I posted this about two years ago and – with a few updates – I think it is worth repeating. Although WordPress has been more of a challenge than I anticipated, I’m glad I switched. An important lesson I’ve learned is that you can go to You Tube and get clear instructions on how to do most anything.
Five thoughts about moving to WordPress
When I decided to move to WordPress two years ago, it was with trepidation. It was a bit of an adventure and a huge learning curve… or so I thought. I had tried multiple times to get everything under one roof, meaning everything under one website/blog/writing and author platform. I had suspected for some time that WordPress was the way to go, but quite honestly I couldn’t figure out how to make it happen. In fact, I created a whole new language around building a WordPress website, and it involved behavior I was not proud to admit. Not much gets my goat, but trying to figure out WordPress was at the top of the list. What made it even more painful is that everyone else seemed perfectly capable of figuring WordPress out. I’m not brilliant, but the thing is, WordPress doesn’t take brilliance; it takes patience, a characteristic I have in short supply.
The scary thing is that I have built a website from the ground up on another server/host platform, and while it wasn’t easy, I could figure it out. Not so with WordPress, until I listened to an archived tutorial on Writers Digest by Jane Friedman. She made it so simple I’m embarrassed I didn’t work it out on my own. So here are some thoughts if you’re considering making a change to WordPress
It is simple… unless you make it hard
WordPress uses unique terminology. So if you don’t know a widget from a doodad, don’t worry. In case you’re wondering, a widget defines a tool to add functionality to your website/blog, a doodad is just another name for a thingamajig, which WordPress isn’t using anyway. What I did was try to use the hunt and peck method (that had worked for me on another site) to “force” a template to do my bidding. The templates have constraints, and you can waste a lot of time on a quest that leads nowhere. WordPress is designed in such a way you can grow your website’s complexity and functionality as you gain experience. It is an open source platform used by a broad spectrum of individuals. You can use it for free or upgrade to a premium package for under $100. Follow the instructions and look for help in the forums if you’re struggling. And you can find help for free on YouTube, or go to this tutorial at Writer’s Digest. Jane Friedman’s presentation is on point and worth the $16.99 I paid for it. After three (or is it four?) years of banging my head against my stubborn preconceived notions I finally have my website/blog all under one “roof” and I couldn’t be happier.
Free is good; premium is better
I started with the free site. While it has appeal, I knew from the outset of my unnecessarily long journey that I wanted a .com address that was my own. I did not want it to include the “WordPress” site as part of the name. Being professional starts with appearing professional in all your communication and a critical component of that is your website. johndoe.com looks better and more professional than johndoe/wordpress.com, don’t you think? However, if what you can afford right now is “free” go for it until you get your online equilibrium.
A house with many rooms
Before I got where I am today with my website/blog, I was managing (poorly) four blogs that I posted on rarely if at all, and a website I maintained sporadically. I’m a one-shop stop writer, and I couldn’t for the life of me manage my time around my web presence and still get writing done on my latest novel. I completed most of the books I’ve written before my test of wills with WordPress started – however long ago that was. I published my latest book “Finding Family” in July 2014. During the time I was working on it – and for nearly a year before that – I didn’t touch WordPress. Copywriting, alumni magazine development for a small university, hosting a couple of radio shows, and community volunteerism kept me busy. But my web presence was hanging fire, going nowhere. When I did update the site, which is separate from the blogs, I had to post teaser paragraphs on the main site with links to the blog site. It was like having a five-room house with a different roof on each one. Drove me nuts. With this site I can do it all without undue angst… I hope. Bottom line, WordPress is my one roof. It’s up to me to make it work.
Experience not necessary
I have come to believe that if I had never experienced another design platform, getting set up with WordPress would have been easier. I brought a lot of notions about web design to the table. Start at square one and follow the instructions. It’s easy peasy.
Is it a website or a blog?
Don’t stress about this. A rose by any other name, etc., etc. Your web presence is important enough for you to spend time making it professional and accessible. WordPress provides the tools. It’s up to you to put them to work. I consider www.oneroofpublish.com to be a website with a valuable blog component. The truth is, blogging is as only as good as the attention you are willing to give it. Call it what you want, but feed it often and with worthwhile content.