I use WordPress and Blogspot for different blogs. I started with blogger but wanted a self-hosted blog so did my next blog on WordPress.
My mother, out of the blue, got Gullian Barret Syndrome. She is a 72-year-old woman who went from playing tennis 4 days a week to being in the hospital for over a month in excruciating pain that took weeks to diagnose. My sister was sending these very lengthy email updates every few days to all her friends. I had heard of blogs but did not really know what they were. I was wondering if this would be a good way to tell my mother’s story to a wide array of people. I know it is a rare disease but it seemed like everyone we told said they knew someone who had been diagnosed with this but they knew nothing of it. I love to write and figured I needed a way to channel my frustration in a productive way, so voila, I started a blog.
This process all started in December 2008.
I went to Dictionary.com to see what it had to say.
Definition of blog: an online diary; a personal chronological log of thoughts published on a Web page; also called Weblog.
Example: Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.
Then I found a site that teaches basic blogging for free then more advanced blogging for a fee. I would refer you to it but I just spent the last 15 min looking for it and it is no longer there. I only did the free part because I was itching to start. Patience is not my virtue.
I started with Google’s blogger. It was so easy. I loved it and was instantly hooked.
I went to the library and took out a ton of books. One book was how to use Google’s blogspot, Publishing a blog with Blogger by Elizabeth Castro. This was a waste of time for me because blogspot is so easy and self-explanatory it needs no reference. There are thousands of templates to choose from so you can look original plus many widgets to choose from. I think blogger is a good choice for many.
It might of saved me a lot of time had I stuck with Blogger. What I mean by that is, I have spent so much time trying to educate myself on how to be self-hosted. I am currently using the self hosted WordPress. A large amount of time I get caught up with the technical details and spend days not writing anything. This was not my original goal. My original goal after I put together my mothers blog was to write enough that someday I could compile it into a book, which has been my goal for about 8 years now. I also wanted to take the many articles I started and ideas on articles I jotted down short notes on and be forced to finish them.
I have very little computer knowledge. When I was in high school no one had a computer. I started learning them in college and I must say my “D” in that class did not look good on my report card. My teacher had squeaky shoes and a monotone voice. I mostly slept that period. I got my first computer in 2000. No not a $2000 dollar computer; in the year 2000. No way you say, yes way.
So here I am, at the age of 48,learning CMS, HTML, SEO, FTP, C-panel, URL, RSS feeds, SSL, MySQL, IP addresses, tags, chiclet, ping, troll, meta data and my favorite-WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get).
The way I am learning this is thru online tutorials, library books, calling my host and asking them, emailing the theme creators and pluggin creators.
Recently I started a meetup about WordPress. Meetup.com is a very good site to get connected with others from your area that have similar aspirations and get together in person. Their main goal is connecting people by Internet to get people off the Internet to meet in person. It is a very well organized site and easy to use.
What I really want is my own personal blog expert sitting next to me everyday. I have a question and they instantly answer it. I have a problem and they instantly fix it. One on one, just them and me. I have been accused of being a dreamer but hey, why not. You know how many of my unrealistic dreams have actually come true? Too many to mention here today. Back to my story….
I plunged head into a hosted blog by WordPress.org. I wanted to have just my web page name on the URL. Instead of it saying gypsychant.blogspot.com or gypsychant.wordpress.com, I wanted it to just say gypsychant.com. WordPress recommended a few host sites, I went with Bluhost.com. I have only good things to say about them. They have been more than patient with me. I effortlessly got my domain name for free when I signed up with them. When I signed up with a secure SSL site I got two more free domain names. They helped me install WordPress onto my page. Their web server has only been down once in the 5 months I have been with them. They fixed it in a few hours.
I read an article about domain names telling me how important securing your domain with the ending .com, .org, .net, .info, so someone doesn’t try to ride your site. My reaction was to buy up a bunch more domain names. I went to GoDaddy.com and bought what appeared to be bargains. It was a little tricky moving them to my host, some kind of time period thing that I obviously still do not understand. The people there were helpfull and nice but it felt a bit commercial-meaning an oversell.
I have four domain names that are active. Three are blogs and one I use as a Web site with a blog. They are all listed on the sidebar of this blog. WordPress is a great Web engine (CMS). Now I just need to be great at figuring it all out.
I must say all the plugins are a little overwhelming; there are thousands. The choice for templates are endless and I have spent days just narrowing them down. I now have my favorites and even have a pros and cons list. Another post.
I find the support for WordPress is difficult. If I have a question there is no one to call, you can only write into their Forum and wait for an answer. Then you hope you can understand the answer. It is not WordPress itself that answers but users like you and me. Bluehost also makes it clear they only answer questions about their hosting, no WordPress questions. So I have looked elsewhere for answers. There are a few video tutorials that I like. Common Craft is my favorite as far as breaking things down so my brain can digest it. Not an easy task. Educhalk also has free wordpress tutorials. Lynda.com is a wealth of info for a fee of $25/month. Money my son and I feel is well worth it, he is learning filming and editing. You can watch as much as you want in a month’s time. They have endless amounts to watch.
I bought the book WordPress for Dummies. Another good book is Buildin a WordPress blog people want to read by Scott McNulty, a little more expensive but worth it. McNulty’s book was published Nov 2008 which is the latest WordPress book I could find.
This site helped me blog.2createawebsite.com. Lisa, the founder, has a great amount of info so I would definitely check out this page and read the comments, 94 as of today.
To wrap it all up, I really like the endless options with WordPress. It feels all grown up and smart even though it is relatively new. Kind of like getting to play with an iPhone or TeVo. It is a fun and useful state-of-the-art publishing platform.