How Do You Know When You Need a Web Developer?

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.”

“Ever.”

“No, sometimes it saves.”

“Hmmm, I’m not a techy geek. Maybe you need a web developer.”

“That’s what I thought!”

web developer
A web developer solves techy problems

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.

web developer
Our CCSS site on ARRC’s 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.

Perfect, right?

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.

Does yours?

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.

web developer

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.

Summary

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.

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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[/box]

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How Hobby Bloggers Solve Blogging Problems

Attention Hobby Bloggers!

Usually, hobby bloggers solve blogging problems themselves on a daily basis depending on their skill level and on how complex the problems are.

Hobby bloggers, don’t read this if you can solve all your internet and technical issues with your free blogging platform, WordPress.com, Blogger, etc.!

Hobby Bloggers Solve Blogging Problems

The Problem With Spam

(Five years ago)

I wasbeginning to feel jinxed as I struggled technologically to blog. First I had my problems just learning the ropes, then I started jumping unannounced and uninvited into people’s spam boxes. That all came to a head when WordPress.com shut me down for cutting and pasting in a spam comment that had a spammy Gravatar into one of my posts.

Yikes, I sailed to the end of the world and fell off the internet safety web.

Note: (The solution – appeal to WordPress.com. Fortunately, they reinstated my blog.)

Landing In Spam

(a few days later five years ago)

Considering my spam troubles, I was almost afraid to write comments. Tonight I had no comments pending, and four comments sat in MY SPAM file.  Guess what? Three of the four SPAM comments were MINE! hahaha. Good think I checked.

Moral of that story – Check your Spam file from time to time.

Second, when I set my WordPress.com account up I linked it to MY Facebook account so my posts would share to my timeline automatically.  I also manage a Facebook account for San Joaquin Valley Council for the Social Studies, which also had a personal Facebook account.

Note: (Organizations should NOT have personal FB accounts. I deleted the account this year even though it had about 500 followers. Create a page or group for organizations or both.)

Somehow all my posts from my WordPress.com website were published on that account as well. So I pressed x on that Facebook account under the Sharing Setting on my WordPress.com account. I was surprised to discovered that I had 198 followers on Facebook who showed up as statistics on this website. I have no idea how that happened!!!

Note: (WP.com lists the number of FB followers you have if you publish to your personal account or page whether or not those friends visit your site.)

The Cost of Solving Blog Problems on my Free WordPress.com Site

We live in the country where internet service is at a premium.

So I thought you might want to know what happened because of my disaster.  (My website was removed from the internet.)

Vince likes to keep me happy, and blogging makes me happy. Instead of making me wait until Wildblue fills my gigabyte food bowl again, he bought me two gigabytes of service to tide me until the next service month.  We answered emails and comments together for a half hour, and he checked the gigabyte meter.  Without downloading anything, we had used one gigabyte of data.

Hobby Bloggers Solve Blogging ProblemsWe hadn’t pulled up any pictures, visited any outside websites.  So we went to his office, and I quickly published the post I worked on last night from 12:00 – 2:40 a.m using the company’s cheap unlimited data plan.

Gigabytes of data are free out in the country where we live and unlimited from 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m. local time.  Then I answered emails in the evening for about forty-five minutes.  Poof, the other gigabyte disappeared into our internet provider’s ravenous cyber tummy.

At that point, I got messages like, “Your email has not been sent.”

So Vince called Wildblue and insisted that a few emails do not create even megabytes of information, let alone gigabytes.  One gigabyte equals 1,000 megabytes. Even photos can be done in megabytes, and I avoided photos.  I sent my Foothill Magazine friend a link to my post instead of sending photos.  The technical support person agreed with V, and credited our account for the 2 gigabytes, and gave us unlimited gigabytes that should go into effect by TOMORROW NIGHT until they figure out our problem.

Meanwhile, I waited until midnight to start writing my posts for the rest of the week, and It took until about 12:20 for even Wildblue’s normal unlimited gigabytes to kick in.  I couldn’t get on even with the modem directly connected to my computer.  Vince pressed some magic buttons, and after about 20 minutes he was able to pull up my screen.

