Hello everyone! Have I lost you with the white noise over here? Yes, it’s been a while since I’ve posted and have tremendously missed blogging.
Truthfully, what’s kept me from posting is that I’ve been spread a bit thin lately. Between client bookings, a speech I was preparing for (which was delivered yesterday – phew, that was stressful for this non-public-speaking gal), the blog moving, working on branding and life in general, finding a moment to sit at my computer to write something has been tough. But this week I was determined to get back in here. So much so that I blocked off this morning to do a google hangout with my wordpress lifesaver Lesley…and also blocked off the rest of my morning/early afternoon to write this post. My goal through this entire process is not only to document it for historical sake, but to share it in real time…as the details are fresh in my mind. As promised, I want to be as open as possible about the process so I can be of help to you! Therefore, this post is going to cover a few topics to catch you up to speed and moving forward I hope to update with smaller posts as the process continues and ultimately wraps up.
So quickly, let’s see what you guys know so far…
- I shared why I was moving and what the overall plan was. Just the initial steps/my thoughts and needs. (post here)
- I hired Launch Girls for the website build / branding. Lesley is my main contact and is incredible to work with! Can’t say enough about her!
- I hired RFE Hosting to migrate my blogger content to the new wordpress site. (post here)
I’m going to start by chatting a bit about RFE’s involvement and the costs since this has been a small, painless and easy part of the process. My direct contact at RFE was Aaron and the process was simple. Hard to believe because this step initially turned me into a rolled up bundle of nerves. With nearly 750 blog posts, alllll of those images, sidebar stuff, ads and more…I was worried something would get lost. Nope. Simple simple, people! Don’t fret, you’ll be in good hands and your content will make the move.
To start the process, you’ll reach out to RFE under their “migration services” tab and choose “blogger to wordpress”. You’ll contact them, they ask a few questions and then quote a price for the transfer. For me the quote was as simple as answering how many blog posts and how many comments were on my site. Once they had the numbers, I was quoted $300 to migrate the content.
Now, I want to mention (and this will be the case in every post I write throughout this series) my costs will differ from yours. Some bloggers may have less content, some more…which would obviously equate to a lesser / higher transfer fee. This was my price quoted based on how much content I had and was more than happy to pay that knowing my content was in capable hands and transferred correctly. What was helpful also is that Aaron and Lesley have worked together previously. He knew what I was doing / who I was working with and Lesley was great about giving me any “techie terms” needed to communicate with Aaron.
Originally when Lesley suggested RFE, she wanted me to reach out just to get on his schedule. Sometimes he can be booked out several weeks. Knowing the final website and branding wouldn’t be complete until the end of September, we figured it would coincide nicely at some point. To both our surprise, he was available right away. Lesley and I consulted about it and decided we’d instead do this in 2 phases, as opposed to everything happening at once at the end of September. So, Monday, August 31, Aaron started the transfer and was in constant communication with me all day. First it was the blog posts, then it was the sidebar…then it took time for the site to propagate. All in all, the entire migration process was about 2 days. And RFE is now hosting my blog, as well…which is $8.95 per month for those interested in knowing that fee.
When the job with RFE was complete, Aaron sent over all of my new login’s and passwords. All I had to do was forward those along to Lesley, as she needs this info to help build the site / add plugins.
Once the content was transferred, Lesley made the site look a bit nicer for you guys. What you see now isn’t what it will look like once we’re done in a few weeks. But we wanted the site to look somewhat familiar for you guys and also be easy for people to navigate should a potential client need to connect with me.
While it wasn’t in the original plan, I have to admit this was sort of a blessing in disguise. Having the site up as is currently allows me time to play around on wordpress and get acquainted with my new online home. If you end up in the same situation, try to look at it the same way. It’s been a positive!
Now that I’ve shared the transfer and web hosting info, let’s talk about the actual website build / branding and costs involved.
