Hey there, my name is Diane. You're in the right place if you want to learn more about me and my web design journey.

Diane, DIY WordPress Course Creator

If you want to skip the reading (or chitty chat as my son says) and see me deliver some training instead, then head over to my Facebook page


My Web Design Journey

It all started in 2008 when I had a glimmer of an idea for a business and I wanted a website. The prices I quoted were way out of my budget so I decided to try and build a website myself. Back then I started with a builder called Mr Site. You could actually buy it in a box in shops!  It was good but fairly limited but that didn't matter, I loved it!

I found that I had an eye for design and I loved learning about SEO. Because I'd been quoted such high prices for a website I thought that there might be a market for lower priced web designers and so I built a website for a web design business. I charged just £199 for a 5 page website. Before I knew it, I had a client from America! She was an artist and wanted to showcase and sell her work. I was in business!

Work continued to flow to me, both via a local government scheme for start-ups that recommended me and also because my site was ranking in Google.

Mr Site to Moonfruit

As I got more complex requests I realised that Mr Site wasn't going to cut it anymore and in 2009 I moved to a brand new platform called Moonfruit. Moonfruit was leaps and bounds ahead of Mr Site and it was designed in such a way that made ranking in Google even easier.

As well as offering websites I also delivered classroom based Moonfruit training in London and Manchester and became a Moonfruit official reseller. One of my web design course attendees in London was a plumber. He took what he learned and went on to rank number one in Google in pretty much every single area of London after my training. I was very proud of him! Mind you, back then, there was what was called black hat and grey hat SEO and he was definitely wearing a grey hat!

Goodbye Moonfruit

Moonfruit had been owned by a husband and wife team and they had built it into a hugely successful, multi-million pound business. In 2012 they made the fateful decision to sell the business to Yell. For me, that meant that the writing was on the wall. It was also during the period when SSL's (security certificates - the padlock at the top left of a browser) were becoming an essential part of the web design world and Moonfruit was falling behind. I needed to find another platform.

At the time Moonfruit and Wix were pretty much neck and neck in terms of their builders. Moonfruit had been ahead for years but Wix was just starting to overtake them. However, for me, there were a few issues with Wix.

Firstly Wix sites had a reputation for being terrible for SEO and really hard to rank. This has changed in recent years and John Mueller, Google’s search advocate, said “Wix is fine for SEO. A few years back it was pretty bad in terms of SEO."

Secondly, I decided that I wanted complete control over my site forever. I never wanted to have to change builders again. I wanted to own the sites, not rent them from other platforms.

Thirdly, by the time I'd paid for all the Wix add ons I'd need, my clients would have much higher monthly fees than I'd be charging.

Hello WordPress

Diane at her desk creating a DIY WordPress Course for beginners

So Word Press it was. And I fell in love again! This big, amazing open-source platform where you could build anything you could dream of. And free e-commerce for my clients via Woocommerce! And the SEO options were out of this world. Plugins for everything and so many free resources. It was amazing. I was using a pagebuilder so I didn't need to code anything but I found myself becoming more interested in coding also and is now something that I love.

So in 2013, I moved all my client's sites to WordPress and never looked back. The flexibility of WordPress allowed me to offer any kind of build you can think of, whilst also keeping the costs down for my clients. And the SEO was amazing so ranking even one page sites for local businesses was easy.


Selling my Business

After running my web design business for 15 years, a glimmer of a thought passed through my mind one Saturday morning. "I wonder would it be possible to sell my business?" A quick Google showed that yes, maybe it would be possible so on the Monday morning I reach out to a few companies. Within a few hours, I had received three offers for the business! Wow! After some negotiation a deal was struck and 2 weeks later the business that I'd been running for 15 years was sold. Signed, sealed and delivered. There were tears! My baby of 15 years. Gone!

But as one chapter ends, another chapter begins. I absolutely loved teaching web design and SEO in the classrooms before my son was born. Seeing other people being able to create something after you've taught them is a great joy. I had so many technophobe clients who said that they would never be able to update their own website (I always offered this option and gave them training) but after watching my training they were able to. They were proud of themselves and I was so proud of them too.

WordPress & SEO Courses

And so here we are at the current time, a few weeks into launching the new business. My Easy DIY WordPress course is currently in a beta launch phase. I'm excited to get feedback and teach new people the joys of WordPress and the benefits of SEO. I've already been invited to guest speak in a couple of groups and will post those here when I get the green light.

I'd love for you to join me on my new journey 🙂

Trials & Tribulations

I can't give a complete backstory of my web design journey without mentioning the hard parts too. Learning web design I often wanted to throw my PC out of the window. I got frustrated. I didn't know how to do things, and it all seemed so complex at times. Why couldn't I just do that easy thing?! I hated WordPress the first time I tried it, and I definitely have a love-hate relationship with Google (take the journey with me and you'll find out why). So if you are trying to build your own website I completely understand and I'm here for you.

Top Advice

You will have times in your business when you seem to just not be able to do something. It might be designing your website, it might be something else. The one thing that I have learned in the last 15 years is that in these moments the best thing you can do is just step away. The number of times I've struggled with trying to code something for hours and then I go for a 10 minute walk and the solution just pops into my head. Give your mind a break and invariably the solution arrives.

Random Things

I have a gorgeous, witty, maths and magic loving 10 year old son. Where did that time go?!

I love the school run. Chatting with my son for 15 minutes while we walk is just the best way to start and end my working day

I have a cat called Tabitha. She thinks she's human

This page is NOT a good example of an About page 😂 Way too much text and not enough images

I used to lead adventure tours and have lived and worked in 19 countries

I speak four languages. In a rusty fashion

I have a BA (HONS) in International Business Studies with Russian Language

I love the sea

I love mountains and nature

Where the sea and mountains meet I am in my absolute element. Think Corisca and the Cote d'Azure

I love books

I love jigsaws, crosswords and puzzles. My favourite is probably the Killer Sudoku in the I newspaper

My happy place is swimming in the sea. Ideally in the Med but I'm not too fussy

I was once chased through Uzbekistan by the KGB. I had no idea at the time so was completely unconcerned. However I arrived in Tashkent to an urgent message to call my boss (usually we didn't even speak for 6 months) who told me I'd nearly caused an international incident 😅 Fortunately when I got back to the UK he told me that he had to be seen to be telling me off but that I'd done the right thing. In case you're wondering, I'm not a spy 🕵️‍♀️ This was during my adventure tour leading years

I once gate-crashed a show put on for the Uzbek President with 16 tourists in tow. I claimed we were the "British delegation" 😂 The show was amazing and my group had an amazing and unique memory to take home

I can sometimes be too direct (Northern lass)

I'm an eternal optimist

I'm an empath. This is a great gift when it comes to web design and SEO as I find it easy to put myself into the shoes of my client's clients and look through their eyes

I don't really like social media (erm head over to my Facebook page and you'll see just how bad I am 😬). I know I need to do better