New Beginnings with WordPress
I have spent a lot of time since August 2008 learning how to work with WordPress as a blogging platrom as wel as using it as a CMS (Content Management System). I have to say I absolutely love this publishing platform! It is so easy to work with! I have always wanted to build websites, but programming has never been something I’ve been able to pick up and learn, whether it be due to lack of time, and also because I tend to be more creative and less mathematical. I discovered in university that to major in Computer Science, one needs to take many math-related and physics-related courses, and admittedly, these two have never been my strength. This, in turn, ruled out the opportunity to build websites, or at least anything that would look professional.
Let me provide a little bit of a background to work with before I start to rave about how awesome WordPress is:
Ever since first using the Internet in 1995, I have been fascinated by the ability to reach people across the globe, to be able to chat with them, to be able to e-mail a letter that arrives within minutes, even seconds. One has to admit that we have truly had a technology boom over the course of the past 15 years or so, and it is evident in many areas, not only on the Internet. I remember my dad’s first cell phone, which looks like a dinosaur paper weight compared to the new line of slim phones that have become more like mini-computers. I remember doing my elementary school projects using WordPerfect, when the operating system was merely DOS, and all I had to work with was a blue screen and very basic-looking text editor that doesn’t even compare to what we have today. There are so many more examples, I could probably write an entire post on these alone, but I digress…
Having grown up around computers (my dad used to work for IBM), I have always loved technology and gadgets, but I also have an artistic side – my first love actually lies in music. I grew up playing several instruments, and in my later teenage year, I began to compose instrumental music. As I got older, I wanted to be able to share my compositions in a more public way through a website, but again, not having been able to handle the maths and sciences that computer science required by the time I went to university, I definitely did not have programming in my professional future.
I did actually find a solution to my dilemma through a site that offered pre-made templates, so www.tathiana.com was born in 2003. My middle name is Tathiana, and I figured it would be more catchy to use my middle name compared to my first name as my “artist” name. My site stayed there for about 5 years, evolving maybe a couple of times as I played around with a few different templates until I found one I liked, but in 2008, my friend Frances (from www.ultimatebizassistant.com, my “sister” site since we will be working together at times) introduced me to the world of WordPress, and me being a techie/gadget girl, I had to check it out for myself. I was really impressed by her website, and it inspired me to want to make my own site better, so as I researched more and more, the more I wanted to try to set up my own website. One of the areas my old host was lacking was in the ability to fully customize your site, and it was beginning to frustrate me. Frances referred me to BlueHost as a really good hosting company, and as I researched other companies, I came to agree that BlueHost really was the way to go! You really get the most for your money through them – unlimited bandwidth, unlimited storage, they include one free domain, you can add as many domains as you like to your account for $10 per year, and you can have up to 2500 e-mail addresses, all for $6.95 per month, which is a lot less than the $20 per month I was paying for my old host. The only thing I didn’t necessarily like is the fact that you do have to pay up-front for a 3 year period to get this lower price, but after comparing many other hosts, included GoDaddy (which costs more when you add in what they charge for e-mail addresses, not to mention I wouldn’t be able to support them after seeing their commercials that offend me as a woman – that’s a whole different story on its own), BlueHost was definitely the way to go for me!
I wanted to be able to explore the world of WordPress, though, so I registered a new domain and decided to transfer my tathiana.com domain after I was more comfortable working with with it. I read through the WordPress site as well as other sites (I would highly recommend Lorelle on WordPress as well), and started playing around. The first thing I was impressed with was how easy it was to build a site, and how much of a variety of free “themes” were available online (WordPress terminology – WordPress themes are really templates). I downloaded a few and started experimenting, and before long, I felt I was ready to make the jump – I transferred my tathiana.com domain over to BlueHost and away I went! I will mention that transferring a domain is definitely a painless process, for which I was thankful. My old host was sorry to see me go, but I explained that it was a huge cost savings for me, and they weren’t able to offer anything that compared to BlueHost‘s offering. The other selling feature was how easy a WordPress install is – they offer a tool called SimpleScripts that makes it so that within a few clicks, your new wordpress site is up and running (in its basic/start-up form).
