Many people know that I built my first website back in 1996, and that building that website was the start of my online world.
I actually tried to build that same website in 1994 but it was a little hard for me to figure it out. At the time, I had no computer skills, so I quickly gave up, and gave the idea a rest for a couple of years.
In 1996 I repurchased the domain name LelandsWallpaper.com again, and gave the site a second try.
At the time I talked to a few people that design websites to get prices, and other information. I knew that the new website would be a long term project, and that I would need to learn how to maintain the new site. I knew that I could not afford to pay someone to handle every update that I would need for the rest of my life. My goal was to hire someone that worked in house and could teach me how to maintain the site while building it.
One day while I was sitting at the office I received a phone call from a new developer. The developer knew I was looking for someone to build a new site, and offered to build mine at half the price everyone else was charging back in 1996.
His voice sounded really strange. It was as if it was cracking, or breaking up. I finally realize it was a young person whose voice was changing, I asked him ” how old are you”. He replied I am 14.
I was shocked that I was on the phone with a 14 year old kid who was trying to charge me $40 an hour to build my site! I told him I would think about it, and call him back.
After I talked to him I immediately called the local high school, and asked to talk to the computer teacher. They connected me with the teacher, and I asked her if any of her kids could build a website.
“Everyone of my 3rd year students can” she said. I asked her to tell them I was looking to hire someone to help me build a company website.
The next day a student showed up and I hired him at $7.00 an hour. He worked for me until he finished college, and for a few years more.
I remember calling my vendors and asking if they had any images of wallpaper they could send me to use. Back in 1996 there were no digital cameras to use for taking photos.
All of my vendors laughed when I told them what I was trying to build. They all said ‘people will never buy wallpaper on the internet”. I always replied that I would, so I thought there were other that would too.
We ended up using scanners as they had been invented in 1996. We scanned wallpaper patterns out of the wallpaper books, and added them to the website.
It was a learning process for sure, but as we built the website I learned the basics of coding.
Don't get me wrong I am still not a great coder, but I can get most stuff accomplished with time. Also things are so much easier thanks to tools like WordPress and WooCommerce.
I am so glad I did not listen to all the people who told me how stupid I was to attempt to sell wallpaper on the internet.
Just as an FYI the site that I originally built in 1996 is still up and running, and business is as good as ever.
You can take a look at LelandsWallpaper.com