It feels like it is all coming together this year. Our wine business, our Etsy shop, growing our new website, purchase of our own restoration home, learning French, learning Duck. Yup, it all seems to be taking off for us. And me, although a tad overwhelmed, I say ~ ‘Bring it on!’
So Brand New Year meant it was time to do Brand New Website and give it more of a raison d’être and focus. I started working on the new site in January, end of January if truly honest. But, honestly, it feels like longer. What a process! Such a right of passage I have to pass it along.
The new website has been on the back burner for about a year, lurking. Quietly reminding me at various stages I had to move from having ‘wordpress’ in my web address to just my own address. (For those of you who may not have noticed, don’t tell me!)
There was a lot of research to do, as this was going to be a financial commitment, and when you have 9 mouths to feed, even if they are little ones, you take the commitment seriously.
I know you are asking~ Why is it important to have my own website address (www.pumpjackpiddlewick.com)? After all I had done alright before, hadn’t I? Very true, Google still found me, as did followers. I was getting posts out. Yup, all good. But.
I realised I had reached a point where I wanted to grow the site, do more to incorporate my shop items, and… make money from it. To do the latter especially, it is often a requirement that you have your own website url. Also it looks, and feels, more professional. However, most importantly, I wouldn’t have as many constraints on what I wanted my new website to do for me.
WordPress vs well, WordPress
I had started my original blog website on WordPress.com, simply because I was familiar with it in building sites for others. It’s easy to use (mostly), good help info (thank goodness), and free (perfect!). Of course, there are a lot of other platforms out there. So, I looked around. Then I ended up back at WordPress. Except this time WordPress.org.
What’s the difference? WordPress.com is actually great, but hasn’t quite the freedom as .org. A freedom to change things as you wish, add lots of cool stuff, and even occasionally code. (I leave most of that to my resident genius, Pumpjack. Yeah!)
I also chose WordPress again because it would be so, so, so much easier to transfer my old website to my new website. Yup, they had me by the… well, you get the idea. If I could have asked Pumpjack to work full time for me, maybe I would have chosen somewhere else. But, I don’t think so. So, keep that in mind. (Advice Warning) If you are going to set up a new website, one that you hope to grow one day, spend the time deciding who you like best before you even begin.
New Website, now what?
In consequence of deciding, it opened the door to a deluge of other questions, decisions and planning. Who should host my new website? Should I host in USA or closer to home? Which type of theme do I want, e-commerce or blog, or both?
I could spend a hole blog post, or 2 , just on deciding on the theme. Do I just have people sign up to the blog posts or offer a newsletter? If the latter, who offers the best methods? Linkages, growing your traffic… oh my.
You simply end up being buried under it all. So much advice, so much (paid for?) expertise. I can’t begin to tell you how many reviews of all of these areas I read.
A non-geeky synopsis of Who’s Who
I’m not going to go into all the detail here. If there is interest, I will get more geeky on you in another post, but then again… maybe not. There’s just so much more fun things to do and write about. Instead, I will put it in a nutshell:
Original Blog Website builder: WordPress.com (free, lots and lots of information out there for help, lovely theme designs, but the word ‘wordpress’ will be in your url)
Current Blog Website builder: WordPress.org (still more lovely themes, lots of help info, and more widgets ~I love widgets~ and coding options.)
Website Host: Siteground (not expensive, one off cost, excellent, fast chat help, also only one I found to offer option on hosting location.)
Host location: Europe (kind of makes sense based in France, but there is not the same amount of people/traffic as in the US.)
Theme: WPHoot’s Brigsby, e-commerce and blog. (I like it, but has some limitations I have had to work around. Personal help is good, but a bit slow.)
Favourite Widget: Yoast. (It helps with SEO [Search Engine Optimasation] of your site as you write posts, etc. Good tips. I have found it makes a difference to increasing traffic.)
Sign-ups: I chose to keep it simple and offer only the option to sign up to my receive my latest blog posts – via widget. (Scroll to the bottom of this page if you wish to sign up.)
Linkages/Growing Your Traffic: Sumo (supposed to be able to combine everything into one place – but their branding on my page got to me ~ removed if I upgraded, but was way, way too costly). I ditched and then re-instated for the social media buttons that come in on the left of my posts. Still not sure about this one, and will continue to review.) In fact, I prefer…
Social Media Promotions: The majority of my traffic comes from Pinterest, so I design my page graphics accordingly (using Canva). I then use Tailwind to schedule my promotions (I love that I can do this one hour a week and yet promotions go on 24/7, and at optimum times). This has worked well for me, enough that I actually moved from the free to the paid version, and since then went on to become an affiliate* as I really rate their product.
I get some interest from Twitter (though personally I rarely use), and I found Buffer works great for scheduling tweets. I have stuck with the free version (limited to 10 scheduled tweets) as I just don’t tweet that much.
Facebook I set up my own business page, but have found no tools worth using. Rather, I use the post scheduler for when I want posts to show or repost.
Feel free to ask a question if there is something specific about any of the above in the comments below.
And… Welcome! Now, visit our website and have a good look around! I put a lot of work into it.
See you soon! À bientôt!
David & Alycea
aka Pumpjack & Piddlewick
If you have read through to the end here, I can tell you, all the above are my own thoughts, findings and recommendations. Other than Tailwind, I am not ‘affiliated’ to any of the above, but irrespective of affiliations or not, we try to keep it honest and real here at Pumpjack & Piddlewick. That’s just the sort of people we are.
(If you would like to read more about our Affiliates, visit our Nourishing Pumpjack & Piddlewick page.)
If you are new to Pumpjack & Piddlewick, please do have a browse of our tales (or in the case of our animals, that would be tails). If you would like a simple synopsis, check out our round up write ups of 2017 and 2018. Happy Visiting.