After working on my tathiana.com site for short period of time and seeing the amount of customization that was now possible through this wonderful platform, and how I didn’t need to know any kind of programming whatsoever (though I have learned to tweak css, which are cascading style sheets), I was even more impressed! I had so much more freedom with my site than I’ve ever had before, and I still didn’t know how to program, so for me it was almost like a dream come true! I can say now that it’s become a very addictive activity – building sites through WordPress, so I got myself a few more domains, including one that is basically my legal name “.com” – ursulacomeau.com. I did this, because in exploring the world of WordPress, I came to learn about blogs and what they were. I’d heard the term “blog” before, but had never fully understood what a blog was until this point.
After getting that domain, and seeing how easy it is to set up website, and researching more “professional” themes, I decided that I wanted to take it a step further and marry my love of WordPress to the idea of having my own home business. I probably still have quite a bit to learn, but I’ve been practicing diligently, reading constantly, and learning non-stop as I go. I’m pretty sure there are many out there who are like I was when I wanted to be able to set up an easy-to-maintain yet customizable website and/or blog, but don’t know how to go about doing it. There are lots of free blog and website options online, but when you want to personalize it with your own domain, things can get a little more complicated, and unfortunately, not everyone is technically knowledgeable enough to set up their own site. I understand this probably better than most, since my full time “day” job involves providing technical support over the phone, and so the idea to create a domain for my own business was born.
UC Web Creations has gone through some morphing – originally “Dolphin Media Studio”, I decided I needed to rebrand myself with something more catchy, and after I realized I could have a play-on-words with my initials (UC vs. You See), I came up with the new name for my business.
I am the type of person who enjoys learning new things, and am in a constant state of learning. I definitely don’t claim to know it all, though – I still have even more learning to do, but I feel that I am ready to start helping others who are not as technically inclined, to set up their own websites and/or blogs. I have come to realize that even if one wants to have a more traditional website that offers products and/or services, blogging can be a very important part of the marketing of the site itself, and in my opinion, WordPress is the perfect platform to marry those two concepts.
As you can see from this site, I have not fully formed my business yet, but I am on my way to doing so! At the moment, I’m working on setting up several sites during my spare time to use as my portfolio to show what I can do. I’ve already helped develop a blog for my friend Courtney, and I help also maintain the backend for her so that she can concentrate on writing. Her blog is at KindaSassy.com, and I actually tweaked a free theme that works very well for her. I also helped her design her header (using my Photoshop skills of course), and tried to set it up according to her requirements – she just wanted something simple to start with, and I have to say I’m proud of how it’s turned out, and have been enjoying seeing it evolve as time goes on. I have a few more friends that I’ll be helping set up sites as well before my business really takes off, but I want to have as much of a solid grasp as possible of these new tools at my fingertips before charging anyone for my services.
I’ve recently set up my ursulacomeau.com site, which is my personal blog, and I’ve been tweaking my tathiana.com site. I’ve been joking with my husband that lately I feel like I am leading a double-life – I am a “Technical Support Specialist” by day, and a “WordPress guru” by night! I can honestly say that I have been sleeping less, but I find this stuff so fun that I don’t really notice it – and I love being able to do something that I enjoy! Isn’t that what we all want to be able to do?
I truly do feel like I am at a new beginning in my life, in the aspect of starting up a home business on the side, and using tools that I find are fun and keep my interest, not to mention the challenges they bring! I love to be challenged, and I face them head on with the intent of overcoming the “bumps” at all costs. If you’re reading this, and you are in need of a website, perhaps for your own business that you’re trying to start but don’t really know how to go about doing it, or even just your own blog with your own domain, please don’t hesitate to contact me! This is, after all, exactly what I’m looking to be able to do! I love helping others, and I love dealing with technology, and this is the perfect way for me to be able to do both at the same time! Having an online presence is extremely important in today’s day and age, and not having one means that you’re not reaching as many people as you could! I truly believe that today, if you are a small business or organization, it is imperative to have a website up and running to provide information publicly in an easily accessible manner. It provides more credibility to your products and/or services, but even if you’re not a company and you’re just a person who wants to be heard, or you’d like to easily share information with friends, or even set up a personalized site to easily share photos with friends and family, it’s not as hard as it may seem – WordPress can make it happen for you!
Since I do not have full details listed yet on what I plan on offering, I will mention that my initial basic ideas are to provide both a service to start up a website and/or blog (it can be both in one, and in my opinion, ideally should be both in one if it’s business-related), and also to offer a maintenance service where I will not only set up the website, but will also maintain it on a regular basis. Sometime down the road, I may also include further services, such as image design and editing services, as well as something to do with photography. I am really excited about this new venture, and am looking forward to seeing the growth of UC Web Creations!