Saturday, October 06, 2007

Virtual Realtor Hands Over New Keys!!

NOTICE: We've Moved! Please click here to be taken to the new location!!

After canvassing blogging neighborhoods all around the globe and looking at differently designed themes over the last three days, I'm happy and relieved to say that the virtual realtor finally handed me a new set of keys yesterday!

Now that I'm a new blog homeowner, I've been busy painting, adding, deleting, tweaking and otherwise fixing it up. I want it to not only reflect my personality but also transform it into a pleasant environment for those who have become part of the Adversity University community as well as for visitors who might stop in for coffee and browse around.

As I mentioned in the previous post, the goal was to find a place that gave me at least 5 things:

1. Prime real estate screen space (i.e. from 2 to 3 columns, without the clutter)
2. Intuitive navigation capabilities
3. Easy to read text with clean white background
4. The ability to create new pages with tabs on top for future material
5. A theme that was compatible with Wordpress 2.3 version

When I first started looking, I found 20 potential themes. Each designer was sent an email with questions to gauge how responsive and friendly they would be. While waiting to hear back from them, I browsed through their blogs to ascertain whether or not they were keeping up with regular postings.

If the designer got back to me within a reasonable period of time, appeared to be friendly and maintained a current blog, that meant I would probably get a fair amount of support throughout the installation/tweaking process. Keep in mind that while I've learned a lot about blogging in the last year and a half, I'm still learning my way around, especially now that I'm in a new environment with a learning curve to content with. It helps to have some kind of live support on the way, you know what I mean?

After hearing back from some but not others, the list was slashed to 5 potential themes. All of them were well designed and compatible with Wordpress 2.3. The clincher was when I learned one of designers was commissioned to write a book by a well known publisher, which I think will turn into a mega-bestseller. That meant this designer probably knew what she was doing when creating the theme I had my heart set on. In addition, it helps that she was hired by some well known bloggers to redesign their sites. Last but not least, she has a bunch of documentation at her site about how to tweak the theme to each individual blogger's liking - a huge bonus.

Yes, it's a woman. But that's all I'm going to tell you. I am purposefully keeping you in suspense until I launch my new site, which I expect to take place on Wednesday, October 10th at 12 pm EST.

As you can imagine, there's a lot of work ahead. Over 150 posts from this blog are being exported to the new location. In order for that to happen seamlessly, I might be forced to upgrade to Blogger's new template. If that happens, a lot of stuff you now see on the sidebar will be forever gone (which is one of the reasons I'm moving in the first place). In addition, I will be focused on transferring email and RSS subscribers, adding/moving around furniture (i.e. sidebars and plug-ins), plus a host of other things like inserting a notification in each and every post at this location telling visitors where to go.

After we are settled in the new location, I want to throw a blogwarming party!! Any ideas how I can do that? Go ahead and use the comment feature to let me know your ideas or if you prefer, send me a private email at stephen(at)sjhopson(dot)com (this is just in case the email link on the right side disappears if and when I am forced to upgrade to Blogger's new template).

Have a great rest of the weekend! Stay tuned for more updates......
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14 Comments:

Anonymous Benjamin said...

The suspense is killing us! :) Well, at least making me curious! May the new real-estate bring you great neighbours!

1:23 PM  
Blogger Stephen J. Hopson said...

Hey there Benajmin:

Yeah, I know. :) So far the move seems to be going smoothly yet I'm a little frustrated because I want to improve on the template but am not familiar with the coding techniques.

That means I'm going to have to learn how to do a little coding to improve on the template. Ah, that'll take some time.

Thanks for your good wishes and for stopping in. I certainly hope someone from the neighborhood stops by with an apple pie or something!

Stephen

2:08 PM  
Blogger Nita said...

(Uploading apple pie slices with vanilla ice cream)

Satisfied, Stephen?

2:36 PM  
Blogger Stephen J. Hopson said...

