Conception in progress – HELP!

OK all you bloggers out there! This is a cry for help!

Following lots of comments about my series ‘Tales from the Head’s Office’ I’m going to branch out & give it its own blog!! I’m hoping to generate interest from parents,  teachers, school leaders & educationalists. If it goes well, I might even get some invites to visit schools & meet people!

What I need from you – oh wonderful group of talented, experienced, virtual virtuosos – are some hints & tips. I have set out some questions below so if you can answer  them that would be great. I would also really value your stories of what not to do as well as recommendations.

  • Should I buy a domain name or stay with WordPress.com?
  • What are the advantages of self hosting?
  • Which hosts do you recommend?
  • How good is the service from WordPress for self hosting?
  • Which themes would you recommend for variety & ease of use?
  • Are you someone who helps folk like me?

You have held my hand through the birth of ‘What Will Julia Do Next?’ so I hope you are happy to help with the conception of the new blog. Feel free to DM me for email address if you prefer!

I know you won’t let me down so:

THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!

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32 comments

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  • Lots of good information there Julia 🙂 Good luck with it all x

  • Good luck! I found all that advice up there a bit overwhelming, what a lot of clever people! However you decide to go about it I think it is a fabulous idea and I am behind you all the way! xxx

  • I would buy your own domain so you at least have it when you’re ready to self-host. This is what I have done and am hoping to go it on my own in the next few months. Stay tuned!

  • Hi Julia, there’s a nice guy named Tim Gary who’s currently offering a free 30 minute tech call. If you pop across to his site you see the details.

    Not sure if this will help but sometimes it’s nice to talk directly to someone.

    http://www.mindcue.com/free-tech-hotline-calls

    Dave

  • Hiya

    Sorry for incredibly slow reply…here are my answers!

    Should I buy a domain name or stay with WordPress.com?
    In my view, get the domain name, and get it hosted. WordPress.com is fine, but if you are looking for interest from a much wider audience, then domain name is the way to go. There may well be a middle way coming soon for people who don’t want to go self-hosted, but want the perks. Take a look here: http://mashable.com/2010/07/30/wpengine/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+Mashable+(Mashable)&utm_content=Twitter

    What are the advantages of self hosting?
    You get the domain name, you own the content.

    Which hosts do you recommend?
    I use Just host, but there are other good ones. I like the look of GoDaddy as well.

    How good is the service from WordPress for self hosting? Not sure, sorry!

    Which themes would you recommend for variety & ease of use? I really like WooThemes. They give a lot of flexibility and look very professional. You can get a few that give you a ‘homepage’ – giving your site a good feel.

    Are you someone who helps folk like me?
    If you need anything else, then next time I promise I will be speedier!

  • Ok! I think you should buy the site and go self-hosting. I recommend UK2.net (if you click on ad on my site I get a referral fee…but least I’m being up front about it!) because they’re straight forward and include Joomla, Fantastico and WordPress for easy installation. They also include backups whereas Bluehost (the other host I’d reccommend) do not.

    There are a wealth of options for themes out there. I’ve recently built Gappy’ Tales site http://www.gappytales.com for her. Yes there are costs involved but believe me when I say it is not straight forward.

    Having your own branded site is far better for your SEO and online branding.

    Email me if you need any more advice,

    Cheers Vx

  • Goodness I have no idea on the self hosting side of things. I have a blogger blog on which I purchased the domain name and I have a wordpress blog that I bought the domain for too. Not sure there’s much in it actually, but if you are comfortable with wordpress (which I’m not) then stick with it. My experience tells me not to mess with the dark arts and get an expert to sort it for you. Would def be worth the small fee in order to get something you can use and that looks brilliant.

    It’s a fantastic idea Julia, you are such a clever lady. Looking forward to seeing its ‘birth’! xxx

  • itsasmallworldafterallfamily

    I haven’t got anything to add to what the others have said, other than, great idea! I shall look forward to seeing the finished article x

  • Hi there – I’m probably going to sa the same as others but here goes anyway!

    Should I buy a domain name or stay with WordPress.com?
    ANSWER – Definitely buy your own. It’ll make finding your site so much easier and (as others have said) it’s not expensive.

    What are the advantages of self hosting?
    ANSWER – You’re in control. The modern control panels you get nowadays make the whole thing very easy and you never run up against brick walls like you do in a hosted environment. If you want to do it, you can find out how and do it. Themes, plug-ins, pages -it’s all available unrestricted.

    Which hosts do you recommend?
    ANSWER – I’m with http://www.icteachers.co.uk because they are teachers (or used to be) are very nice people, have a brilliant control panel system, with one-click set up for all sorts of things like WordPress blogs and will help you as much or as little as you like. Oh and also they are nice and cheap.

    How good is the service from WordPress for self hosting?
    ANSWER – well, as I say, if you went with ICTeachers, it’s a one-click set up and WordPress is constantly being updated by fantastic people working for the public good. It’s always getting better – there are a million helpful people out there who will be happy to help – and it’s free!

