Million Dollar QuestionI LOVE what I do (web design and web development), but it has been a very circuitous route getting here.  I even started a blog about my journey toward discovering and doing the work that I would love to do. There's an ad talking about how the right bed is so important because you spend 1/3 of your life in bed. But you're asleep! Think about how important it is to spend the 1/3 of your waking life in a career that fits you. Think about how miserable you are when it doesn't fit. I remember the day I heard about counselors who help people transition from careers that they hate into careers that they love. What a great profession, I thought.

Now, as a St Louis web designer and web developer I find that more and more I am taking on the role of creating people's new professional identities.

Because people look first online to find out about a business they are interested in using so it makes sense that people interested in starting a business often begin by consulting with a web designer. They are entrusting a web professional to add shape to the sometimes nebulous though longed-for desires that until now have only resided inside their mind. Here are some of the tangible things that a web designer is able to offer them to get started building their business identity through web design.

A Quest Like Yours Deserves a Coat of Arms (Logo Design) - We sometimes take a business's logo as a given. But a professionally-designed logo is a huge step in identifying yourself as a business.  Like a website itself, a logo separates your personal identity from the larger entity.  It is like a coat of arms to a knight. When it adorns a business card, flyer or is even emblazoned upon your vehicle it gives instant credibility to what it is you do.  You're no longer a guy whose just into something; you're a business representative.

Paint Your Walls (Color Palate) - It might seem insignificant. But your business dreams are like bare walls, pages in a coloring book. Once the right colors are applied to your website you will know you are in a special place. Think: Dorothy stepping out of her transplanted house and into the land of Oz! That's what the right colors will do toward making your dream a reality.  When you have the right colors on a website you will feel different about the business. When your friends and business prospects look at the site they will instantly feel good about it and want to engage with it.

Scream Out Your Passion! (Blog) - A friend once told me that people should have careers that match the magazines they subscribe to.  Maybe you work at a bank… but you're a woodworking geek.  Maybe you bag groceries or stock shelves, but you absolutely absorb information from magazines about home audio. Be the geek you were born to be!  A blog is a great place to start placing all that information that's taken up residence in your brain out there in a place for all to see. You're an expert in something, now let the people who need an expert find you.  

Attract The People Who Can Help (Contact Information and Calls to Action) -  You can go down to the fishing hole and throw pieces of bread into the water and create some well-fed fish or you can stick a hook on the end of a line and begin reeling 'em in!  One of the things that as a web designer I am able to offer my customers is the undeniable "contact page." Asking for what you really want is hard for most people. It is one little hump that as a web guy I can provide. Every single website page should include some element that encourages a reader to take the next step, to learn more, to engage with the site owner. The website should make the act of further contact irresistible. Let's see what bait we have in our tackle box, shall we?

Begin Living Your Dream (Overall Web Presence) - Let's face it. There is a part of your personality that you are really excited about. You've been thinking about transitioning into it full-time for a long time. You don't need to drink a beer and get some sleep. You don't need to take a pill and get over it. You don't even need to speak to a therapist. When you're ready to begin building the world you want to inhabit your local web designer might just have the solution.  

Rick Ortiz is a web designer and web developer who loves giving form to business-owners' vision of what it is they do.

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