This blog replaces the previous deswalsh.com website, which was really not much more than a placeholder for my deswalsh.com domain name, with some links to some other sites of mine, such as my Thinking Home Business blog, where I’ve been posting several times a week for nine months now.
During that time, in my self-appointed role as ‘blogging evangelist’, I’ve been telling business owners that blogging technology has evolved to a point where, for many businesses and maybe for all, a blog which is well designed and which serves as or is integrated with a content management system (CRM) can replace the traditional ’static’ website.
My own deswalsh.com site was not much of an advertisement for that line of thinking!
In my own defence, I was a bit conflicted in how to handle the situation, mainly because I have several business interests and needed to work out a more up to date strategic plan to accommodate those various interests. The path of least resistance seemed to be to just leave the very basic site here, with links to the Thinking Home Business blog and a few other sites.
In the meantime, I was doing a lot of work on clarifying my business vision and mission. In doing that I was helped immensely by a business development course I’ve just completed with the leading American business coach, California-based Richard Reardon. In the weekly coaching sessions with Richard and the group, and through the exercises we were doing between sessions, I was able to get a much clearer picture of what I wanted my business to be, how I wanted it to look and what I wanted it to achieve.
And as part of that process, last week I decided the time had come to replace the static deswalsh.com website with a blog.
And of course I would blog about that process. This is not the usual process of establishing a website, where the business owner briefs the designer, the designer does a comprehensive site and gets the business owner’s approval (and payment!) before the site is launched.
An easy way to proceed would have been to set up a new account with BlogHarbor or another blog service.
I am firmly of the view that, for a non-techie newbie in this field, especially for a time-strapped business owner wanting to move with relative ease into blogging, it is in fact a very smart move to use a service like Blogware, which is available through resellers like my favourite, BlogHarbor, or Typepad or Squarespace.
But maybe, I thought, it’s time to test myself on the open source product, WordPress. After all, WordPress is well-regarded and there is no dollar cost in installing it. Some of my blogging colleagues on various forums have claimed that WordPress is the best of platforms for blogging, especially if you use Fantastico to install it, is easy to set up and run. Now, from what I read online and from my own endeavours with WordPress, I remain of the view that for non technical people like me it has a significant learning curve and some definite challenges, not least in terms of the time you need to spend working out how to achieve what you want. And yes, my web hosting service, Hosting Bay, does have Fantastico.
Nevertheless, I’ve been tantalised for some time by the idea of learning how I might go in implementing a WordPress site properly as an effective business blogging site.
One side benefit of doing that could be that others who are contemplating implementing WordPress could be helped by reading my posts on the process and linking to sites I find helpful, just as people have in the past found helpful my posts on Thinking Home Business about my experiences with various blogging platforms and especially on my reasons for recommending BlogHarbor.
So a couple of days ago, I took the plunge, deleted my old deswalsh.com website and installed a WordPress blog in its place.
I did not have to do that from scratch, although in retrospect that might not have been such a bad idea!
I’d had a test WordPress blog set up on the same server as deswalsh.com so it was not a huge task to just change the folders. It had one test entry in it, whose deletion, I decided, would not be a substantive loss to the blogosphere. So I deleted that entry, then proceeded to move the blog files. It was a time-consuming task, because with the software I was using it seemed that I couldn’t just move files between folders, as I would on my own computer. What I did – and technically more savvy people than I will probably tell me there was an easier way – was to download all the WordPress files onto my computer, delete the versions, and folders, on the server, then re-create the folders and upload the files.
One of the challenges I’ve had is which of the available WordPress ‘themes’ to use. I’ve found some good information on this and will post separately on the subject. In the meantime, I’m using the ‘Pool’ theme, which has some of the features I want. An aspect of the challenge on themes is that I want to harmonise the design of the blog site with my offline business design. That design is working quite well and the phrase ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ comes to mind.