Expert Interview with Steve Burge on Web Design Training
Considering most small and medium-sized businesses don’t even have an IT department (and if they do have one, they have to juggle company computers, servers, email and the website with very few resources), it might not hurt to cross-train employees on IT skills. One savvy place to start is web design.
“It’s not cheap or easy to hire someone specifically to build your website,” says Steve Burge, CEO of OSTraining.com. “If you can train your IT people, your marketing people and even some of your other staff, your team can run the website and it will really reflect your organization’s personality.”
The team at OSTraining offers everyone from beginners to more tech-savvy users training on a variety of CMS platforms as well as SEO, ecommerce, security and more.
We recently checked in with Steve to learn more about OSTraining and CMS trends business owners should be following. Here’s what he had to say:
What’s your professional background?
I’ve been both a teacher and a web developer. I worked as a teacher for nearly a decade in Japan, Mexico, Australia, the U.K. and the U.S. and loved it. But I never made much money as a teacher, and I started creating websites to pay the bills.
By the time I moved to the U.S., my evening job as a web designer was paying better than my day job as a teacher. So, I started building websites full time. Thus, web design became my second career.
After a few years and a few dozen websites, I was spending too long in my office staring at the screen and missed the social interaction in my previous career. I started to feel the urge to teach again. A friend asked me to teach a Joomla class in Chicago: I tried it and loved it. That reintroduction to teaching led to more classes across the country.
We kept growing, and by 2010 I ended up combining my two careers and becoming a full-time web design teacher.
Tell us about OSTraining. What services do you offer?
We teach people how to build great websites, focusing on WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. Our training is online, available 24/7, and really comprehensive. We start with the basics, then work our way up into more advanced topics such as SEO, ecommerce, theme design, security, etc.
What sets your training videos apart from other online tutorials?
The biggest difference is that we provide expert support, while most other online training companies provide no support or subpar support. Many of our members have stuck with us for years simply for the support. Also, we’ve been told by our students who have also taken other training courses that our videos are a lot more professional and teach the material more clearly.
What do you think are the biggest frustrations users have with learning new software programs?
A lot of users think that design will be easier. They may have used Dreamweaver or other point-and-click software such as Squarespace or Wix.
Unfortunately, many current CMSs do a bad job of making design easy for users. They have to learn many of the fundamental features of the platform before they can start designing.
Who should be checking out your training videos?
Anyone who wants to learn how to create or manage websites. We teach using simple, plain English so that absolute beginners and non-techies can learn.
What are the most popular training videos you offer? What topics are users most interested in?
Our Joomla, WordPress, and Drupal beginner classes are by far our most popular classes. Afterward, our Intro to Coding classes (e.g. HTML, CSS, and PHP) are the next set of most popular classes.
What topics do you think more users should check out?
More people should go through our security classes. We highly encourage it even if you won’t be the main person dealing with your site’s security. There are few things more important for your site than keeping it secure.
What software, application or CMS trends should business owners be following today?
The most important trend right now for businesses is the continued rise of mobile devices. Websites need to be mobile-friendly and work on any device – phone, tablet, or PC – to make it a better experience for the user.
Google has also started making significant algorithm changes to give a boost to mobile-friendly sites. That will continue in 2015 and beyond.
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