To Wildblue’s credit, they helped us.  Thank y’all for being so patient and visiting me when I haven’t been able to visit you back for about the last week or more.

Internet service is part of the cost of both professional and hobby blogging. Solving problems ate up my internet data.

You Won’t Like This Problem

In addition to writing every day I try to read a fair number of blogs, and I was in the habit of pressing the “like” button because I couldn’t comment after I WordPress.com banned me from the blogosphere. So, I tried pressing “Like.” Even though my blog had been restored, I couldn’t like anyone’s work.  So If you thought I didn’t like you, you might have been wrong.

Note: (That problem cleared up on its own, and I do not remember why or how.)

Most of the problems I had when I started blogging in 2012 had no overt solutions. Vampires roamed the cyberworld freely creating havoc in the night. Poltergeists ravaged blogs while we slept. Then just as mysteriously elves picked up the pieces and reassembled your blog so they were again usable. c

There was no logic in how a blog fell into disrepair and how it cleared up again.

Conclusion

Are WordPress.com blogs still vulnerable today? I still keep my account active so that I can speak to WordPress.com issues as well as WordPress.org. I have not experienced any problems recently, but I have five years of experience. I’m not pressing my blog to do what it can not do. I have much of my material saved and reworked and republished in this account. I am not so vulnerable.

There is a touch of that mystery that still surrounds the way blogs work. When they get too overwhelming, I have the help of a web developer, Daniel Renteria, who corrects my wrongs and straightens out my website to keep it functioning. I’ll be introducing him to you soon.

There are millions of hobby bloggers using WordPress.com. WordPress.com users published more than 595 million posts and more than 457 million comments in 2016.

What problems do you have blogging? Where do you turn for answers? How can Always Write meet your challenges and be a better blog?

Why You Should Worry When Sex Gratis Visits Your Website

How to Eat Meat Pies at Sovereign Hill in Ballarat

Friday Food Challenge  Australia Trip #8

Aussie Meat Pies

Mrs. ET and I headed across the plains of Victoria from Melbourne, AU to Ballarat by train. Seventy-five minutes later, we coasted into the station surveying the historic town of Ballarat. Her niece and sister-in-law picked us up and the adventures began.

Aussie Meat Pies

The main interest was Sovereign Hill. Replicating the Australian Gold Rush in the 1850s, reenactors peppered Sovereign Hill with authenticity. There were miners, majors, mothers, and bakers making meat pies.

Aussie meat pie“Have you ever had a meat pie?” Carol asked.

“Of course,” I answered like an Aussie know-it-all.

Only I did not know that the Aussie definition of a meat pie was so different than an American Meat Pie.

Carol could not wait to get her hands on an authentic Sovereign sausage roll, and told me I had to eat a meat pie or my life would not be complete.

“Where are the carrots, peas, and potatoes?”

“What part of meat pie didn’t you get, Marsha?”

“This looks like hamburger, not roast beef.”

“It’s minced meat pie. Try it.”

Remembering back to Christmas more than 50 years ago, I recalled my great-grandmother’s minced meat pie. It was a sweet spicy pie filled with chewy brown stuff called “mincemeat.” I did not think I wanted to try that again.

“Is it beef?”

“Yes, but minced meat can be beef, turkey, pork or any meat. It’s minced MEAT, Marsha.” (They sure are dense in the US, I could hear her thinking.)

I explained about mincemeat as best as my 60-year old memory of it would allow.

“It’s meat, Marsha. It’s not sweet.” Carol urged.

Aussie Meat Pie
Aussie Meat Pie

I gave in. I opened it and sure enough, it looked like hamburger.

“You’re not supposed to open it,” Carol admonished me sternly. “Put the top back on and put tomato sauce on it.”

“It’s too hot. I’ll burn my mouth!”

Oh no, I thought, catsup. Now it sounds like Mom’s meatloaf. That was awful! I can’t do this. What am I going to do now?

