Branding Fit for a Bride: Part Three- Wordpress.org, Bluehost, & StudioPress

{Please note this is not a how-to post. This is my experience. I am not an expert on Wordpress.org, Bluehost, or StudioPress. In fact, quite the contrary! I do include some resources (at the end) that helped me through these applications, but FYI: this is not a tutorial.} After my failed attempt to get a logo and website through Etsy, I decided to do it myself! Yea, that's right! I'll do it myself! How hard can this web design stuff be? I asked around and did a lot of Googling, and found out the Genesis Framework was the best for blogging. Of course, I had no idea what a Genesis Framework was, or how it 'worked' but I would figure it out along the way!

I knew the first step was starting a Wordpress.org account. I've been using Blogger for years, but heard Wordpress was the way to go, and, I knew I couldn't get the Genesis Framework without it. (Even though I still had no idea what that was!) I read that one of my favorite bloggers used Wordpress.org, was "self-hosted" with Bluehost, and designed their own blog with a Genesis theme. I could do that, right? That was the plan.

Blogging-Tips

Wordpress.org vs. Wordpress.com:

The first step was wrapping my brain around the difference between Wordpress.org and Wordpress.com. All I can say is thank God for Google! I figured out .org meant "self-hosted." WordPress.com, on the other hand, is the simpler route- it is a hosting platform. Here's a list of dot-com benefits (from the Wordpress support website):

  • It’s free and super easy to set up
  • All of the technical maintenance work is taken care of — Setup, upgrades, spam, backups, security, etc.
  • Your blog is on hundreds of servers, so it’ll always remain available, even under high traffic
  • Your content is backed up automatically
  • You’ll get extra traffic from being a part of the WordPress.com community
  • You can find like-minded bloggers using search and the read
  • Your dashboard is secure (SSL) making it even safer to log in on shared networks

The problem? You can't upload custom themes (remember that's what this whole series is about- a custom look for Fit for a Bride) and, you can't run advertisements, which I knew I would want to do in the future.

With Wordpress.org you have more flexibility! You can upload themes, advertise, and according to the website, have "complete control to change code if you’re technically minded." Note: IF YOU'RE TECHNICALLY MINDED. I must have missed that part when I was doing my research! I went for it anyway.

Transferring from GoDaddy to Bluehost:

Here's the thing, in order to set up a Wordpress.org account, I had to switch from GoDaddy (where I purchased the Fit for a Bride URL)  to Bluehost (or, well, wait, I guess I didn't have to but at the time I thought I did! Refer to the plan above!) To transfer the domain, I had to go through a series of steps and they were COMPLICATED! Seriously, at one point I saved a document to my computer and named the file "nightmare," because I felt like I was in one! It was like I was in a black hole! The more I did, the more I realized I had to do: In GoDaddy, turn off the "private" registration; find the FTP code; change the name servers! What?? I didn't understand the lingo at. all! (I can see you techies laughing at me now!)

I told my husband it felt like I was searching for the Holy Grail. Dramatic, I know. But clearly, this was not my cup of tea.

Granted, I was pretty happy to leave GoDaddy. I always had difficulty navigating their website. Bluehost's design was much cleaner and more intuitive. They also have a kick-ass customer support team! It's a good thing, too, because eventually, I had to call them. I had done all that I could on my own and somehow ended up with a wonky URL (http://69.195.124.73/~fitforab/about/) Not. cool.

Bluehost customer support is awesome! The guy that helped me was amazed by all I had accomplished on my own (it was obvious I was no expert!) He helped me fix the URL, and finally, finally, I was all set! (Did I mention he showed me how to login? I couldn't even find the login!)

Choosing a Theme:

I felt like I could finally breathe once my site was visible, but it didn't look good: it was just a black header and white background; WAY too basic. That was OK, though, because this was going to be the fun part; the only part I really cared about anyway- the design!

I searched the "premium wordpress themes" on Studiopress (called the "industry standard," as you can see from the website), and they all looked great! I searched and searched until I found this Adorable Theme. Literally!

Adorable Child Theme

Another $80? I could handle that! And if I hated the theme, I'd still have the Genesis Framework underneath to go back on! After all, this was it, right? This was my ticket! A one-time fee; no gimmicks; no drama; a done deal! I think it was about 3 a.m. when I bought the theme, the same night I got my Wordpress.org blog up and running! I quickly downloaded the theme, uploaded it to Wordpress, and then, I became irate.

Customization (or not):

No seriously. I almost threw my computer across the room! I couldn't figure out how to do ANYTHING. I should have given myself a break, I mean, it was 3 a.m. and I was looking at the Wordpress interface for the first time! I should have known there 'd be a learning curve!

Nevertheless, I got even more frustrated the next day when I couldn't figure out how to get into the forum where people asked for help tweaking the template. Then when I got in, I was green with jealous at how other people had customized the site so well! Their sites looked awesome. Mine on the other hand? Totally amateur.

UGH!

Note to self: You are not "technically minded."

I was ready to throw up my hands again, ya'll. After finding the Holy Grail, I still didn't have a pretty website. I was SO discouraged. You're not going to believe what happened next... I hope you'll stay tuned to find out!

***

A few notes about Wordpress vs. Blogger:

It's very intuitive. I felt a little lost at first, but then, as I started to understand what a plugin was, how it worked, I quickly became comfortable managing my blog. Now, I recommend Wordpress over Blogger hands-down.

Some Resources: 

Miss something? Read:

If your blog Wordpress or Blogger?

Do you have a genesis theme?