Shaunelle Drake: WordPress, Giving Everyone a Voice [WCGVA 2022] [en]

Live-blogging notes, may contain errors! WordCamp Geneva 2022

We’re all trying to bring our gifts to the world using WordPress! Shaunelle believes everyone has a story and gifts. WP has helped her bring her story and gifts to the world.

Shaunelle came to CH in 2012, and decided they wanted to share their experience living in CH after living in Canada. Tried a newsletter first. Just mails to a closed group of people. Looked for something a bit more sustainable. Her husband did a little research.

They tried, but figured it wasn’t for them because you don’t control your data, too much out of your hands. So, – they’re both technical people. Got their own server to get started, in 2014. On the home network! To learn about WP. A safe environment to play around. Feel free and comfortable to fail.

In 2016 they decided to step up a bit, got a QNAP server, came with WP preinstalled, PHP… Also had ideas by then, about the potential of WP. Thought about their friends and family back in Jamaica, doing various jobs but without time or ressources to market themselves. A solopreneur website? Got a URL for that. Used the .xyz domain… was cheap… but regret that choice now.

2018, turning point: Shaunelle spent some time in a monastery and decided to start on her healing journey (didn’t have a chance to grieve when her mother died when she was 15). Used music as part of her journey, as is a pianist. Started recording music she played. Carried it everywhere. Husband asked why she didn’t share it! She didn’t want to, it was personal, he insisted, she finally decided to give in and share. WordPress became the way to share this music, this part of her life and journey.

Her focus shifted to content: writing the story, why she was sharing the music, etc. Got introduced to e-mail and mailing lists. She chose MailerLite, served her purpose because easy to use, simple, standalone but also integratable with WP. Sign-up form on her site.

WordCamps! First one in 2016 in NYC (was travelling by chance), then 2017 Bern, 2018 Lausanne. Community, acceptance. Meant a lot to her.

Their xyz site went offline in 2019… so e-mail. Error on the server. (Shaunelle reads the e-mail.) Actually, she got hacked. It was still their own server! Weren’t careful enough. Opportunity to revision… the music had gone offline and they had 300 active subscribers. Pause and step back!

Decided to get a “real” web hosting provider.

Migrated the site. Zoom, Zapier, Calendly, Mailerlite.

Early on, SEO was not important. Wasn’t trying to be found, just sharing with friends and family.

Had started inviting people into her home to listen to her playing music, end 2019 and 2020. Stopped with covid.

Which theme? see what fits best with your goal.

She used Twenty Seventeen, Audioigniter, OceanWP, etc…

There are decisions to make. Business or pleasure? A mix of both? Free or premium tools? What are the non-negociables? staging, backup, security, support and community, keeping on top of what is new.

Choose the theme and plugins that support your gifts, that instil confidence in those who use them. Have something on your site that says who you are! A way to get in touch with you. Also, ensure that you talk about what the transformation is. If somebody goes to your site, they want help in some way, they want to get better in some way. How can it benefit them? What will it do for them, over what you can do.

Shaunelle’s gift: sit a while. Pause amidst all the running.

What is next for her? Bring her website up one level. Accessibility. French. SEO! She realised that we all have a gift/story that can make the world a better place, so why hide it? Have a greater impact.

  • For early starters: it can be overwhelming, but stick to your goals, the message/transformation you want to bring, choose what is absolutely necessary to get your story out. Focus on the transformation. You will learn as you go along.
  • Intermediate: keep your story as a focus as you learn new things and explore WP capabilities.
  • Experts: thank you for helping others get their story out! Remember your wordpress story even when the daily grind can have you caught up in the technicalities.

Also published on Medium.

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