Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Tech Help Needed!

Any WordPress gurus out there? Or just general know-it-alls when it comes to interneting?

I need some guidance... I'm considering streamlining my internet presence and taking this blog up a notch. The idea I'm tossing around is a single website for the blog and my personal info. This would mean taking down the Dynamod website (which I was never fond of anyway) and closing this blog in lieu of a new one. After switching the Races in Places site from Blogger to a WordPress.com blog, I've come to love WordPress's interface much better than Blogger. However, I'm not keen on the majority of their free themes which has lead me to explore the WordPress.org option, but opened up a huge canful of questions.

I've searched forums and FAQs but cannot seem to find the info I need. So I thought I would pose the question to you, dear reader.

What I'd like to know is this:
  • If using WordPress.org, is the blog posting interface the same as WordPress.com?
  • Can I use a theme like this one on WordPress.com?
  • If I want to use any theme not listed as an "available theme" by WordPress.com, does this mean I need a WordPress.org account instead?
  • If the above answer is "yes," how much new info do I need to learn to operate a WP.org blog? (I already spend too much of my composing time doing auxillary interneting, I don't really want to increase this!)
  • I noticed that some of the hosters through WP.org, such as Blue Host offer email inboxes. How exactly does this work?
  • How do I set up my current sites (Dynamod & Blogger) to redirect to the new site?
And finally, can someone just tell me what my best option is for how to do the following:
  • Have a blog with multiple pages so that one page is the blog itself, the others are pages containing info about me as a composer (bio, etc) and the big band.
  • I want to host audio, video, pictures, polls & external (non-WP) widgets
  • I want general customization as far as font, color schemes, banner image, and basic layout (positioning of widgets, etc) are concerned
  • I don't have the budget to pay some to do this and this new venture shouldn't cost more than what I am currently paying for my Dynamod, which is $15/mon.
Anyone out there know the answers and feel like having a discussion with me??? If not... can anyone direct me to a thorough resource, be it book, website, forum, or person?

THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

7 comments:

Dillie-O said...

Hey there!!!

I'm not 100% sure if this is what you're looking for, but I'm hosting three programs, some discussion forums, and a blog for news through Community Server, which does allow for full theming, but gives you some basic options for customization. They have an express edition for free.

You would need to setup a hosting account, and I've been using GoDaddy for about 9 months now and haven't had any major issues. I believe they have some plans that go for about $7 a month, if you can pay a year in advance.

The only downside to that is that you'd need to purchase a domain name, if you don't already have one. There are some .com ones out there still and I think it'll run you about $15 a year.

Regardless, I'd love to help you brainstorm some ideas. Just drop me a line: spatterson [at] dillieodigital dot net

Dillie-O said...

Oh yeah! I forgot, if you wanted to see my site in action, go to http://ygotoolkit.dillieodigital.net

You can click on the link that says "The Tools" to see how groups work and how maybe you'd want to do a page for the band and so on.

DJA said...

Hi Kelly,

Typepad does basically everything on your wishlist (customizable theme & layout, unlimited hosting, pages as well as posts, easy-to-use interface, custom URL, etc) and it's $15/mo or $150/year if you pay up front. You won't be able to redirect your Bottomless Cup URL since Blogspot owns that, but assuming you own the URL "http://www.kellyfentonjazz.com," you can make that the main URL for your TypePad blog.

John said...

I'll try to address most of them:

1) Admin interface is pretty similar between .COM/.ORG

2) You need to have a premium account at .COM to use themes that aren't in their default package.

3) See 2

4) Hosting a .ORG blog is really really easy, especially since WPv2.7. One-click installs and upgrades make it pretty simple.

5) Blue Host is one of many that allow a streamlined one-click install of WordPress. There are a couple of user groups in Portland that recommend Blue Host for that reason. I personally use DowntownHost, which has the same sort of thing.

6) To redirect your dynamod site, you'll need to find out what registrar has your domain. You can do a "whois" lookup on your domain name to find out and have it redirect. Posting a link to the new site on blogger is probably the best you'll get.

7) Wordpress makes it really easy to set up different pages/categories/etc

8) There are a whole host of WP plugins to use for this sort of thing. Keep in mind that plugins are much more usable on .ORG setups

9) Depending on the theme you choose, fairly easy to customize things like this

10) BlueHost or DowntownHost are both pretty cheap. Something like $7 a month should get you what you need.

Good luck!

Pablo Javier Frizan said...

This post is great. Being not your intention, it helps me a lot with the comments... By the way, have you answer my questions? I don't remember, really...

D0nnaTr0y said...

Hi guys! Thanks so much for your comments and help! I've decided to try out TypePad's 14 day trial. We'll see how it goes and I'll keep everyone updated. I do appreciate the help!

@DJA- thanks for the tip!

@John- thank you- that did clear up a bunch of my questions.

@dillie-o I checked out your site and think it's a little too advanced for me, lol! But thanks for offering your help!

@pablo- glad to have helped you too! what question are you referring to? The Roraschach theme? I have not started one yet... I'm finishing up with some old stuff (you'll hear more about that soon) but it's definitely on the list for the future!

Pablo Javier Frizan said...

The questions of the interview... So I can post a note written in english for the first time. A note that you can read without any problem... Of course, the interview will be like a talk more than something extremely formal...