My not-so-secret blogging weapon – Updated!

By 10 Comments 4 min read 646 views
Groundhog at the Computer
This is not Joel.

If you’re having technical trouble with your blog, have you thought about hiring a hiring a blog technical support person?

True confessions time: I don’t do every bit of the work on my blogs.

Sure, I write posts, re-size photos, hunt up stories and videos, update plug-ins, back up the blog – all the day2day stuff that WordPress makes easy once you get used to using it.

As for the behind-the scenes, under-the-hood tech stuff, the “alphabet soup,” like FTP, HTML, CSS?

Fugeddabouddit! I email Joel, the Blog Tech Guy.

Disclaimer time — My links to Joel’s website aren’t affiliate links. I don’t get money or anything but good vibes from recommending him if you hire him and he helps you. Now, back to our story …

Update time: Alas, I’m also looking for “a new Joel.” He left the entrepreneurial sector for the corporate sector. Bad news for us – well, me – good news for him and the lucky company. Good luck, Joel! That said, enjoy the rest of the article, which still offers good information.

If you want to cut costs and work with WordPress yourself, hiring a blog tech person is a great alternative to a web designer.

Granted, I do know how to do some of that stuff. It’s not pretty. My ability to code HTML doesn’t even rise to the See Spot Run level

How I got here from there

I took both of Yaro Starak’s blogging courses, the now-defunct Blog Mastermind and the early version of “Become a Blogger” which he now teaches with Gideon Shalwick and BM alumnus Leslie Samuel.

From the early days when I started BM, Yaro kept telling us not to spend too much time setting up our blogs, that we should outsource.

I remember thinking, “What’s the point of learning how to do this stuff if we pay someone to do the work?” Besides, I wanted to be able to do that stuff myself so I could save money. So, I went the do-it-yourself route for a while.

I spent some time dizzy from the spiral of the learning curve. I realized why people used to call learning a computer program via trial-and-error “hacking.”

Anyway, I gave up and emailed Joel, who also answers questions in Yaro’s blog teaching forums.

What takes me hours, even days, takes Joel twenty minutes tops. (Okay. I didn’t time him, but he’s fast.) He even got The Horsey Set Net out of a jam when I screwed things up with a plug-in I’d installed.  I’d scrambled the code somehow. Oops.

See what I mean? You might as well get the tech right the first time.

That’s why he set up this site in its current incarnation, even though I could have just deployed Fantastico from my web host’s control panel … I can see your eyes glazing. 🙂

How Joel helped with this site

Originally, I’d used a website template for my author website here, but I couldn’t update or customize the site without doing FTP (file transfer protocol) or fiddling with the code, both of which give me the shakes and heartburn.

For the first three years of its existence, I couldn’t even figure out how to add a link here on this blog to The Horsey Set Net.

WordPress, a blogging platform, makes updating a website easy for Digital Doofuses like me.

“Maybe I don’t want to use your guy, Rhonda?”

No problem. Other blog tech people are out there. Ask around. Most writers I know just hire a designer or ask a tech-savvy relative. I don’t know many others who use a blog tech freelancer instead of a designer.

I know a guy who used to periodically offer a free blog setup for new blogs, but he’s shifted his business more toward writing, so I think he’s moved on. I don’t even see his blog set-up package anymore. Oh, well. C’est la vie.

Back in my blogger skool days, in addition to Joel, my teacher Yaro recommended finding freelancers at elance or Hire My Mom. I also see a new site ODesk. I don’t know anything about it, but it looks promising.

“Hire someone? I can’t even afford the gopher in the photo!”

Well, time is a commodity, too. WordPress and the other blogging platforms offer both text and video tutorials. Afterward, you’ll have a new skill.

Realize going in that there could be blood, sweat, tears, toil and swearing, but you’ll feel mighty afterward.

Also, keep in mind that the best thing you can do when you feel stuck is to walk away from the keyboard for a while. (See the above photo. 😉 )

Besides, the more you know how to do, the farther your dollar will stretch when you finally throw in the mouse and email Joel. 😉

Do you have a blog support person to recommend? Or want to give your web designer a shoutout? Or just have a question or comment? Feel free to comment below. Thanks!



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  • Marian Lanouette
    January 3, 2013

    You do more than me, Rhonda. I write the blog which is part of my website. If I want changes, I have a great webguy I call. The creator or my site. I love, Steve.

    • Rhonda Lane
      January 3, 2013

      Thanks, Marian. I think I might be a control freak. 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and saying “hello.”

  • Claire Murray
    January 4, 2013

    Good thinking her Rhonda. May I point out that one other very good reason for learning some of this stuff, even if you don’t plan to do it yourself all the time, is that when you want to make changes, or when things do go wrong (and they do), you can more adequately describe what you want or need (or did to make things go awry) to the tech person you hire! The better info you give them, the easier (i.e., quicker) they can troubleshoot and fix it.

    • Rhonda Lane
      January 4, 2013

      Hi, Claire. One thing I love about the Internet is that you can find a free tutorial to watch on just about anything, including WordPress maintenance. The tutorials are great because you can watch it in one Window and have what you’re working on up in another. You can pause the video when you need to and then work on your website. So getting an idea of what to call things – because knowing the jargon is like knowing how to spell a word to look it up in the dictionary – is crucial to finding out info. Anyway, thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  • Gloria Alden
    January 4, 2013

    I’m lucky because I joined an already active blog – writerswhokill – so all I
    have to do is write a blog once a week, send it for review and then post and schedule it. There are others who have been around for a long time who can solve any problems. As for other help, I have the nephew of a writing friend of mine, who has been very helpful.

    • Rhonda Lane
      January 4, 2013

      Hi, Gloria – Yes, you DO have a great gig at Writers Who Kill. Once a week bada-bing, bada-boop. 🙂 Guys, Gloria blogs there on Thursdays, right?

  • Kourtney
    March 25, 2013

    I wouldn’t be here without my web designer Jian Chan over at
    He’s an absolute genius and so reliable. Best person to have on your team. 🙂

    • Rhonda Lane
      March 25, 2013

      Thanks for the link, Kourtney. Jian’s work looks great. I like that he designed your site in WordPress (I luvs WP.) Thanks again for stopping by and chiming in.

  • Marylyn Paskoff
    April 11, 2013

    becomming a blogger isn’t always an easy thing, sometimes it’s actually getting very hard to get people to ‘read you’

    • Rhonda Lane
      April 11, 2013

      Boy, howdy! Yeah, Marilyn, as if writing the posts weren’t enough, we have to be able both technologically and energetically promote them. Plus, patience is key, too. Even if we can can attract readers via our post titles and tags, the biggest challenge of all is to get them wanting to come back for more. Thanks for stopping by and saying “hi.”