My Blog

FAQ: WordPress.com vs WordPress.org

November 6, 2015

When the majority of my clients hear “I work with WordPress” they immediately come back with: 

  1. I don’t need a blog 
  2. I don’t want my URL to be  [insertcompanyname].wordpress.com 

Both of these touch on common misconceptions about WordPress, so today I’m going to answer some frequently asked questions, including what is WordPress and why do you use it? Let’s get started… 

So what is WordPress?

WordPress is a Content Management System (often referred to as a “CMS”), which means that it is a platform that offers its users the ability to manage/edit/update the content on their website without knowing any code. Pretty simple, right?

Think of WordPress as the engine of your car, you can build the structure around it, add some paint, make it pretty and fill it with your friends, but the engine is what keeps it running. 

I went to wordpress.com and it looks like I have to pick a theme and my website is going to look like a blog, what’s the deal? 

If WordPress is the engine of your car, WordPress.com is like a base model, no bells and whistles, Honda Civic. It will look like a lot of cars on the road and you won’t be able to upgrade it in any way, but if you’re just looking to get from point A to point B, then it will do the job.

WordPress.com is a very straightforward, free platform that was created for people who want to build a website/blog with a few clicks of a mouse, not knowing any code, and get it online for free. There are few customization options with this service, so your website will look exactly like the template you select, with very little wiggle room. This is where the misconceptions start because with this version, your URL will include “.wordpress.com” and every one of these websites looks very much like a blog. I do not build websites with this version.

So then what do you build? 

If WordPress.com is like a base model Honda Civic, WordPress.org is like a totally custom built car. Every one of these cars will look slightly different, you may want your car to look like a Honda Civic, and that can be done, or you may want your car to look like a spaceship, and that can be done too. The main point of this analogy is to say that WordPress is still the engine of that car, and the engine on both of these versions (WordPress.com vs WordPress.org) is exactly the same, the difference is the ability to customize how it looks and functions in order to make it unique and make it suit your needs perfectly. 

I work with WordPress.org. This version was intended for developers to build/code a website from the ground up, which does require a lot of code. Then, once the building and coding of it is done, the website uses the WordPress content management system, making it easy to edit the content on the website without needing to know any code. In other words – I build the car around the WordPress engine, and then hand you the keys to drive it. 

Why do you use WordPress? 

I use WordPress because my clients want the ability to change the content on their websites, they want to be able to add pages, remove pages, edit images, edit copy, add a blog post and more without having to call me up every day to make the changes for them. The WordPress engine is a very user-friendly platform that gives my clients a lot of control over their website without having to see a single line of code. I use WordPress because it’s powerful, well-supported and has a lot of tools that make the building process more smooth and secure for my clients. 

I hope that answers some of your WordPress questions. Next up, I’ll be tackling What is a WordPress theme and What is the difference between a “custom” theme and a purchased theme? Stay tuned! 

Image via Unsplash

Pitching a New Startup Idea: A Terrifying and Rewarding Adventure

October 22, 2015

Last night I did the unthinkable – against my better judgement and my inner critic, I pitched my (very fresh, very new) startup idea to a room full of strangers. 

Let’s backtrack. Two weeks ago I received a newsletter from Innovation Guelph about the second annual Startup Royale, an event that promotes youth entrepreneurship and friendly competition in a Dragon’s Den style contest awarding seed funding to the top contestants. Reading the newsletter felt a bit like a star-alignment moment because my mind immediately jumped to an idea that I’ve been workshopping (in my mind) for months and I thought: I’m going to pitch it at the contest! 

I don’t know what possessed me to have such blind confidence in an idea I had at that point barely explored, but I set to work getting everything together. My typical approach to something like this is to work on it quietly, keep my head down, do some research, but not share it with others, because heaven-forbid I do poorly and everyone finds out, or I hear the idea is crap and I should toss it out. I knew that that wouldn’t work in this case, so despite every perfectionist bone in my body screaming at me to keep it to myself, I started talking about it to anyone who would listen. I spoke to dozens of people, got amazing feedback, collected really valuable information and felt the power of opening up and sharing with others. 

