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I had an interesting experience of what started as a blog that turned into a website-blog hybrid. I started looking into a blog to share my projects, to connect with people, and to have topics that have perma-links for people to click on to get more information about my products. Though I enjoy using Instagram to share my crafts because it’s quick, it is not simple to share information, particularly giveaways, across different forums because it’s not ideal for others to link back to just a photo.

wordpress-logo-680x400After researching different blogging platforms, the two main choices were WordPress.com (not to be confused with WordPress.org) and Blogger. Though both sites offer free services, I picked WordPress for many reasons. First reason was because WordPress is geared more towards businesses—enabling you to upgrade to your own website address: gal-pals.com versus gal-pals.wordpress.com, and you can easily move your site to a self-hosted site for complete design control (on WordPress.org). WordPress also has more customizable capabilities and better professional looking web templates that they call, Themes. Furthermore, WordPress has a great Search Engine Optimization where your site is ranked higher in searches.

The power of WordPress is in that you can run your website for free without having any programming experience and no hosting fees. These are great features for start up businesses because it minimizes huge web design costs. I do have to admit that my website wasn’t entirely free because I paid for a few upgrades which is completely optional. Because I have OCD design tendencies, I upgraded to have my own web address and a premium template that had a better layout that was more suitable for my plush toys. I also ended up having to get customizable coding capabilities because some text was unfortunately covering up the entire home page images in the mobile format. This required a little computer programming to remove the unwanted text. I easily got the code from the company who created the template. They were very helpful and can assist you with problems that you may encounter without any charges.

I had bought the domain name gal-pals.com a while ago when I was planning out Gal-Pals with the idea to build a website in the future.   I wasn’t ready to pay the thousands of dollars to build a website yet. After I discovered that WordPress allowed you to have your own web address, the blog quickly turned into a website. This was exciting news to me.  With no programming experience, I designed my own site easily.  Now, I am able to manage the website and design what I want and make as many changes as I want without having to pay someone a ton of money for every little change. Furthermore, keeping fresh content and updating the website is as easy as uploading a new picture.

Here is the link to how to get started on WordPress.com.  The start up guide is easy and well explained. I should mention that you do have to have some photo editing knowledge to crop photos so they will fit into the frame of the pre-set template Themes. I use Adobe Photoshop, but if you don’t have this, PicMonkey is a popular, free photo editing website. Otherwise, take quality photos, crop it to size, add some color and text if you wish, and upload onto your site. Have fun with the freedom to design what you want whenever you want.