I have been blogging since 2006. I started on Blogger and remained there till I got bored of blogging. I started again there when Google bought Blogger. I was mostly posting articles on and off for a couple of years before my friend let me use his hosting account to host my own website. So I bought my first url; www.abhilashkumar.com. That’s my name by the way. Of course, at that time I didn’t know that no one would come to my website unless I was someone famous. But hey I was just starting out. I had no idea of how to run my website and what I needed to do to get people to some to it. I had vague ideas about traffic and page views and hits and stuff.
My time on Blogger was mostly spent posting article about things that I did during the day or my job or some new business I heard someone talking about. In most cases I used to delete the articles after a few weeks because when I used to go back to read them again, they used to seem stupid to me. If I thought they were stupid, why would any body else think otherwise? Right?
When my friend gave me ftp access to my very own small space in his hosting account I felt like a whole new set of opportunities opened up for me. I was full of idea and more ideas kept falling on top of those ideas until, it was all a bit overwhelming. So then I put pen to paper and laid out my first proper website. I had a bit of experience in web design and so I set about designing my website. I had looked at some of the websites that I really liked and knew what I wanted mine to look. Unfortunately my skills as a web designer fell a little short of my imagination. I wasn’t able to get the desired refinement that I saw in other site. Due to this I naturally gravitated towards free website templates. There are so many available on the net that its not even funny. I chose one that I liked and used it as a base for my website.
I went through about 4 templates for websites until I discovered that its really not very easy to manage a website on the kind of time that I can dedicate to this activity. However, I kept up the pretence of being involved with my website. I had originally through of having a forum and other such social hangouts on that website, but I didn’t get around to setting up anything remotely similar. I didn’t even have a contact form on the website.
About a year ago, I decided to buy my own hosting space. So on the recommendation of a friend I went to A Small Orange and bought a years supply of their smallest hosting package. Then I set up my namesake website on it and started hosting the same pages over there. Since now I was actually spending my own money for hosting, I was a little more serious and changed the design of the site and focused some more on content. I couldn’t manage all the work cause I have a day job and also a wife. Both of which get cranky if they don’t get enough attention.
So while I was exploring my new hosting account’s control panel, I saw WordPress. I installed it for the first time. So I had the website and then I also had a link for the blog. I hadn’t realized that I could use the blog as the main site itself. I realized this a few days later and didn’t change to that because I didn’t want to start everything from scratch. To top it all, I had installed multiple wordpress blogs to do what I now do with Categories. So yeah, I have done all the stupid things. So after running the website and multiple blogs separately for some time it dawned on me to combine my blogs into one, which I did. But, I still had the website and the blog separately. I also had to match the website theme with the WordPress theme. That was the easy part as there are tons of wordpress cum website templates available on the net.
A few months ago I finally decided that I need to change my domain name cause its not easy to remember and to most people it really doesn’t mean anything. By this time I had also learned to use all the things that made content management easier for me with my limited amount of time and I had also learnt to use magazine style WordPress themes. www.abhilashkumar.com had already burned through two magazine style themes and now I wanted a full revamp with a new name and new design. In all I have been through 5 magazine style themes for my site and one for my wife’s.
While looking through domain names I saw a lot of variations and asked friends to help and looked to my love of science fiction for inspiration. In the end I ended up buying 3 new domains. So I currently own apart from hitchedhiker, area-1eleven and area-111. They all now redirect to hitchedhiker. They are also up for sale although you can get them for less if you wait for them to expire and then pick them up cause I ain’t gonna renew them.
So as things currently stand is that I now have control over the content on my site, I know how to use the tools available to me and most important of all, I am posting regularly. That’s where I currently stand. I hope to have enough content so that I need to upgrade my hosting account and also enough visitors to take part in discussion and also click on the Google ads to get me to my first USD 100. I would also like to meet all my internet goals for 2009. That would be refreshing.
Below is a list of templates that abhilashkumar.com and hitchedhiker.com have been through. The images link to the source of the templates/themes.
|This is the first template that I used for my website. I didn’t have a blog then. The templates by AV were very simple to use and supported a lot of customization with very clean code that I could understand and edit.|
|The is only a website template. No WordPress template in this one. I had used this one for a short period of time before I discovered a website template with a matching WordPress theme. I can’t find it on Style Shout any more.|
|This one is from Styleshout too. The is only a website template. No WordPress template in this one.|
|This one is a combination of a website template and a wordpress theme. This was the first theme that I used when I started using WordPress. I had links to 4 different blogs from the home page of the website template and the WordPress themes matched the website template.|
|This is the first magazine style theme that I used for my blog. Its extremely easy to use with a control panel and a nice animated features area. However, the feedback I got from my friends is that it was a little dark for most people’s taste. I used it for some time.|
|This is the second magazine style theme that I used and the first from Theme Hybrid. It was even more darker than the one before.|
|This is the second magazine style theme that I used from Theme Hybrid. Keeping in mind my friend’s comments, I diverted from my usual inclination towards dark themes and started with this one as my first light theme.|
|This is the third magazine style theme that I used from Theme Hybrid and also the one that I have used the longest. It was not as easy to use but the sheer number of options it offered made it a really fun theme to play with. Something like the Options theme above. I recently stopped using this one because all support at Theme Hybrid is now paid support. So I really don’t have any forum where I can ask questions and get my ideas vetted. Which really sucks cause I really like Structure.|
|This is the theme that has replaced Structure. Very easy to use and with a little bit of tweaking and playing around with the style sheets I am pretty satisfied with how its working. Mimbo doesn’t depend on custom fields for the images and simply pulls the first one in the post to display as a thumbnail. It also uses the “Sticky” feature of WordPress posts to display the feature instead of using a separate category altogether.
So on the eve of my 100th post I switched to Mimbo