“You’re ruining it!” Carol said. “You’ve got to put tomato sauce on it!” She sounded frantic for me to do it right to get the full effect of the Aussie meat pie. I was frantic, too.

“Carol, I can’t put catsup on the top. How am I going to eat it? I’ll have catsup all over my hands and face and who knows what else.”

Carol was disgusted with me. I could tell by her sigh. “It’s not catsup. It’s tomato sauce anyway. You’re not doing it the Aussie (pronounced AUZZY) way. But go ahead JUST TRY IT!”

Gingerly I took a bite without catsup. It was different. I could not identify the flavor, though. Basically, it tasted somewhat like hamburger. The pie crust was flaky. The meat was meaty. I was hungry. The whole thing was gone in five minutes.

Thank you, Carol, Kate, Mandy, and Paul for such wonderful day at Sovereign Hill. I’ll have more to share about our amazing experiences in later posts.

Remembering Ballarat at Home

When I got home, I thought I would make some Aussie meat pies for Vince. I made my own pie crust, which was a mistake because I did not have eggs, and I like eggs and vinegar in my pie crust.

Rolling it out I soon realized that I did not make enough pie crust for two pies. I made another crust. Piecing it all together, I pinched it around the top and thought it looked good OK.

For the meat filling, I followed the recipe below – sort of.

http://www.taste.com.au/recipes/8984/aussie+meat+pies

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large brown onion, finely chopped
  • 500g lean beef mince
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour
  • 3/4 cup Campbell’s Real Stock Beef
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Vegemite
  • 2 sheets frozen shortcrust pastry, thawed
  • 2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 egg, beaten

Since I did not have real stock beef, I used brown gravy mix. I did not use enough water. Also, I was missing Vegemite. OH WELL! Carol gave me some of that on a piece of bread at her house. It’s nutritious.

Proudly I baked the pies. Neither Vince nor I remembered to take a before picture. Vince asked about catsup to put on top.

“What’s the date on that bottle of catsup?” Vince asked as I retrieved the nearly empty bottle from the refrigerator.

“Um, January 2013. It’s fine.”

He did not use catsup either.

Here is Vince’s meat pie after picture.

meat pie
Marsha’s version of meat pie

I am not sure whether or not he liked it. Maybe if I had put vegemite in it.

It’s been in the refrigerator several days now. Carol would not let things like this go to waste. She was a fabulous cook and so efficient. I don’t think Carol would ever substitute things in a recipe. I wonder if I will ever learn?

Have you ever experimented before, and been a little sorry about the results?

Related Posts on Australia

Upcoming Food Blogger Conference

2017 International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento
2017 International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento

2017 International Food Blogger Conference in Sacramento 

 

Hilarious Book – Do Not Wash Hands in Plates

Thank you to  Happy Meerkatreviews for permission to publish your review on Always Write.

“The Happpymeerkatreviews is a website/blog filled with book reviews (plus other bookish stuff), poetry written by Cat and a selection of interesting and different articles (also written by Cat).”

Have you written a book? You can ask Cat to review your book.

Wash Hands
Do Not Wash Hands In Plates

 Please check out her review submission details by going to the Contact/Request Review page.

Here’s another book review for #ComedyBookWeek.  Thank you to Barb Taub for the free copy I downloaded of this book ‘Do Not Wash Hands In Plates’ by Barb Taub.  This is a great and very funny travel memoir, here is my review:

Once upon a time, years ago, three best friends Barb, Janine, and Jaya decided to leave the US from three separate locations and meet in Europe. Thirty-five years later they decided to recreate the feat by all meeting in India from three different locations around the world. After successfully meeting the three of them set off on an amazing Indian adventure filled with elephants, temples and lots and lots of food!

Do Not Wash Hands in Plates is a hilarious travel memoir. Right from the introduction I couldn’t help but laugh and I knew this book would keep me entertained. The book isn’t very long but packs a lot into its pages. Each chapter has a funny title which makes you want to read on. Unlike some travel memoirs that focus more on the places tourists visit, this book is firmly all about the experience the three friends have.