Nita:

That sounds wonderful! Actually, I should have said to Benjamin "cigars" instead of apple pie. I LOVE CIGARS and anyone who welcomes me to the neigborhood with a GOOD cigar finds the way in my heart!

I'm working hard on the new site and it's proving to be fun yet quite challenging. I'm working on not letting any doubts creep in and I'm also trying not to get too obsessive over tweaking, adding plugins, etc. etc.

I've been at it for HOURS. All of the posts from this site is now over there but they have to be categorized/organized, etc.

Thanks for stopping in. I always enjoy your humor.

Stephen

3:10 PM  
Anonymous sharmaine said...

Stephen,
Happy to hear that the move is almost complete. As I share with my own real estate clients, buying real estate is like having a baby. These are the "birthing pains"...once the baby is born, you'll have no memory of all that it took to get it here. Can't wait to see "the new place", but I know it will awesome. And once you're in and settled...may you live happily everafter!
Sharmaine

12:03 PM  
Blogger Stephen J. Hopson said...

Sharmaine:

How great it is to hear from you, especially since you're a real estate agent who probably appreciated the light humor in this article. YOu know, comparing my new blog site as a "home" and the title saying "Virtual Realtor...." That stuff just popped out of my head. I love it when that happens. Makes writing more enjoyable.

Well, yes, I am actually more than half way there at the new blog. I've successfully transferred every single post and comment from this blog to that location. And now I'm trying to figure out how to move all the subscribers painlessly as well as redirecting any traffic that comes through here over to there. There's a technical way of doing it and I'm trying to climb the learning curve there.

There's a blogger who knows how to do it and writes the exact code on his website but I'm a little apprehensive since I'm not a professional as they would say.

So, keep me in your prayers.

Stephen

2:49 PM  
Anonymous Corinne Edwards said...

Well -

You are in Akron and I am in Chicago. Shall we meet halfway and have a three martini lunch?

(We have to find a designated driver though)

Good luck!

Love,

Corinne

3:09 PM  
Blogger Stephen J. Hopson said...

Connie:

Yes, we shall meet halfway! LOL. I'm almost done, almost, almost.

Lots of work - LOTS! But hopefully it'll be worthwhile. It'll be interesting to see everyone's reaction.

Stephen

3:32 PM  
Blogger Nita said...

Btw, Stephen, is this new website that you would have to pay since this one is free?

Oh, don't forget to make a copy of the new key in case you get locked out. :)

4:52 PM  
Blogger Stephen J. Hopson said...

Nita:

Yes, I moved it to Wordpress self-hosted platform. This means I use Wordpress programming but I am hosting it in my own domain name at an independent server hosting the blog. It's like my professional speaking website being hosted at an independent hosting service (it happens to be in Canada since it was cheaper at the time but I'm going to move it to the same hosting company that has my new blog).

And yes, having an extra set of keys would be a GREAT idea - this is an analogy to backing up my files at WP. Something I never did before with Blogger. Luckily nothing got lost at Blogger.

Stephen

6:35 PM  
Blogger Carma's Window said...

Hi Stephen, I am anticipating a move to wordpress soon because blogspot is a little limiting.

I wish you a smooth move. Also I enjoy reading your posts. You are very inspiring.

11:00 PM  
Blogger Stephen J. Hopson said...

Carma:

Thank you for your compliment about my articles. I'm glad you find them inspiring. As you can probably tell, I love to write.

I wish you good luck with the move too. Truly, it's not as hard as one might imagine. It just takes a lot of concentration, focus and a willingness to experiment, research and learn along the way. One thing I've learned is that it's very easy to get obsessed with tweeaking, fiddling with widgets, adding, deleting, changing, etc. I've already fallen into that!

Stephen

6:46 AM  
Blogger Karen said...

Happy moving!

7:08 AM  
Blogger Stephen J. Hopson said...

Hi Karen;

Thank you for your good wishes! I look forward to having you move with me!

Stephen

7:32 AM  

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