For the past couple of months, as time has permitted, I've worked on creating a new online personae on the Wordpress platform. It's still not perfect, but it's getting there. I've never been satisfied with the lack of functionality offered by the Active Rain outside blog, so soon it'll be history. For anyone who receives updates to CharlottesvilleTALK.com (currently the ouside blog associated with AR), you will not need to do anything... One day, CharlottesvilleTALK.com will simply point to CharlottesvilleHOME.com.
During the process of making these changes, I looked into several services by actually buying the services and trying them out. This has cost me money, of course, but the "Free Trial" offers are horrendous... they lack functionality and never give you a true picture of what you'll be buying (in my opinion).
This process has been far from simple, but the only way to meet my goal (simpler, cleaner, cost effective) was to get my hands dirty (up to my elbows!), be frustrated and full of angst, learn a lot of "stuff", get mad, stay up late, and ignore my family for long periods of time at the computer.
One of my first mistakes was thinking that Free Blog Factory would offer a solution for my problem. I think they are probably the perfect solution for the right person, but in order to simplify, I needed a much meatier solution and more good support. I ultimately turned to the woman who handles the site for the artist co-op with which I work. Her business is ArtBiz.ca, and her specialty is setting up websites for artists. Her name is Kim Bruce, and she's great.
I chose to make Wordpress work for me in total... website, blog, IDX. This is not for the faint of heart. You need to have an understanding about how Wordpress works, about widgets and frames and static vs dynamic and menus and all that sort of thing. If you have also been thinking that this would be something you'd like to consider, email me (don't depend on the comment section for a response to lengthy questions), and I'll share my thoughts.
I also paid for Diverse Solutions for my IDX, and I can tell you without question that IDXBroker is superior, when you compare services for the price. And the customer service is so far superior at IDXBroker, DS is not in the same league.
So, these are my experiences. Someone else will have other experiences. I would say I have an average understanding of technology, an average budget, probably better-than-average patience, and exceptional determination, lol. In the end, the results have been worth every moment of anxiety.
If you have a moment to look, www.CharlottesvilleHOME.com is the new place. (still a work in progress)
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