How to create a (s)crappy website in 48 hours

A few weekends ago, I created what many would consider a very crappy website. But I don’t think it’s crappy — I think it’s scrappy.

I’m a big fan of Seth Godin, and one of his key tenets is “ship your work.” In other words, you have to put your product out there, you can’t keep it hidden, or keep noodling it to death, wishing and praying that it’ll become perfect at some undefined, future time.

It’s scary, it’s intimidating, because you’re essentially signing your name to something that is rough, raw, unhoned. You’re saying “here, I made this” and opening yourself up to the slings and arrows of other people’s evaluation… and even criticism.

Here’s a recent blog post of Seth’s where he talks about “scrappy” vs. “crappy”:

‘Scrappy’ is not the same as ‘crappy’

The only choice is to launch before you’re ready. Before it’s perfect. Before it’s 100% proven to be no risk to you. At that moment, your resistance says, “don’t ship it, it’s crappy stuff. We don’t ship crap.” And it’s true that you shouldn’t ship work that’s hurried, sloppy or ungenerous. But what’s actually on offer is something scrappy. Scrappy means that while it’s unpolished, it’s better than good enough. Scrappy doesn’t care about cosmetics as much as it cares about impact. Scrappy is flexible and resilient and ready to learn. Ship scrappy.

Ship scrappy is exactly what I did. I’m a big fan of music (no shock to my handful of faithful readers), and I wanted a site where I could consolidate all my music musings:

  • blog posts about live shows, bands, the music business
  • episodes my semi-monthly podcast about my days at 97X, a ground-breaking indie rock station from 1983-2004 and online only through 2010
  • A weekly list of the concerts coming to the Cincinnati area, with my wacky (and sometimes snarky) commentary included. I used to send this out via email, but having it on a website makes it easier to edit and send, and more engaging (I hope) for the recipient.

Hence, 97Xbam.com was born in June, weighing in at 10 pounds of scrappy in a five-pound bag. Wondering where the name came from? Here’s the answer:

While I was putting the site together, I realized I could also add a few more features… a music video, a song from SoundCloud or a similar listening platform, indie rock headlines/news, a discussion board, a photo gallery of concert pix, even sound clips from my days at 97X.

I’m a writer, not a designer, so it ain’t pretty, but it’s pretty good. Huge tip o’ the hat to WordPress for making it so easy that even a caveman like me could do it. The domain name cost about $10, and hosting is about $100. A small price to pay for a scrappy little website. And I’ll keep working on it.

I’ll be posting most, if not all, of my music-related pieces on 97Xbam.com instead of posting them on this site. So if you don’t like my weird taste in music, you’ll enjoy NOT getting the occasional music post. But if you DO like music, you can also subscribe to 97Xbam.com via a link at the bottom of the page, and you’ll get an email anytime I post, typically 1-2 times a week.

It’s not perfect. But it’s scrappy. And that’s music to my ears.