[UPDATED: AUG 2021]
If I only knew then, what I know now … today, August 5th, 2018 marks 10+ years of ANITAM and in celebration, I want to take time to reflect on my personal growth, my web design experience (Blogger vs WordPress), and my very first encounters with the internet so many years ago.
I belong to the “internet didn’t arrive until my teenage years” generation. But I am glad I was able to play outside with my friends while having access to the internet. One thing is certain, over the years, I have moved continents (yes plural) and explored different branches of creativity (photography, design & visual art). At last, I’ve reached a place where I feel “at home” with my online presence.
Surely, I have learned by trying & researching all I could about web design to gain my web design experience. And today, I feel confident that all the nights in front of the computer are finally paying off. I am able to give back to those who are less fortunate/advanced. That is why I have packaged all I know about web design (incl. Blogger vs WordPress) into an Online Bootcamp.
But how did it all start and what was the journey like you may ask? Here are the main events between 1996 and now which taught me what I know today.
First Web Design Experience & The Internet
Growing up, creative expression has always been a huge part of my daily routine and I have always been given the opportunity to express myself in various visual ways (arts & crafts, analog photography). I vividly recall the day we’ve got this “magic box” with a keyboard and mouse. And even without an internet connection, I would spend hours in front of the screen pressing buttons. Little did I know it was the birth of a lifelong relationship for me. It all evolved at such a rapid pace that before we knew it, the internet was part of daily routine. Computer classes were standard practice in schools in Germany. But it was not enough for me, so I devoted my free time to further discover the world wide web. With no surprise, my favorite program back then happened to be Microsoft Paint.
Designing for Social Media & Learning HTML/CSS
Slowly but surely the creative force inside me wanted more and my focus shifted toward the “how-to” of web design. I have read and learned all I could about HTML/CSS in order to be able to translate my visual voice onto the screen (btw, feel free to check out my collection of useful HTML/CSS resources). After all, with the birth of online networking (MySpace and many others) it was crucial to have the best looking & flashiest profile out there to make connections. What once started as a fun project, all of a sudden turned into a solid business and actual income – and mind you, all designed with Blogger! But maybe you’d rather hire a professional designer than take the “do it yourself” approach?
Welcome to my Web Design Experience & Blogger
With a business in place, I wanted more … I wanted to have my own little space on the internet to shine. So I started to look for a domain name and hosting solution. I’ve already had experience with Blogger but I wanted to have more control over my web presence and in those days even blogger was rather limiting. And with the business growing, it was a smart idea to move my files to a paid hosting service. But one question remained: What would I do with ANITAM.com? With no real strategy or plan, I have decided to turn it into my portfolio website for everything photography and travel. After years of tweaking and making the site perfect, limited traffic was coming to my web presence. In addition, it felt that I have outgrown the capabilities of Blogger. It was simply time to make a change!
Blogger vs WordPress: The Migration Process
With some time on my hands, while traveling in Southeast Asia, together with my friend Google, I have conducted some research on the best website hosting platforms to move forward. And right away, with my web design experience and already available hosting service, WordPress has clearly won! Since I wanted to re-purpose some of the blog posts from Blogger and take advantage of Google rankings of my content, I had no choice but to migrate my website from Blogger to WordPress – not an easy task but surely can be done (with the help of WPBeginner Tutorials). By now, I have switched all my website to WordPress and also refocused my web design business to offer design services for WordPress hosted websites.
Strategy & Plan of Action after years of online
While my web design business was booming and my digital nomad life allowed me to “go places & see faces”, my personal brand lacked strategy and a plan of action. The “new” AnitaM web presence and branding was in place, but I did not feel like showcasing my travel photographs made sense any longer. I needed to come up with a clear vision and mission for my brand to move forward. And so the idea of sharing my web design experience in Creative Bootcamps was born. A new chapter of learning the ins- and outs of online course creation has opened up and I have started to follow and learn from influencers like Mariah Coz & Megan Minns from Femtrepreneur, who shared their knowledge with me as well as Amy Porterfield, Melyssa Griffin, Marie Forleo, and so many others.
The future is all about “Sharing is Caring”
My goal is to continue to expand my knowledge in online course creation and digital marketing. While doing that, I’d like to share with others what I know about photography, graphic and web design. My immediate plan of action is to give back by guiding others how to create their first website with WordPress for FREE, and soon I will roll out (via Teachable) the Web Mentor Program – a place where you learn how to create a WordPress website in less than a week, which will cover not only all the design aspects but also get into the proper planning, content creation and how to market your brand to bring traffic to your site.
I don’t want you to spend years and money on a website that is just parked on the internet. I was fortunate to have opportunities to learn, so it’s my duty to pass it on to those willing to listen. And because my motto is “SHARING IS CARING”, in celebration of 10 years of ANITAM.com, I’m giving you access to the WordPress Starter Kit for free.
UPDATE 2021: What the past yearS has taught me!
They say time flies … and few years have passed since my initial celebration of ANITAM.COM rebirth. It’s been certainly years filled with learning and adjusting to the local needs & market here in Vietnam (where I am currently at home). I’m far from done with realizing my master plan but so far I was able to meet new local clients, teach several creative workshops before COVID-19 has entered our lives, was featured in a magazine, and about to launch next course that will help turn your passion into profit.
I’m aware that I can only share as much know-how as I acquire myself, therefore I have decided to return to school and add another degree in education to my list of accomplishments. I know it won’t be easy but I am grateful for the opportunities of online learning and I’m sure at the end, it’ll all work out so stay tuned and follow along my journey as I learn so I can become a better teacher myself.
And while all this is exciting to me, the biggest mission I am currently focusing on is to bring FREE computer literacy classes to the women in Saigon and also make regular contributions to women who run their own business in Vietnam. Because, as said before, life is nothing without sharing one’s knowledge with others! On that note, grab your freebie below now.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2018 and has been completely revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.