|Illustration by Ayhan Yildiz • sxc.hu|
I’ve never been one for new year's resolutions. If a change is going to be made, one might as well make it now as wait for some arbitrary date on the calendar. But it just happens that a change I’ve been planning for a while coincides with the turning of that page from December to January.
My website has needed an overhaul for ages, and I have heard from Author Media and tons of other sources that WordPress is the way to go. Since I’m already familiar with WordPress because it’s what New Authors’Fellowship is built on, it seemed like a great idea.
I’ve also been wanting to shift to a different website host, because having my site hosted by AT&T has not been a good experience. For example, I sent the help desk an e-mail asking how to set up WordPress on my site. I was told I couldn’t do that under my current hosting plan. This was not a surprise, because I was on the lowest-cost plan available. But the help desk did not say, as a helpful person would do, “We’ll need to upgrade your plan, which will cost an additional so many dollars per month. Shall I go ahead and do that for you today?” The answer to this question, had it been asked, would have been, “Yes, thank you.”
But in one of many Great Fails, The helpless desk said, “Your plan doesn’t support WordPress. You’ll have to contact the sales department for an upgrade.” So I e-mailed the sales department and asked how much an upgrade would cost.
Three weeks later, I got an e-mail back that said, “Did you ever get that upgrade you were asking about?”
No, because I was never told how much it would cost. At this point my answer was “never mind,” because I’d already decided to switch to a new host.
By the way, when I asked my new host, HostGator, how to set up my account for WordPress, I was given detailed instructions. I got off to an OK start, but when I ran into a snag and e-mailed the help desk again, I was sent another set of directions followed by "or, if you prefer, I can do it for you." To which the answer was, "Yes, thank you," and the job was done quickly.
Unfortunately, I then got hung up on the design.
Coming from a print page design background, I knew what I wanted my website to look like, but not how to make it happen. While with AT&T, I tried several different web-building apps, but none of them were ever as intuitive to use as they claimed, and none were as flexible as InDesign. I mean, using InDesign, I could place a graphic exactly where I want it, and overlay or run around text, and … well, anyway, every other page layout program pales by comparison, and web design apps are just not in the same league.
While I fiddled about on the design end of WordPress, AT&T “upgraded” my website and e-mail services. This “upgrade” produced two e-mail outages within three weeks. If only I had switched to my new host in October, instead of waiting. Oh, well. That’s what I get for being fussy about appearances.
I finally gave myself a deadline and picked up a copy of Launch a WordPress.com Blog In A Day For Dummies, though I've spent more than a day on it. I'm taking advantage of the end-of-year slowdown to migrate my site. I hope to have the shift completed by January 2. After that, articles related to writing, editing, and publishing will appear at kristenstieffel.com. Some of my articles about the writing journey, faith, and publishing will be at New Authors’ Fellowship. I’m going to try increasing the frequency with which I blog about business topics at Central Florida Christian Chamber of Commerce. Anything left over will go here.
I pray your new year will get off to a great start, and that if you have any changes to make, you will make them now, and not delay while waiting for another page to turn.