I’ve been taking advantage of free blogs for a while. I started a travelog Mac blog when I went to New Zealand and Cancun Mexico both in 2008. Apple has since defuncted the iWeb option and I lost what I had written there.
In 2011 I started over with Blogger for The Center Blog. Then I spent a number of years getting very familiar with WordPress – a self-hosted version (see WordPress Self-hosted vs WordPress hosted; also see Michael Hyatt’s How to Launch a Self-hosted WordPress Blog in 20 Minutes or Less.) I liked it and got to know its workings from both the front and back end. By the time I left, the company I had been working for for seven years moved their website home page to their blog page. It was a good move since the content of the blog page, unlike the home page, was updated daily. The change made it so readers always had access to fresh material.
It made sense when I opened Perfectly Well in 2011 for me to look into WordPress as the format for the business website. It also made sense for me to use the free version of WordPress (through WordPress.com). WordPress offers a wide variety of appealing themes. I began trying them – looking to find a ‘fit.’ It took me a while! I never really did get used to the idea that I could change WP themes at will and with abandon although I certainly could. That was an option. I really wanted to settle into a theme that I felt looked good with a format that allowed me to write and show my posts effectively. In the meantime a job change got me to thinking about monetizing my website.
You can’t monetize a WordPress-hosted blog. I had to figure that out. Monetize means you sell something from your website. There are many ways to do that including setting up your own store. I’ve been involved in that process and it does require a bit of technical acumen and some finesse.
I had seen several sites that used Amazon to vend items on their website so I looked at that. I did set Perfectly Well up as an Amazon affiliate.
In December after I realized I had to self-host my blog circumstances also required that I change my ISP! I did that then began looking at self-hosted WordPress themes. I found that the free WP theme I had settled on – Opti from Pro Theme Design – was not available in a self-hosted version. Ugh! I picked up my disappointment and looked around, became familiar with the ins and outs of how to set up a self-hosted WP blog, paid for and installed a few themes but was still longing for the format of the free WP theme I had settled on earlier.
It’s not so very difficult to install a WP theme. You only have to have access to your chosen host server and a means to upload files to that server. After that themes are managed through the WP dashboard. The task takes on dimensions if you want to alter the structure of your blog. This is the reason for purchasing WP themes – most (if not all) of the design work is done for you. Tweaking of colors, headers, fonts, addition of widgets, can all be addressed through the WP dashboard which is a much more accommodating environment than that of a text editor (I use Mac TextMate which I love) or web design application.
In December I sent a chat note to the Pro Theme Design guys asking about their Opti theme – boo-hooing about its not being available in self-hosted format. Ben Gillbanks responded that same day telling me they expected the self-hosted version would be available ‘in the new year.’ I decided to relax with that, forego my searches for a new theme, and keep in touch with them.
On February 6 I received another post from Ben saying the theme would be available on February 18.
On February 18 I received an early-bird purchase notice for the new self-hosted Opti theme. Yay! Sign me up! I received a 20% discount, downloaded the theme and installed it. They did a good job, in fact. I noticed some things in the WP-hosted format that I thought could be changed which actually were in the self-hosted Opti.
It’s refreshing and encouraging when people and their businesses make a representation and follow up on it. I’m not so sure we expect that sort of response these days.
Once again, my hearty thanks to Pro Theme Design and their good response to my WP theme situation. And continued success to them in their offering great WP themes.