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Call me gauche...or lazy... re: The Pioneer Woman

  1. Please forgive me if I'm being a jerk by 'bursting in here' and asking for some advice. Apologies ahead of time. (I have just begun my research, and will be going through all the wonderful resourced available here.)

    I am a community activist. I have been using Blogger for the three different sites I maintain. But am upping the ante and am preparing to found a site with a much bigger scope (the entirety of my city), with a much bigger vision...and therefore, much bigger needs. I purchased the domain last year, but family health issues prevented me from moving forward. However, now seems to be 'the time'. : )

    I love 'The Pioneer Woman', and it's a WordPress site. It has the functionality I want, especially as right now, I'm going to be Publisher, Editor, Writer and Webmaster all in one. (I do have to say that I'm not locked into it as my reference design: I am VERY OPEN to hearing suggestions about other options.)

    So I guess what I'm looking for here (as I can't get in touch with Pioneer Woman herself) is some input, some comments, some suggestions as to go about building this portal for my community. I'm no dumb-bunny, I've worked in e-learning, so have at least a rudimentary understanding of 'online stuff', but would appreciate any guidance, any mentoring any kind souls might be inclined to contribute.

    Thanks in advance,

    A/

  2. What is the actual question and what is its relevance to "The Pioneer Woman?"

  3. 'The Pioneer Woman's design is my goal. The question is 'How do I get there?'

    (And maybe 'Is there a better 'there' to get to?')

  4. Do you mean you want a web designer? If so, there are lots. Set a budget and ask for bids.

  5. This is not a technical support issue so I'll move this topic to the Off Topic Forum where the discussion can continue…

  6. Well... That's disappointing. I'm looking at setting up a WordPress site, a la a current very successful WordPress site...and I'm being moved to the 'Off Topic' boonies.

    Not a great start for my WordPress experience. I can see I'm going to be writing some emails on 'customer feedback'...

    But thanks.

  7. Start by giving people an actual link to the blog you're talking about.

  8. http://thepioneerwoman.com/

    (I woulda thought that Googling would have accomplished this...)

  9. The Off Topic Forum is for this sort of non-technical question: there is nothing "negative" about participating in this forum… Lots of folks want to increase their traffic and lots of folks have advice about how to do that.

    btw, we all know the pioneer woman, but we don't know how to find your site w/o a link to your blog

  10. I could google it. But why would I? Presumably if it's important, you will provide us with the information.

    Do you want to replicate the site, or just the site's success?

  11. Ah.

    http://thepioneerwoman.com/ is not a WordPress.COM site. It is a WordPress.ORG site.

  12. OK.
    Now we're getting somewhere.
    (I am very much a neophyte in this WP universe; I have a Blogger site that has gotten almost a million hits from almost 2,000 posts over the years...)
    So now I know it's an ORG site. Next up, reading the article on the difference.

    As for 'my site'... I haven't created the community one yet. So there's nothing to find. Yet.

    As for my goals... I'm not looking to increase traffic, as the site doesn't exist yet.
    My focus (and needs) are not to replicate the site's success. She's in another genre, another league entirely.
    What I want to is to replicate the basic design, understanding that I'm talking about community activism, engagement, politics, etc.
    That's pretty much it.
    I had showed the site to someone a while back and they remarked that 'Oh! It's a WordPress site!' which I took as 'This is doable, you don't need to be worrying about getting a web designer or programmer...'
    My resources are going to be...for the most part...me.
    So I'm trying to find out now whether or not I'll be able to get something akin to http://www.thepioneerwoman.com off the ground...or whether there's a similar design with similar features, or better features for what I have in mind...
    So I'm very open to guidance, opinions, being influenced...but I'm trying to generate some momentum.
    Hence my initial post.

  13. If you want to replicate the design or structure you need to review the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org http://en.support.wordpress.com/com-vs-org/

  14. Thanks, raincoaster. I'd begun reading it, but I can see I'm going to have to pick the brain of someone who knows what's what...because I'm not sure I 'get' which one I should be choosing.

  15. It's probably best to break down exactly what you want point by point. Then we can tell you if it's possible here or if you'll need to be at WordPress.org.

  16. Thanks, raincoaster.

    http://www.thepioneerwoman.com 's functionality is pretty much what I'm looking to have:

    -A clean banner. The site's title in the middle, the date and weather to the left, maybe a 'ticker-tape scrolling' of local news on the right.

    -Simple 'Section' buttons. Whereas she has 'Home', 'Confessions', 'Cooking', 'Photography', 'Home & Garden', 'Homeschooling' and 'Entertainment', mine would be something like 'City Hall', 'Events', 'Neighbourhood Associations', 'Multimedia', 'Town Halls', 'Discussion Boards' and 'Elsewhere'.

    -Subscription options and a Search function

    -I love the clickable slideshow of what's going on at each 'section'. (I especially love the icons assigned beneath)

    -To the right of this, a general information pane for the site with 'About', 'Facebook', 'Twitter' and 'Contact' buttons.

    -A clickable pane featuring the latest op-ed

    -A clickable 'Recently on This Site' area

    That's about it.
    The thing is, I'm not closed to suggestions, I'm not looking to mark new territory. I live in a city that is in need of its own community space that incorporates what I'm trying to cover, but I I want it to POP! with simplicity, functionality and usability; what I'm trying to accomplish with this site deserves the best approach I'm able to muster.

