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Wrapping Up 2011

A December 2011 wall calendar pageIt’s been a good year for MRW Web Design. In a terrible economy, I feel incredibly lucky to support myself doing what I love. It reminds me of a post on the Lifehacker blog suggesting two tests for determining whether you like your job:

  • Would you do your job for free?
  • Are you doing what you loved when you were 12?

In both cases, the answer is yes. In fact, they’re both true statements. I loved making websites when I was 12, and I certainly have made websites for free.

Building Stuff

Conservatively, I’ve worked on 30 websites this year. Some projects have been just a few hours of support or adding a new features. Others have been brand new websites built where there weren’t ones before. Each project has been a blast.

I’ve also supported other websites by helping people on the WordPress Support Forums, the Seattle WordPress Meetup forums, other plugin-specific forums, and at in-person meetups.

Highlights

It’s impossible to pick a favorite, but these three websites really stood out this year.

A thumbnail of the UnSectored website

UnSectored

Screenshot of MmofraGhana.org

Mmofra Foundation

Northwest Freelancers Association

UnSectored.net was a chance to work with a great friend, Jeff, and a fabulous example of effort in content leading to reader engagement. Just two months after launching, UnSectored, took its blog to the offline world and held a face-to-face meetup. I’m excited for what 2012 has in store for the “unsectoring” movement.

Mmofra Foundation’s website, mmofraghana.org, gave me a chance to build a website for a world-wide audience and work with their passionate web team, Amowi and Rachel. Having previously had a minimal web presence, it was a very gratifying experience to help the Mmofra Foundation begin sharing their innovative cultural education work with the web.

Finally, the Northwest Freelancers Association (NWFA) was a chance to go local and help support the freelance economy in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Meeting Justin and the other freelancers in this relatively new organization was a treat, and I look forward to participating in NWFA’s second year.

Making Connections

After going to my first Seattle WordPress meetup toward the end of 2010, I’ve had the pleasure of watching the group’s membership explode, attending the second Seattle WordCamp in April 20111, presenting to the Meetup group on WordPress “child theming,” and even organizing a couple months’ presentations including the first Ignite-style presentation for the group.

In merging my passions for nonprofits and technology, I have been incredibly lucky to attend many brown bag presentations at nPower Northwest and to meet their fabulous staff.2  The opportunity to meet people working in Seattle’s nonprofit sector, knowledge-share, and network has been invaluable.

Personal & Professional Growth

Wrapping up MRW Web’s 17th full month of business, it’s amazing to look back.

Technically, I am building the best WordPress themes I have ever built using the still-emerging trends of HTML5, CSS3, responsive web design, and ever-changing accessibility standards.

Professionally, I have met a huge number of new people and made new friends, collaborators, and contacts.  Besides the Seattle WordPress Meetup, I have spent time with the Northwest Freelancers Association and attended WordCamp Seattle 2011 and InfoCamp Seattle 2011.

On the web, I have continued to share and converse with people on the twittersphere, and better yet, begun sharing my ideas and insights on the MRW Web Design Blog. The blog has given me a chance to share best practices; burgeoning ideas; and tips, tricks, and links related to nonprofit websites and WordPress. Although the blog is only three months old, I’m particularly proud of these posts:

The new blog was only one part of the total overhaul of this website. While the feel of the design remained largely the same, I gave myself more space to showcase the work I’ve done, the services I provide, and the ideas I want to share. Under the hood, the site was completely recoded and built on WordPress.3

Out with the old…

A screenshot of the old mrwweb.com

…in with the new!

A screenshot of the new MRW Web Design website homepage.

Why

So I want to end by coming back to the reason I do what I do and what I hope MRW Web Design brings to the world.

More than ever, the web is a crucial means of communication for any organization trying to change the world in any way, big or small. Yet free website options usually prove insufficient and large web agencies are outside the budgets of many.

And so my goal is to satisfy the demand for high-quality, mission-driven websites for organizations doing good in the world.

I’ll keep at it in 2012, and I hope you’ll join me for the ride.

Photo Credit: sun dazed (Some Rights Reserved.)

Footnotes

  1. And making their website too! [Back to spot ↩]
  2. In particular, I’d like to thank Kate, Ash, Mike, Mandi, and Peg. Thank you all for the advice, free coffee, and introducing me to those mind-blowing “ugly” cookies. [Back to spot ↩]
  3. Before, I was talking the talk; now I’m walking the walk. [Back to spot ↩]
Collaboration