What if we taught all the girls how to make websites?

This post was originally published at GirlyGeekdom.com

I was brainstorming with a director at Girls Inc Orange County on Monday about ways in which Women for Girls, a group of professional women in support of Girls Inc OC, could work with the girls served by the organization. The director was briefing me on the various programs currently in place, one of which is an internship program, placing high school girls with local businesses for a four-week internship that hopefully pays a stipend of at least a few hundred dollars.

The very first thing I thought was, “Let me hire one so I can teach her how to make websites!”

I’ve been contemplating offering “WordPress Consultation” as one of my services to fill in the gap between zero dollars and the starting price of a custom website by my company. Often I come across a potential client that just doesn’t have the money upfront to pay for a custom website and yet they have no idea how to create one themselves. I’ve had to turn these clients down because there just aren’t enough hours in the day to help everyone, even if I want to, without getting proper pay.

I often think to myself, “I could teach them how to do this themselves in a few hours,” especially if all they need is a basic informational website. WordPress (and other such blog packages you can host yourself) has made it possible to create a professional-looking website that is easy to maintain in a matter of hours…even minutes. Honestly.

Think about the most basic of websites with a home page, an about page, a services page, and a contact page. That’s four pages. Literally – pick a cool theme and activate it, create four Pages in the WordPress dashboard, label them appropriately, make sure the main navigation displays pages (and not categories), and you’re essentially done!

Ahhh, did I lose you a bit? “But how do I change the main navigation?” you ask. Yes, it’s true that you might need to tinker with some PHP code in order to make this work. That’s what scares most people off…just the mention of “code” will usually end the conversation.

But if I had an intern and it was her JOB to learn new things, I could show her. I could guide her through the entire process, and by the time we set up a couple of them together, she’d be off an running on her own, figuring out how to make expandable menus and hooking up the featured content gallery plugin. Of course, we’d also have to get into the details about hosting – Nameservers, E-mail Address setup, and so on. But all of this is pretty simple after you’ve done it a few times.

Just think of the power that gives her. A teenager who can create websites! She could setup a shared hosting account so she has space for a bunch of small sites as well as a discounted rate on domain names. Tben she could go to local businesses with fliers advertising her starting rate and rate per page after, say, four pages. They’ll trust her because she’s local and she’s not a big company who’s going to charge them an arm and a leg in the beginning and $100 every time a word needs to be changed. Also, she’s young and “hip” and will be perceived as current and “up on the latest styles” in terms of design and what catches people’s attention. Her prices will be lower than her competitors because she has no overhead – no office to rent, no employees to pay, and the only supplies she needs are a computer and internet access.

Knowing how to make websites has opened many doors in my life. How many doors could it open for young girls?


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