The VaultPress Stories series continues with Jeffrey Paul, who maintains a personal site at JeffandCrystal.com. Jeff works in digital and social media for a large entertainment company, and shared with us his experiences with WordPress and VaultPress.
— Paul, one of the VaultPress Safekeepers
My primary WordPress site is a personal site that my wife and I use to share pictures and stories with friends and family. I also use it to blog about things I find personally or professionally interesting.
I first started my site on a CMS platform called Geeklog, an integrated photo platform called Gallery, and VizaWeb for hosting. Geeklog ended up being more than I needed product-wise and I wasn’t finding interesting plugins or designs for the site and I ended up having support and infrastructure issues with VizaWeb; that’s when I took a look at the market and switched to a WordPress/Gallery setup (using WPG2) and 1&1 hosting. I again ended up with support & infrastructure issues with 1&1 and was getting tired of the intricacies of the Gallery integration and finally switched to using DreamHost for hosting and just using the built-in WordPress media components and a personally created theme based on ones from Matt Mullenweg and the Twenty Ten theme.
I love the simplicity of the WordPress administration, the ease of testing out new themes & plugins, the ease of creating photo galleries and posts, and the more recent support of an iPhone app. I also love that it’s not Blogger or some other blogging platform handled by a corporation who may (or may not) have my best interests in mind. Knowing that the WordPress Foundation was set up to help further the open source nature that Matt Mullenweg created is even more peace-of-mind.
I had so many issues with my servers melting with various hosting providers as well as some personal PC drives failing that I decided I needed to get serious about protecting the several year investment I had made in getting photos & stories online. I forget where I first heard about VaultPress, but it was sometime last year and I decided it sounded like a decent option. I got a Golden Ticket thanks to DreamHost and decided to start out on the Basic plan and from there it only took a couple minutes and my site was on its way to a disaster-proof nirvana.
My favorite plugins are ones to publish my stories to Facebook (via Wordbooker) & Twitter (via Twitter Tools) as well as help render my site on mobile devices (via WPtouch). That, of course, assumes that folks are already using the Akismet spam filtering goodness; if you’re not, this one is an absolute MUST. I also use Google Analytics (via Google Analyticator and WordPress Google Analytics Reports) to see trends on my site & where traffic’s coming in from. One thing I’ve struggled with lately is deciding how best to host video on my site, ideally not using a service like YouTube or Vimeo who then have rights to my content, and that plays well on desktop browsers plus iOS (and other non-Flash devices); so if anyone out there has advice on that I’m all ears!