I consulted Lesley about sharing my costs and she knows I’m posting about this process for you guys…I can’t give you a firm number out of respect to her and her colleagues at Launch Girls – again, your quote will depend on what you need / are doing – but I’ll let you know I’m paying roughly $2,000 for the site build / branding. While some of you may cringe at that number, others with more understanding of what’s involved may ask “where can I sign up!?”. Trust me, it could be a whole lot more! Knowing this was going to happen at some point, over the last 18 months I’ve looked into local branding companies and was quoted $7,500 on up to $10k! And the $10k quote was the only one that included a site build. Not kidding, folks! Just my own suggestion, please take the time to look around and do some research before signing on with a company / group that will do your site build / branding. Make sure you know exactly what’s involved in the price and that it covers everything you want / need. Also make sure your personalities are a good fit and the job time-frame appears reasonable. As I mentioned, I did the legwork locally and wasn’t coming up with much to get excited about. Thankfully, I met Lesley at Haven this summer and knew this was the route I wanted to take. Launch Girls knows blogging and women. They know women small business owners. That mattered greatly to me! And it solidified the fact I should have been following my gut all along. So glad I didn’t spend $10k!!
That said, here is what’s included in my entire process with Launch Girls…
Genesis Theme and Child Theme Installation price of themes included
(my theme is Darling from Restored 316 and cost me $50)
Logo and Branding Creation
Custom Style Board
Custom Pop-Up Subscribe Box
Custom Social Media Buttons
Custom Sidebar Titles
Up to 3 Google Fonts Installed
Set up of menu
Set up of Pricing Tables for Blog Offerings and Professional Organizing Services
Premium Project Galleries Installed
Essential and Requested Plugins Installed and Configured
Google Analytics Code Installed
All Social Media Accounts Re-Branded
1 hour google plus screen share tutorial after install
14 days limited support
Pretty amazing, right? Totally worth it to this small business owner and blogger. In addition to this, when my limited support period is up, I can pay by the hour for Lesley to help with WordPress or other site issues I’m struggling with. Also to note, I paid half of the fee upfront – the balance is due within 5 days of site completion. I can’t say enough about Lesley and the Launch Girls…but guess what? There’s more so I can!…
Enter Kristy Robb!…
I mean…adorable too, right? This little lady is the woman behind my logo and branding. And I am so grateful for her talent…and hello, patience! Let’s be honest, the fact she’s working with me – this crazy perfectionist – and hasn’t jumped ship yet?! Gotta love her!
Seriously though, this part of the process is what’s going to take the most time / patience … and create the most hair-pulling, emotional breakdowns that rival a Khardashian episode. Yet, suddenly when you think you can’t handle the stress, Kristy pops into your e-mail inbox with the most amazing concept causing you to stop dead in your tracks (or carpool line) exclaiming “That’s it! We’ve got it!”.
Ok, so I’m exaggerating the breakdown a lil bit (or maybe Kristy feels differently – haha!)…but branding is SO personal and it’s everything. It’s the first thing people see when you hand them a business card. The first thing people feel when they log on to your website. It’s your first impression before you open your mouth or get to know a new client / colleague. It’s very important to me to get this step of the process done 100% to my satisfaction and done right the first time. While my site will also be amazing, what really makes it is the look and feel…and that comes from your designer knowing you well, understanding what you do, and they are going to ask you loads of questions so be patient and answer with as much detail as possible. And don’t worry about saying “no”. Kristy made me feel comfortable about saying no if I didn’t like something. Don’t be shy…if you don’t like it, say it. Otherwise you’ll end up with a logo you’re unhappy with. I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel like shelling out more money to re-brand myself. I’m paying the money now…so let’s do it correctly now.
Kristy started by sending me a small list of questions and I was very clear / defined with my responses. From there, Lesley set up a secret Pinterest board where I can pin ideas for everything – colors I like, fonts I’m drawn too, other logos that resonate with me, and more. It’s my place to throw everything so they get to know the look I’m drawn to. Kristy is able to log onto that board and see the inside of my brain/heart, if you will…and that helps her a ton while working on a logo.
At this point, I won’t share what the current phase of the logo looks like as it’s not finalized yet – but I’m already loving it so much and know you will too. When you see it, you will agree that it’s not only a true representation of Simply Organized…it’s also a reflection of Samantha. Me. The very best designer will bring that idea to life for you…but you must be involved in the process for it to truly reflect you and your business. There’s no way around that.
This has pretty much caught you up to speed. Where I’m at today? I’m in search of a Pantone Color Wheel to see in person. Since my logo will be on printed materials, not only on the website, Kristy asked that I find the specific Pantone color numbers. So I’m there at the moment trying to track it down and get those color numbers to her. Once we have that we’ll finalize the logo, fonts, etc. Lesley is doing some small tasks behind the site but we’re at a stand-still until the logo, color and font decisions are made. If you have any questions, please reach out to me or leave a comment. Can’t wait to post something organization related this week! Thanks for hanging in during my absence!