Setting up a blog initially is easy.
Assuming we’re talking about a WordPress site here, you pick a major hosting company and they will more than likely have a quick install option for you to set up your WordPress blog. You log-in on the admin page and write your first post.
Then shit gets out of hand! You quickly realize that they have these things called plugins and you can install them to do all kinds of cool things for your blog. This is where you will find tools for social sharing, commenting, cache programs to speed up your site, ad rotators, short-codes… really, the list could go on all day with all of the different options available to bloggers on WordPress.
Next you’ll realize that you don’t have to use the standard theme that is set up for you. There are tons and tons of free (and paid) themes available for you to use. Now you start questioning blog parts like: Do I want one, two, or three columns? Do I want a Header image? Should I have a static front page? Which Widgets should I put in my sidebar? In my Footer? How should I setup my menu bar?
Setting up a Blog just got complicated!
You realize, shortly after installing WordPress, that this is quite an involved project. It can be as simple or complicated as you want, but really… Who doesn’t want the best looking blog on the block?
The problem that I have run into (multiple times over the last two years), is that not everything is compatible. Nothing works exactly like it should. I have blown up my wife’s blog twice in a BIG way and countless minor explosions along the way. If you want to keep trying different WordPress plugins, you need to have a backup of your site (learned that the hard way). You also need to be prepared to go in and edit a little bit of code in files occasionally.
That being said, you don’t necessarily need to know HOW to code, mostly just follow directions. The other catch is that the directions you will follow will hardly ever be included with the plugin you downloaded; it will be a post from a fellow blogger on some other site that you have to track down after you failed in setting up a blog.
Also, just to warn you… the site where you find the directions to fix your problem will be slightly off because, of course, they won’t use the same hosting company as you and something will be in a slightly different location. For this problem, I recommend having your hosting company’s phone number available on speed dial.
Setting up a Blog is my thing.
You may have noticed that this site looks
slightly completely different from just a few days ago even. I installed a new theme, new plugins, new everything just about. You may think I’m slick and did an awesome job (I kind of like the new look myself), but here’s the thing, guys… The reason I did it is because I blew up the blog and cussed a lot and then decided to go a completely different route because, well… because I could!
Andi-Roo wants nothing to do with the technical, setting up a blog side of things. I gladly take that responsibility and then let her yell at me when I blow it up. That’s what I’m good at –
blowing up a blog setting up a blog.
What did I change on this last go around?
It all started because I wanted to set up a CDN (Content Delivery Network). I thought I had figured out an easy way to do it through WP Super Cache plugin. Turns out, it wasn’t as easy as advertised. I had it mostly figured out on the old setup, but then the sidebar disappeared. WTF! Where did the sidebar go? I still have no idea. So then I tried to tweak some other settings and my theme disappeared. All I had was a bear-bones site that you could read, but was not visually appealing in any way. Then my favorite error occurred… I got the 503 “Service Unavailable Error”. This is where my speed dial to my hosting company came in handy. They restored the site to the previous night and all was better. Except, I was still determined and at this point, pretty pissed off at everything. What did I do next? I installed a new theme, new plugins, the works. I had put so much time into trying to figure out the stupid CDN mirroring issue that I felt I needed something to change. So here we are, a new look for The World 4 Realz.
Setting up a Blog – I think I’ll let the professionals do it next time.
I’m pretty happy with the current setup. It’s a lot easier to navigate and the cache program I have installed now seems to be doing an OK job. Andi-Roo and I have wanted to get our site professionally redone for some time now. Currently, I think we are sticking with the look we have until such a time that we can afford a major (professional) revamp.
Now I just need to stop myself from searching for new plugins or reading blog posts about new widgets. To someone who is always looking to make things slightly better, it’s too tempting and the repercussions are too much of a headache.
So, what do you think of our new look? Let me know! I want to hear the good AND the bad.