It’s been about twenty years or so since I had my first web site developed. This was back in the dial up Internet days. I can still hear the dialing and beeping of the modem as it made its connection. The Internet was slow, so most sites weren’t very complex.
The web designer I had at the start could take a week or more to correct one word on my site, and I got billed for it too. So after some time, I made the next logical step: I took over the management of my site myself. Little by little, I learned more about designing a web site. Just enough to get by. I don’t remember the name of the design program I used in the beginning, but it was a WYSIWYG program that allowed me to see the coding as well. Eventually, I moved to Dreamweaver for my design software (before it was owned by Adobe), and I believed that HTML was where I would stay.
But in the last year, I noticed how “dated” my site looked and felt. It wasn’t responsive. It didn’t seem like it delivered the content that it should the way that it should. And as I explored further, I discovered the web sites I found most helpful and appealing were all using the WordPress platform (and I do not mean WordPress.com). I knew I wanted to make the switch—whenever I had the time to learn something about WordPress design. Fortunately for me, a web designer found me early this year and created exactly what I wanted. And my existing web hosting company, Bluehost, made the switch easy too. (I highly recommend this company; they have the best customer service!).
[Tweet “Switching to WordPress was just the start of the fun, IMHO. Enter plugins!”]
I haven’t been at this long enough to do a “My Favorite WordPress Plugins” post yet, but I will do one eventually. I am so grateful for that kind of blog post from others; I’ve read several. I’ve found it lots of fun to try various things, remembering to be cautious and keep backups, of course.
Here are two I will mention now:
- Akismet: This is a must have to get rid of all of the comment spam. It costs $5/month for a single business site, but it is worth every penny. It is amazingly accurate.
- WP Smush It: This is a tool to help optimize graphics, which will speed up a web site.
If you are just getting started as a writer and are planning a web site, I recommend you start with a self-hosted WordPress site. And if you are looking for a way to freshen up your existing site, I encourage you to consider making the move to the WordPress platform. It is easier than you might think.