    Which themes would you recommend for variety & ease of use?
    ANSWER – as said above, you just need to hunt around the web and choose one you like – there are hundreds of free ones so keep looking until you find one!

    Are you someone who helps folk like me?
    ANSWER – absolutely. Anything you want and anything I can do I’d be more than happy – assuming I know more than you which is definitely not certain!!

    Take a look at http://www.mulryne.com and see what I have done with ICTeachers and WordPress – with very little problem… 🙂

  • My advice would be:

    1. Buy a domain and hosting in one, it’s cheaper than buying two. Self-hosting isn’t difficult, any more than uploading a photo to Facebook. It’s just putting a file on a server. Bluehost gets good reports, I use 123-reg, which is fine. Most hosts are okay. The things to look at when choosing hosting are:

    – does the host offer a 1-click install of WordPress? So with 123-reg, I buy a domain, click one button and it installs WordPress for me. All I then need to do is upload the theme (very simple) and my site’s working.

    – Ensure the hosting provider includes things like the latest versions of php and SQL – these are server-side apps that will be necessary for some things you might want to add to your site and if you don’t have them, moving is a faff you don’t want to face.

    – does the host offer free technical support in the UK? Nothing more frustrating than a site going down at 5pm Friday and not being able to speak to anyone until Monday morning

    With themes, there are so many that I’d recommend just looking at other sites and seeing what you like. Thesis is very simple to use and adaptable, and because it’s paid for (it costs £10 or so) you have access to support when things don’t work, which is invaluable.

    HTH.

    Sally

  • My advice would be:

    1. Buy a domain and hosting in one, it’s cheaper than buying two. Self-hosting isn’t difficult, any more than uploading a photo to Facebook. It’s just putting a file on a server. Bluehost gets good reports, I use 123-reg, which is fine. Most hosts are okay. The things to look at when choosing hosting are:

    – does the host offer a 1-click install of WordPress? So with 123-reg, I buy a domain, click one button and it installs WordPress for me. All I then need to do is upload the theme (very simple) and my site’s working.

    – Ensure the hosting provider includes things like the latest versions of php and SQL – these are server-side apps that will be necessary for some things you might want to add to your site and if you don’t have them, moving is a faff you don’t want to face.

    – does the host offer free technical support in the UK? Nothing more frustrating than a site going down at 5pm Friday and not being able to speak to anyone until Monday morning.

  • Hi Julia

    Certainly buy a domain and host! You’ll be able to add html to posts and make good use of tools like Voicethread, Embedit.in, and other wonderful web2.0 tools as I seem to recall you won’t be able to add html coding to posts with a .com WordPress.

    As far as themes go, you’ll just have to experiment over a week and find one you like the feel of. I prefer a column at each side to host widgets as I like to know where everyone has visited from.

    You know where we all are Julia should you need help, just ask! I’m excited for you. We all love a nice new project to get our teeth into!

    Go for it – under one condition, keep us informed!!!!! 😉

    Good luck!!

  • It sounds to be like you’ve got a 2 step approach there Jfb57. nothing like a stepped approach to minimise risk ;<)

  • Paula

    I don’t think there’s a lot more to add from my email… You might be thinking that a self hosted blog would add more of a professional tone if you intend to use it to get business, and it might, but you’d have to make sure it paid for itself – a shoddy website is going to drive business away for sure.

    My recommendation would still be to stick with WP.com for now, and make the decision to transfer to self-hosted if it went the way you wanted it to. I don’t know much about hosts – I know that Yuri (Urbanvox) does it though, so he’d be someone to talk to perhaps?

    Good luck with it all lovely friend – you’ve got so much to offer, I really hope it all works out for you.

    Px

  • Whoop!! Whoop!! You know what I think!! Love it – go Julia!!

  • What a great idea! I’d definitely go with buying your own domain (they’re not expensive), as your new blog sounds like it could grow into something quite big and this would help with ‘brand identity’. I’m afraid I can’t offer any advice on the technical side (other than I’ve heard WordPress.org is good and also free) but as a parent, the concept definitely sounds like something I’d be interested in following! Good luck! Helen

  • Buy the domain name. Then even if you use hosted wordpress (free), you have the same name and links if you ever decide to go hosted.
    (Purchase from godaddy.com look online for coupons as well)

    Advantages of self hosting are the ability to advertise, plus do a bit more with widgets and stuff.

    Disadvatages-it is not as simple to do and you need to know a bit more or have someone who will help you or you may go nuts.

    If you self host-chances are like most of us you will use wordpress but now it will be wordpress.org not wordpress.com

    I personally unless you want to advertise straight away and have someone to help you with the web bit would buy the name and stay on hosted wordpress (what you have now)

    If you decide to go to self hosted either vix or I can probably recommend something to you.

    I haven’t redone my site again (even though I bought thesis theme) because have not figured out how to do all I want and quotes I got to do everything I wanted were astronomical.

    Good luck.

  • i’m sorry i can’t help you. i am a blogging novice.
    But i just had to leave a comment to say – hip hip hooray! what a grand idea.

    x

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