While I chatted and chatted about the idea, I also had to do some legwork. I researched the market, I built cash flow worksheets, I calculated my profit margins and the amount of product I’d have to sell to make it a success. I also built a booth for the occasion because someone mentioned that visuals really help in the competition. 

With some good data and strong numbers, I had all the answers I needed to fill out an application to compete. I was overflowing with ideas and strategies and plans and future growth opportunities, so narrowing down my answers to make them succinct and impactful actually turned out to be quite difficult. 

After all was said and done, I was invited to compete in the contest. I practiced my pitch for days, I revised and edited and tweaked and got feedback from other entrepreneurs and got it to the point that I walked into that competition feeling incredibly confident. 

I would love to end this story by saying: and then I won ALL THE SEED FUNDING, but the truth is I didn’t even make it to the second round.

[womp womp]

Here’s the thing — and brace yourself, it’s going to feel like the end of a Full House episode with beautiful lessons learned and wonderful hopes for the future — here we go: though I didn’t walk away with funding from the competition, I walked away with so many valuable lessons learned. I learned about the importance of opening up and sharing your ideas. I learned that setting a public deadline for yourself is truly the most motivating way to get an idea rolling. I met some amazing people and competed against some incredible and brilliant young entrepreneurs. And most importantly, I built something from the ground up in a very short amount of time and now have very strong momentum on that idea. All in all, totally worth it. Totally terrifying, but totally worth it. 

I went to bed last night exhausted but restless, with a mind racing around planning the future of this startup and my new next steps. My idea is not going anywhere. 

The reason I’m sharing this story? I hope some brilliant mind stumbles across it and gets inspired to share their beautiful idea and build something amazing. And if that’s too much to ask, I hope to inspire even just one person to open up about something, anything that’s been on their mind. If I can do it, so can you, friends. 

fullhouse

Images via Unsplash and giphy

Friday Favourites

October 9, 2015

Happy Friday! What are your plans for the weekend? I’ll be spending some family time up north for the Canadian Thanksgiving, hopefully getting some nice shots of the Fall leaves and stuffing my face with turkey and mashed potatoes. 

Here are some links from around the web that I loved this week:

Have a wonderful weekend! xo

Image source: Unsplash

5 Tips for Staying Productive While Working Remotely

October 1, 2015

I spent the summer doing a lot of remote work. It’s what most people dream about when they envision the freelance lifestyle – not being tied to a desk or any specific location. Yes, I won’t deny that it is an amazing perk to working for yourself or running an online business, but it’s probably not what you’re picturing. Being mobile doesn’t mean doing less work. It also doesn’t mean working while sipping cocktails on the beach. 

Below are the five things I’ve learned and now implement religiously in order to make the “working remotely” dream a reality (spoiler alert – you still have to do the work): 

Tip 1: Remove yourself from any fun

It may be tempting to plant yourself in the middle of the action with your laptop to “get work done” surrounded by your family and friends, but let’s be real, no one can do real work in that environment. My first tip is to remove yourself from it. For obvious reasons, I would hope… 

Tip 2: Find a productive environment

Find somewhere you’ll actually be productive. Whether it be a coffee shop or staying at home while your friends go exploring, find a quiet, distraction-free environment so you can be as efficient as possible.

Tip 3: Maintain office hours

You may decide to work fewer hours, or maybe you’ll decide to work more hours while you travel, either way it’s good practice to decide what those “office hours” will be in advance and try to stick to them. That way you know when it’s time to work and you’ll feel good about packing it in when your work day ends. 

Tip 4: Decide in advance if there will be days you will take as vacation

If you are able to take time off while traveling, then you should absolutely go for it, but make sure to plan that in advance (let clients know, set an out of office, etc). It will help you relax and totally unplug on any vacation you worked hard for. 

Tip 5: Let your audience know you’re working 

It’s important that your social network and your clients know that you’re still working. As you share pics of the all the fun you’re having, be sure you’re also sharing business or work updates. You don’t want to miss out on an opportunity because potential clients think you’re on vacation all the time.

Do you have any tips to add to this? I’m still trying to master the art of work & travel, so input is encouraged :) 

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