Journeying through India they visit many locations such as the Taj Mahal and there are some lovely pictures of these monuments but it’s not this I really enjoyed reading. What I like most about this book is actually the story of traveling between the different locations and the other things they got up to such as their trip to the marketplace, the interesting rules of queuing in India and the copious amount of food on offer that just has to be eaten!

The book has lots of great pictures with great captions next to them and you even find out where the title of the book comes from. There is nothing offensive in this book unless you consider an account of Delhi belly as offensive. Overall I really like this book, the writing style is so easy to read and Barb Taub has you laughing at every turn of the page. The only downside to this book is the short length, I would have gladly read through a travel memoir twice maybe even three times as long! Apart from having me laughing this book has taught me a little about India too and has actually made me want to visit and try parathas!  A great read for anyone interested in a funny travel memoir.

Rating: 5/5

Review published on amazon UK, click here

Review published on Goodreads, click here

Author’s website: http://barbtaub.com/

Book Description:

Once upon the Land Before Time (or at least before mobile phones), my two best friends and I decided to leave the US from separate locations and meet up in Europe. To everyone’s shock, Janine, Jaya and I pulled it off—mostly because we went to Luxembourg, a country so small the odds in favor of chance street encounters were almost 100%, but also because Jaya was carrying the BS, a blue suitcase so enormous it took up approximately a third of the country’s square footage and was visible on satellite images. We couldn’t possibly miss.

It took over thirty-five years before—in a combination of optimism and failing memories— we recklessly decided to repeat this feat. Hey, we reasoned, now we’ve got smartphones, better credit ratings, wheeled suitcases, medical insurance, and the ability to drink legally. Just to make it more interesting, this time we chose to meet in India, where the odds against the three of us actually linking up were approximately a bazillion to bupkis.

This is the story of three women eating our way across India in search of adventure, elephants, temples, palaces, western toilets, monkeys, the perfect paratha…and the kindness of Indian strangers.

My next #ComedyBookWeek review will be on the 22nd July, until then why not check out the #ComedyBookWeek Website to see what else is happening!

Author Bio from Amazon

Wash Hands
Author Barb Taub

In a former life before children in need of luxuries like food and college, Barb Taub wrote a humor column for several Midwest newspapers. When Child #4 joined her research staff, she veered toward the dark side and a career in human resources. Now an expat living in one corner of a castle with her prince-of-a-guy and the world’s most spoiled AussieDog, she enjoys travel, translating from British to American, and collaborating with her daughter Hannah on the Null City series.

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Additional Books By Barb Taub

Don’t Touch (Null City Book 2)

 Tales from Null City (From the World of Null City Book 3)

Round Trip Fare (Null City Book 4)

Thursday Doors: Painted Ladies

Featured Guest Blogger K.L. Allendoerfer

K.L is a neuroscientist, educator, geocacher, Unitarian-Universalist, amateur violinist, and parent. She has always been fascinated by how people’s brains learn, and especially why this process is easier and more fun for some brains than others. This led her to get a PhD in Neuroscience, work in biotech, and then become a science educator and writer. She is from the San Francisco Bay Area.

Painted Ladies

Most people seem to know these houses because they were in a show that I never watched. I found out about them through geocaching. My family and I went into San Francisco for New Year’s Day and one of our first stops was this virtual geocache.

Virtual caches are a special kind of geocache that doesn’t involve finding an actual container. Instead, you go to the coordinates posted on the site and answer some questions about what you find there, and maybe post a picture of yourself at the location.

In this case, the cache site was in Alamo Square Park, across from the houses but affording a good view (Alamo Square Park is also, I learned, the place where the family in the show I never watched had a picnic in the opening credits).

To read the rest of the article click the link: Thursday Doors: Painted Ladies. Thank you, K. L. Allendoerfer for allowing me to publish your post.

For more of Norm’s 2.0 posts on Doors click the link.

For additional Photo Challenges, click the link.