speak, quite literally.
Do you know what AMP means in web site lingo? I sure as hell didnt either some 3 years ago and nor did I care. It means accelerated mobile pages and this was Googles new demand for website owners. I was a dinosaur.
In 2016 wallowing around a pool somewhere in Thailand with my family on summer vacation. I had struck up a conversation with a guy from Germany who insisted on looking at my website as he was interested in Classic Cars from Japan. I am thinking cool this will be good. He grabs his mobile phone and types in the website name https://autotraderimports.com
We wait a couple of minutes and he says that my website looks like shit and is not AMP friendly. I look and have to agree as I watched the page with items scattered all over the page. I never saw him again and never sold him a car.
I ran back to the room and went straight to Theme Forest and bought the first good car dealer theme I could lay my hands on. It was an initial outlay of $59. I them grabbed some good pics from Istock and a few pics I had on file and started my new website.
Within 24 hours my website was functional enough to be online and AMP ready. It was not perfect and is not perfect still today. However its better and looks the part and will stand with its peers.
So why do I write about ThemeForest which is not related to cars!
There are many people out there wanting there own foot print on the internet and to do this sometimes we dont want to use social media for that digital footprint. Maybe you have a little business and want to have a website as proof of credibility or simply brand yourself. Unless you have a family member like a brother in law, sister, or distant cousin who is a website developer you will probably end up look for someone in the yellow pages or on Upwork or Freelancer for the work to be done. On these two platforms unless you have used them before you will look like a new tourist on a street corner in Bangkok waiting to be fleeced. The yellow pages is the next best thing but will be expensive.
Themeforest will get you kick started. Yep there is still a heck off a lot to learn and it wont be a 24 hour thing. Your going to scratch your head and yell at the dog and cat. Be patient and give it a go. Pick the right theme from word go as getting a refund from Themeforest is nearly impossible. Select carefully! This is my only dislike.
What you can do is look here for a template (preferably wordpress) that will suit your needs. You can pick up templates for $20 to $60 https://themeforest.net/
With this template and a server you can start your very own website in minutes and see yourself online. I have made hundreds of sites and destroyed just as many over the years now and saved myself thousands of dollars this way.
Here are some examples of my websites. Now note I am self taught and it shows, but at least I did it. If you need some support with yours let me know and I can possibly help out if I have time.
My websites are constantly evolving and changing so dont be surprised if some links dont work as I either get bored or hacked 🙂
Skype: autotraderimports (japan)