Site Redesign

UPDATE:
I have decided to retire the kegan blog and move all content to the main blog on TheWorkAtHomeAcademy.com

Okay. After I wrote my last post about my new beginning, I went to put my content on the site and I realized that I hadn’t finished fully evaluating my site structure as I’ve been going through my metamorphosis.

So I took some time to contemplate how I want things to progress.

I think I need to start out simple. While I do have a grand plan for this site and for my empire as a whole, I will slowly implement that plan as I progress. I will put a timeline to the plan as well.

Site Re-Design

After I had my epiphany about the re-birth of TheWorkAtHomeAcademy, I knew I had quite a lot of changes that needed to be made.

The first thing I needed to do was move my site from PowWeb to my reseller account on Hostgator.

All my sites began on PowWeb at the guidance of Jay and Jeremy of Internet Business Mastery Academy. It is a mere pittance at $3 or $4 per month, but not worth it in the end.

The difference between the two companies is quite vast. While they are both typical shared hosting environments, that’s about all they share.

Phone Support
Powweb has limited offshore phone support with people who barely speak or understand English. It was immensely painful to call in for phone support with them. Their reps really don’t seem to understand what you are asking for and often give short, incomplete and rather unhelpful responses.

HostGator has really good US phone support with people who are native speakers. I always get quick and relatively frustration free help when I need it. Their reps seem quite knowledgeable and able to help.

Email/Ticket/Chat Support
Powweb is better when it comes to their text based support services, but again their reps don’t speak English well and aren’t really that knowledgeable.

Hostgator provides text based help that is similar in quality to their phone support. However, with the great phone support that they give, why would I use their chat service?

Hosting Options
Powweb has limited low budget options. I don’t feel comfortable that they could grow with my business.

Hostgator has a full range of options. I recently upgraded to the reseller account so I can give each website its own control panel and ftp area. I also like the fact that I can easily upgrade and migrate to a more robust hosting solution quite easily when that time comes.

Security
This is the reason why I recently moved all my hosting needs to a Hostgator reseller account. All of my sites got infected with malware and had the Google block placed on them. Not a fun thing to see. When I called Powweb to find out how my sites were infected, I got a response that it’s basically my responsibility to protect my sites.

When I contacted Hostgator to discuss moving my sites all to their servers, I inquired about their security policies. They explained to me that their systems and processes are very proactive at detecting and quarantining any vulnerabilities.

I knew that hosting all my sites as sub accounts wasn’t really a good plan, but had never really explored any other options. And for $3 a month on Powweb and $9 a month on Hostgator, I didn’t see a need to spend more and I didn’t see the potential problem.

The Hostgator rep helped me to think through what I wanted to do and I ended up going with the reseller account since it provides more control, security and privacy for each of my sites. Even if one gets infected somehow, the other ones should be isolated enough.

Now to be fair to Powweb and other bottom of the barrel hosting companies, we really do get what we pay for. I paid $60 for a year of hosting with Powweb. I pay $25 per month for my reseller account on Hostgator. It’s not really fair for me to expect Powweb to offer the same level of service and support for such a low rate. And I don’t. I learned my lesson.

I’m sure that Powweb is a great choice if you just want to set up a whole bunch of small websites that are easy to rebuild or replace. But for my primary sites, (and with a reseller account now: all my sites) Hostgator is definitely the right choice for me.

I changed my dns settings in Godaddy to point to my Hostgator account. Then I created a new account for TheWorkAtHomeAcademy.com

I then went through my normal account setup process and installed WordPress.

I then copied over all the files from the Powweb install and imported my WordPress databases.

It took a little to get the settings to match, but eventually I got it right and the site worked. But now I had a lot of manual tweeks to make.

When I had originally set up the Academy, I installed it as a WordPress Multiuser with aMember and a lot of customization that I had done over the year it took me to build it. I hadn’t even touched the site in almost 3 years. I now needed to not only remember what most of that customization entailed but I also had to decide what functionality and I wanted and needed to keep.

Thankfully I was able to get the site functioning again. Even with updating to the latest version of WordPress, the site still worked. Even aMember in all its complexities still seemed to work.

As I considered how I wanted to do things moving forward, I decided that I wanted to give up on the theme I was originally using. I had been using Weaver, which is a Freemium theme now. At the time it was totally free, but the designer eventually morphed into a paid upgrade to enable added functionality.

I liked weaver because of how simple it was to customize and the huge amount of options that it provided. But since I discovered Headway, I wanted to use that moving forward.

So I installed and activated Headway. After a bit of playing around, I was able to get it to look the way I wanted.

Except I wanted a new header and logo. So I took a couple hours and redesigned the logo and header. Not real sure if I like the current logo, but it works for now.

Remove The Google Block

Once I got the site moved, I had to petition Google to remove the malware warning.

They seem to be fairly quick with these requests and my site had the warning removed the next day.

Since I did all that the site has been just sitting there for the last week.

So now I come to putting the content on there today.

Here’s what I’ve decided to do for now

I’ve removed all navigation to the membership systems and functionality. I’m starting fresh. I may bring back some of what I had on the site before, but I won’t bring out any kind of membership system until I know things are ready.

I’ve decided to keep the main site separate from my journal. So I installed a new WordPress install in the kegan directory. http://theworkathomeacademy.com/kegan/

I will be posting all my personal content in the kegan install.

I simplified the navigation to include only the links I am actively developing. I made a Kegan link that points to my personal blog on the site and I recreated the entire look and feel of the main site on my personal blog.

Here are my next steps:

  • Create a ‘My Plan’ page. This page will map out my master plan for this site and my empire as a whole.
  • Create a Todo (actions) subpage of the ‘My Plan’ page. This will be a change log of all the things I do to develop this site along with a list of future action items.
  • Find a plugin that will allow me to pull in the kegan blogs rss feed into the main site.
  • Create a resources page to keep links to the resources I talk about all in one easy to find place.

I’ll add these items to the Todo page and continue to add other items as I move along.

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