New tricks: how (and why) a nanna conquered Dreamweaver

The more you put in,
the more you get out!


You’re never too old to learn, as my recent website dramas clearly show.

I was following my dream to breed quintessential horses and match them with ideal owners.

After much effort, my carefully chosen mares and stallion were producing foals better than my dream.

I now needed to reach an optimum audience to find perfect owners (and pay some bills).

Dream into action

Getting hosting and a website were easy, as one of my sons is a webmaster.

Getting the feel and flexibility I wanted was not.

Frustrated by my constant demands for text and photo changes as my foals grew, my son offered to teach me the website creation program Adobe Dreamweaver.

Alas, the generation gap was insurmountable. To me, the program looked like a forest of strange icons and codes.

Yet to my son, it was as familiar as reading. I didn’t even know what questions to ask to find the answers I needed.


So I accepted a friend’s offer to create my site with a generic cut-and-paste program used by other horse breeders.

While this solved the frequent photo update problem, I started getting audience complaints about slow loading times and misplaced text.

My son checked the new site and told me it only opened in the browser it was created in.

This was an eye-opener for me, as I didn’t even know there were multiple browsers!

In relaying this information to the site’s creator, I lost a friend … and my website.

From the horse’s mouth

My valued friend and mentor, Paul Hassing, advised, ‘Speak to your target audience in their language’.

This is the same advice I give my clients when teaching horse handling.

I’m a baby boomer with grandchildren. When I look at websites, I explore the simple ones with lots of photos, but quickly abandon the high-tech, click-here-for-more ones.

As I specialise in breeding horses for older women and families, I realised I was actually the one best equipped to communicate to them and create a site to reach my target audience.

‘You can’t teach an old dog new tricks’ taunted me as I struggled to master a web-creation program used by professionals.

Finally, a conversation opened the door. One of my students said, ‘It’s easy for you to know what the horse is going to do, because you know their language’.

I replied, ‘You need to look at what else your horse is listening to. What’s influencing her besides you to behave the way she does?’

Opening the door

Back at my computer, I opened Dreamweaver and asked, ‘What is influencing my writing to be the wrong size? What’s stopping this page loading to my site?’

I searched the screen and thought about seeing the individual horse, and not the whole herd.

Suddenly, the puzzle unravelled.

A heading box was ticked. I’d attached a code in the wrong place and there was a gap where there should’ve been a dash.

My secret to learning a new trick is relating it to something familiar.

My ideal website is still a work in progress, but it’s no longer a battle. I’m having fun!

When it’s done, it’ll be right for me and right for my audience.

And it’ll be mine.

I also have a blog and I’m on Facebook.

Not bad for a 63-year-old gal with two bung knees!

Over to you

Every ‘old trick’ was once new to us.

And the best helping hand is often at the end of your own arm.

What new skills have you learned (or could you learn) to get your business where you want it to be?