I admit my bias, but I think my website is, overall, lovely. It took me a LONG time to get to where I like it. Have gone through many transitions and morphs, but I’m pretty happy. If you are a techy person, you will notice a few clunky aspects, but I’m not gonna tell you if you don’t notice! Overall, I have done most of this on a budget that is quite reasonable.
First and foremost, I want to give a shout out to my designer. Get ahold of Camila at TCN Design Studio. Her work is lovely and she is a total pro!
Of course, to start a blog, you need web hosting. Bloggers are passionate about their providers, pitting one against the other. I have been with Bluehost from the beginning. When you choose a host, you pay for monthly hosting of your blog and you also buy a domain name. (That’s the official name of your blog.) The costs at Bluehost are reasonable and I have never had a complaint about their service. A few years ago, the company was sold to another company, but frankly I haven’t noticed and difference in service or customer service.
As a non-techy person, I have had to call Bluehost quite a big over the years. I am very straightforward and warn them that I am an older gal and they need to speak SLOWLY and LOUD. I have ALWAYS gotten very patient, polite, helpful people to help me and I’ve been in some real pickles with my website, including being hacked. For my buck, Bluehost is top notch.
The next item to consider is a theme for your WordPress blog. There are free themes out there and many are quite good. The downside is there is generally no support available if you have a problem with your theme.
I really love the Genesis theme by Studio Press. The process goes something like this – you get Genesis as your base theme, then you can jazz it up with child themes. Studio Press sells child themes, or you can get a designer to customize a child theme, like Camila
at TCN Design Studio did for me.
A good theme costs a few bucks, but it can be installed numerous times and Studio Press generally provides updates as new fixes or capabilities are added. You’re sure to find something you like here.
This provider is a new one for me and I am impressed. When you have a website, you need to collect emails for a newsletter. If you sell ebooks or other items, you need a shopping cart. Each of these items can get pricy. Email services in particular charge for their services based on the number of subscribers you have. As you grow, you pay … and pay … and pay.
Tribulant Software offers some reasonable solutions. Although they may not be a spiffy as some other offerings, you will find that they do the job for a lot less.
I use the Newsletter plug-in and I like it. You can buy a designed template for your email, or just send out a plain-ish one, which is what I use. The emails send out from your website about 99 at a time, so it can take a while for the mail to send. I set it to go before I go to sleep and they send throughout the night. The plug-in will give you all the same information as any other email product, such as number received, opened, clicked, etc. but for a LOT LESS.
I have an estore on my site and I wasn’t happy with the way the product layout looked. When I saw that Tribulant has a store, I checked it out. It looks much nicer and was not too hard to figure out. It integrates with Paypal or other services for payment. This is a great choice for your store!
I had to contact the Tribulant customer service a couple of times with some unusual requests. I wanted the newsletter to integrate with another inexpensive lead capture software I use as well as a landing page software I use and I was having trouble figuring it out. They assisted me and worked with me until I was happy with the result. If you just don’t want to spend a fortune on your site each month, check these folks out.
Have you had the nightmare experience of a computer crash — yet? It will probably happen to you eventually. I’ve had it happen more than once.
Even if you don’t have a crash, what if you just buy a new computer and want to efficiently transfer all your goodies from one computer to another?
There are no words to express how awesome I think Carbonite is! Let me tell you my stories.
The first time Carbonite saved me was after a computer crash. I had an older computer and one day it just fried. I got another one, got ahold of the Carbonite people and everything downloaded back onto my new computer. Happy, happy.
I don’t know why I did so, but one year, I tried another backup provider. I was fine with it until I had ANOTHER computer crash. When I went to retrieve my data, I learned that this back up program did not update automatically in the background. You had to go online each time to do a fresh backup. When I experienced this crash, there was no current copy of my data saved.
I ended up having to take my hard drive to Best Buy to the Geek Squad to do a data recovery. It was about $400 and retrieved about 3/4 of my data. As a writer with years of text on my computer, I was heartbroken … as well as just plain broke (!) after this experience.
I learned my lesson and switched back to Carbonite. I bought a new computer before Christmas last year and seamlessly, effortlessly transported all my data from the old computer to the new computer.
Here’s the deal – Carbonite runs in the background and updates your data without your having to think about it, set it, or remember it. I have to many to-dos swirling around in my head that I am grateful for one less thing to think about!
I LOVE Carbonite!