Sending Up the Online/Freelancer/Blogger Batsignal

“If you need help bark like a dog.”
“That’s stupid. If I need help I’ll shout help.”
― George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings

Friends, readers, country-minions, lend me your thoughts!

One of my big goals this year is to upgrade this blog into a site. A simple one perhaps, but a site nonetheless. It’s served me well for nigh on seven years now (clutches self a bit to realize that) and it’s overdue some maintenance and love. I’ve been studying up on this for months now, probably closer to a year, but I still feel out of my depth and recently I realized that I’ve neglected a potentially killer source of expertise on this: you guys!

So tell me, have you made the leap from a .wordpress or .blogspot to a full on .com domain or known someone who has? How did you make decisions about hosting and other concerns? Was design an issue for you, and if so how did you solve them? Did you hire a brilliant friend or professional to help you transition or did you do it yourself? Any good founts of knowledge I should know about?

Direct me, kittens.

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5 thoughts on “Sending Up the Online/Freelancer/Blogger Batsignal”

  1. My (very neglected) blog is powered by WordPress, but has it’s own domain name. Not sure if that’s what you’re looking for, but it makes it very easy to manage. There are *tons* of free WordPress themes, some that emphasize more of the “website” look and others that emphasize more of the “blog” look. When I want to update, I log into WordPress like usual. Jason bought the domain name through Go Daddy for $10 (I think that lasts for one or two years before we have to renew). He uses Bluehost to actually host the site which is like $5/month. As far as I understand, setting it up like this is easy. Then again, Jason is a computer super genius, so his definition of “easy” may not be the same for me or you. 😉

    1. Ooh, thanks for the input. And yes, I suspect Jason’s version of easy is not mine. Regardless, I plan to be stubborn about learning!

  2. My blog is just that: a blog. My professional website, however, has the whole shebang. While I did not set all of it up myself (I received generous aid from my husband, who is of the technical persuasion) I had a hand in most aspects of the process.

    Here are the names of the services / products we use:
    I ” bought”‘ (leased for ten years, really) a domain name through Hexonet. I own a .com and it was quite cheap. The site is hosted through Rackspace, a service that rents out virtual machines that you can use as a webserver (<== this I had no part in whatsoever and if you have no support you may want to look for an easier alternative, such as what follows). A prior website I owned was first hosted through GoDaddy (I had cobbled together some very awful looking html layout) and I later transferred the hosting to Weebly, which gives moderately decent WYSIWYG website building (while still leasing the domain name through Go Daddy). For running a blog it was awful at the time, but maybe they've improved since I last used them.

    Back to the current website: For the content of the website, I was recommended Jekyll, which generates your website (structure) for you. You can choose to use Jekyll with a theme (there are several available which you can use freely) which creates a lay-out for you. You can also make your own if you are good at that sort of thing. For generating content on your website you will need a text editor (I use Textwrangler) and an FTP client to 'push' your changes out to the hosting server. I use Cyberduck as an FTP client. As to the actual typing of words: Jekyll works with Markdown, an easy way to mark lay-out in text to be converted into html. If you want to see what Markdown looks like, you can play aroudn with this and see if it works for you: http://www.ctrlshift.net/project/markdowneditor/

    I am not sure if I can tell you much more in-depth stuff is it has been a while since it was all set up and there were certainly technical intricacies that I have never fully grasped. Still, maybe this will set you on the right path. Best of luck!

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