  17. -A clean banner. YES
    The site's title in the middle, the date and weather to the left, YES
    maybe a 'ticker-tape scrolling' of local news on the right. NO

    -Simple 'Section' buttons. YES
    Whereas she has 'Home', 'Confessions', 'Cooking', 'Photography', 'Home & Garden', 'Homeschooling' and 'Entertainment', mine would be something like 'City Hall', 'Events', 'Neighbourhood Associations', 'Multimedia', 'Town Halls', 'Discussion Boards' and 'Elsewhere'.

    -Subscription options and a Search function DEPENDS WHAT OPTIONS. SUBSCRIBE BY EMAIL OR RSS, YES. JOIN MAILCHIMP OR AWEBER MAILING LISTS, NO. SEARCH, YES.

    -I love the clickable slideshow of what's going on at each 'section'. (I especially love the icons assigned beneath) NOT AVAILABLE ON CATEGORY PAGES AT WORDPRESS.COM BUT AVAILABLE AT WORDPRESS.ORG

    -To the right of this, a general information pane for the site with 'About', 'Facebook', 'Twitter' and 'Contact' buttons. YES

    -A clickable pane featuring the latest op-ed YES

    -A clickable 'Recently on This Site' area YES

  18. So for the most part, it looks like .com will suffice...although I'd have to sacrifice the slideshow aspect.

    As I read the document comparing the two avenues, it seems like .com is the cheaper, more user-ready route...but .org has more options for customizing.

  19. Oh, and thanks for the insights, raincoaster.

  20. raincoaster, with your answers, I wondering if the basic template for http://www.thepioneerwoman.com (at WordPress.org) is available at WordPress.com. How do I find out? Is it identified in the Source screen?

    Sorry to bug you, but I'm finding myself gridlocked. Wanting to get started, as I've pretty much decided on the design through the various 'category pages'.

    Oh, and I meant to ask you about message boards within category pages; how strong is WordPress.com with this?

  21. No, that theme is not available. It's custom, and expensive.

    Message boards within category pages: not possible. WP.com doesn't host message boards. You can create one somewhere else, and then just link to it.

  22. What will your blog be about anyway?

  23. raincoaster: Thanks for clearing it up about the theme. So this means I now have to go through the available WP.com themes to find a compromise. What's the best way to find out how close I could come to that theme? (Just out of curiosity, to deepen my disappoint end depression, any idea what the cost is of that theme?)

    As for 'message boards'... I'm assuming that comments for each 'article' within category pages won't be a problem?

    maidibike: It's a community site. An online gathering place for residents to find out what's going on, where resources are, a means for activism and participation.

  24. Cost estimate? $5000 or so.

    As for which themes here can help you, I've no idea. I'm not a theme person.

    Comments on POSTS are not a problem. Comments within category pages are not possible.

    If you are thinking about a real, true portal or collaboration site, WordPress.com is not for you at all. You won't be able to manage a number of users in the hundreds.

  25. raincoaster: So how close to 'The Pioneer Woman' site's features can I come on WP.com?

    Obviously, if I had the moolah, I'd just hire a team to execute this as a standalone site. But as this is a not-for-profit, community, volunteer, civic activism site, just the thought of that expense, that tack is unsavoury.

    So I suspect that for the time being...unless I can corral a web design team from within the community to participate (not impossible, but do I want to spend the time and energy making that happen when I could spend it on content development?)...I have to think 'compromise' and go WP.com, hoping that down the road, I can migrate to something more befitting my vision.

    So how do I find a 'Theme Guru'? How do I cut through the 160 themes and find out which one is most going to provide me what I need? I have descriptions of the various category pages, know what features I want to establish...but I'm still finding that I really don't know how to proceed. (Though I'm reviewing http://learn.wordpress.com/ again.) I feel like I'm at a mega car dealership and know what features I want in a vehicle...but need just a little help narrowing down the options. But I am grateful for what you have offered.

  26. How much time have I spent answering your questions already? Why don't you look through the themes and find one whose approximations you can live with?

    If you want a theme guru OTHER than the help available in the forums so far, you 'll need to pay, about $100 an hour.

    Why don't you just sit down and take a couple of hours and look through the themes? They all have accompanying write ups and you can preview your blog in the theme without activating it.

    You feel like you're at a mega car dealership but let me assure you if you pick the wrong theme THERE ARE NO FATALITIES. It's as if you're standing in the showroom surrounded by models and having asked a sheaf of questions over the course of a week and yet you refuse to tell us how many drivers the car will have, how far it will have to go, or how tightly it needs to turn. And then there's the fact that we're standing here with the keys to 160 cars in our outstretched hands and you won't even test drive one.

    In the words of our corporate overlords, JUST DO IT.

  27. I'm sorry I sound so snarky, but I've been teaching blogging for years now and the number one biggest mistake I see is people who refuse to actually turn the key and start driving. Once you do, your actual needs, as opposed to your anticipated needs, become crystal clear.. You can waste weeks of your time and volunteer time otherwise.

  28. No need to apologize. I appreciate the kick in the butt.

    I've blogged for the better part of a decade, have posted somewhere close to 10,000 entries, and had well over a million hits at the various sites. But this is another kettle of fish, in another universe entirely (everything I've done, I've done on Blogger) and there's a lot at play...and I guess I feel intimidated. Simple as that: because this is not a novelty project, there's more at stake in this over-fretting noggin of mine.

    So yes, I'll spend more time slogging through the themes, and hope to find an additional resource on WP (or off) so I can 'Just do it.'

    Thanks again.

  29. raincoaster: I'm getting closer! If you have any opinions, let me know?

    http://en.forums.wordpress.com/topic/thoughts-on-comparisons-of-themes?replies=1

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