When Do You Need A Web Developer?
“Help, I need a web developer, Peter Problogger!”
“Oh come on Holly Hobbyblogger I thought you were doing great by yourself with WordPress.org”
“Right. Now my blog won’t save.”
“No, sometimes it saves.”
“Hmmm, I’m not a techy geek. Maybe you need a web developer.”
“That’s what I thought!”
Overwhelmed with your free blog?
Blogging was my hobby, my retirement experiment. Starting with WordPress.com was free and easy, right?
My experiment taught me that blogging has more facets than picking up a pen and paper and scribbling a few notes. When I started, I
knew thought I knew quite a few programs, but blogging is interactive. More things can go wrong than just writing an essay or an article on Word or Google Docs.
In WordPress.com I immediately had trouble with my spam folder. My friends ended in it. I even ended there. I got banned by WordPress.com once and completely shut down.
ALL MY POSTS – SIX MONTHS OF BLOGGING GONE!
Talk about frantic! A simple hobby blogger, not selling anything, I had done nothing wrong. My blogging friends emailed me. “Where’s your blog?”
I made an appeal to WordPress.com and waited. Over 24 hours. There was NO support person!
I upgraded to a premium theme and the Business Upgrade just to get the chat feature, to get myself out of trouble when I needed it. Sometimes it worked. It was expensive.
And it was WordPress.com, the easy do-it-yourself in 5 minutes blog. Eighty-five percent of people reported last year that they were happy with WordPress. That’s a huge approval rating. WordPress/Automattic employs 500 people to help you. Last year they had 166,530 live chats with people. Either they did not have many problems, or they did not supply much help. What was your experience last year?
I still have a personal blog and a premium theme, but not a Business Upgrade, which was about $300. year, the last time I went to renew. They have a lot of new features to appeal to business and hobby bloggers who want to make money with WordPress.com. but those are hard to come by. You need 25,000 views per month to qualify.
I don’t have than many.
Eventually, I switched to WordPress.org so I wouldn’t lose my blog, and I could accept advertisements and sponsors of my own.
Switched and Still Overwhelmed? Maybe You Need a Web Developer
About a year later after I started blogging with WordPress.com, our state social studies organization needed to update its professional website. The website was also a database with all our member information and income. It was complicated.
We needed a web developer. We hired a company called ARRC out of Perris, CA to redesign our website.
They fixed our website and trained several of us. When we had problems, we called them on the phone, and they talked us through the problems. ALWAYS! It was like having a technology person on staff. The person we dealt with was Daniel Renteria. He responded promptly and persisted until he had an answer. When I worked as the executive director of that organization, he was my crutch. Daniel’s not paying me for saying this, by the way.
At the same time, our local social studies organization had a WordPress.org blog designed for free by a company on the east coast. They had offered to redesign our state organization’s blog too. That was generous but the state council board of directors was leery of free.
We should have been more cautious at the local level. But we were not. The company created a WordPress.org blog and customized it to us.
Cool! Free design work. Word Press., a platform we knew. The company hosted the blog for us.
It was generous of them, and time-consuming for both of us. After a year, our local blog expert moved and I was the person with the most blogging experience left on the team! I had to manage the blog. After a year nothing worked! I tried changing things and front page pieces disappeared.
Our Organization’s Techy Problems
As much as I appreciate WordPress.org, it is more work than WordPress.com because so many people are designing for it. Your design is only as good as the guarantee of the theme designers. And if you want to customize, you have to pay for it or know how to do it.
First, Plugins need upgrading. Sometimes the designer of the WordPress compatible plugin goes AWOL, one web designer told me. So does the plugin. Tweets quit tweeting. Squirrels take over your website and start digging holes in it.
The second problem was not a WordPress.org issue, but a lot of small organizations have this problem. When someone else creates your site and hosts it, you, the user does not have access to it unless they give it to you.
We did not know what we were doing. Rotating pictures became outdated. No one had access to change it. EXCEPT for the company who designed it for free. After a while the generous company downsized. The person who designed our website no longer worked there.
Oh NO! No one else knew about OUR website. I was a contributor, but not an administrator.
Even if I had the knowledge, I had no power to make changes.
Unsolved WordPress.Org Website Mysteries
Your hands probably are not as tied as ours were, but you may have unsolved mysteries like Holly Hobbyblogger.
Having your self-hosted blog solves the hosting problem. Many companies offer this service. I use Blue Host, and you can click the widget on my sidebar and check them out. The price is actually only $3.95. They have a better rate now. I get a tiny commission if you do.
But the plugin and design issues remain. As blog owners, we need to keep learning.
Advice Is Overwhelming!
The last, and maybe the biggest problem I have with a self-hosted blog are the sheer number of options and advice. Bloggers get and need a lot of advice. Bloggers get coaches, take classes, and buy plugins and programs to improve their blogs, books, and pictures.
Most of the reading I do online is not reading hobby blogger’s websites. It’s how to solve my blogging problems. Everyone has different answers and they all cost money.
Which programs or plugins do you buy?
Blogging, like any worthwhile hobby, has cost me.
Want some advice?
The Solution to Technical Website Woes
For our non-profit issues, we called our favorite web developer, Daniel Renteria, at ARRC. He charged us an affordable fee. To have his help with whatever question we threw at him, gave us peace of mind. We were happy to pay him. The motto at ARRC is that they create long-term relationships. That’s true. I have known Daniel, never seen him, but talked to him for about five years. He helps me promptly and never makes me feel dumb.
What Does a Hobby Blogger Need?
“WordPress now powers over 27% of the web. It has one of the largest contributor communities in the world.” Many WordPress.org sites are not big businesses. They are hobby bloggers. Authors, travelers, storytellers, musicians, sports enthusiasts, quilters, fitness coaches want easy websites. They want to blog about their lives.
They might sell products that relate to their hobby. Or they want to get sponsors or support the products they use by becoming affiliates. But they may not have the technical skills to manage a self-hosted website.
Those were my goals. I felt overwhelmed with Always Write’s technical issues and all the advice pro bloggers suggested. Frustrated, I called my trusted website developer, Daniel.
Daniel has now reworked Always Write. He installed and explained what plugins worked best. He told me which plugins I could safely remove. He created a custom theme for flexibility. He answered my questions about Google Analysis question by fixing it. He made my Mail Chimp forms automatic, and made sure all my forms worked. My website saves my posts again. I have a new logo.
There are still bugs. However, I have confidence again. I know that if I need something, Daniel will help me. If I fail, he will do it for me.
But if you venture past WordPress.com to expand your website and need some expert advice, I recommend Daniel Renteria and the ARRC.
You know you need a web developer when your SELF-HOSTED website stops functioning correctly, and you can’t fix it. Employing Daniel as my web developer gave me an automatic technical website coach. He gave me peace of mind.
Cost wise it is less expensive in the long run than paying for WP support, buying or upgrading packages you don’t need, or hiring coaches.
Thank you, Daniel, for your many years of help.
If you are frustrated with your website, give ARRC a click.
Always Write wants this blog to be as interesting and useful as it can possibly be for new and hobby bloggers, writers and photographers. We want to give you the best personal support blog on the planet. Will you help us do that? Just click here right now, answer a few quick questions, and then come back to read today’s post. It won’t take you more than six minutes. I would really, really appreciate it. Marsha Ingrao Administrator, Always Write