Mother’s Day 2017 Update

Kollect.com screenshot

It’s been a while since my last post and with a LOT going-on at the moment I thought I’d update everyone up on the latest from The Huelsman Way. But to get started, I’d like to not only wish my own mom a Happy Mother’s Day but discuss the “gift” I’m given her this year as well!

Kollect.com – My First E-Commerce Site

If anyone has ever wondered where I got my entrepreneurial spirit, it certainly came from my own mom (Linda Huelsman) who not only helped start Fond du Lac’s very first Internet Service Provider (ISP) back in the day but before that ran her own arts and crafts gift store (“Silks-N-Wood”). Since our ISP days, Linda has continued to dabble in creating unique gifts for folks and for the past few years ran her own online store through Etsy.com where she’s sold hundreds of items to folks throughout the country and even overseas.

Recently, however, Etsy changed the way it manages e-commerce through its online marketplace, prompting my mom to seek an alternative approach to selling her merchandise. Several months ago I purchased the Premium-Coding collection of site themes and resources for WordPress including an e-commerce theme called “Adamas” that I thought would be perfect for her should she want to try managing her very own website. She agreed and we spent a few weeks developing the site, connecting it to her PayPal business account and configuring the entire site via the outstanding WooCommerce plugin made especially for WordPress.

Our finished product (no pun intended) is now live at kollect.com! If you browse the site, first notice the “https” protocol–the site has been SECURED (via a free, open-source, built-in “Let’s Encrypt” certificate system on my SiteGround cloud server that allows me to secure ANY of my sites–I’ll discuss the https protocol in an upcoming post). While I set up the site in general and performed a variety of configurations, my mom actually entered virtually ALL of the individual products, including their photos, pricing, shipping options, etc. In other words, she spent more time on the site developing it than I did and I think the resulting site looks clean, intuitive and professional. So, mom, Happy Mother’s Day–I hope you like your new site!

DNN to WordPress Site Migration Update

This past week, I officially kicked-off the DNN to WordPress site migration project I’ve been gearing-up to do over the past 6-12 months. While I was initially planning to do this migration work throughout all of 2017, I’ve been having ongoing problems with both my original Rackspace cloud server as well as the DNN instances running the 17 websites I originally developed for my clients back in the day. This past week for example, all of the DNN sites suddenly stopped generating email and although I was able to resolve the issue several discussions with Rackspace (including one with an account representative who basically told me that Rackspace is not the leader in customer service it once was) it’s become clear to me that the migrations need to happen as soon as possible.

As a result, I’ve emailed all my clients this past Wednesday evening and I’m taking a week of vacation from my day job to get started. I plan to execute the migration in two phases (mirroring the two DNN instances I have running at Rackspace, an older version and a newer version):

Phase I (starting immediately)

(If you’re one of these clients, you should contact me immediately regarding your site!)

Phase II (starting later this summer)

(If you’re one of these clients, you should contact me within the next month or two regarding your site!)

Getting started, my “Frugal Broker” client has graciously agreed to wholly fund his site migration, so I’ll be acquiring a new theme for him from ThemeForest.net, setting-up the theme using a temporary website URL, initially configuring the site and then I’ll start the process of not just migrating the content but developing a significantly BETTER site than what he had. Actually, a fellow web professional and best friend “Dougal” (whom I’ve blogged about in the past) will be doing most of the work so together we can migrate these sites as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Naturally, contact me if you have any questions regarding this upcoming migration process!

Ongoing Site Work

Actually, I technically started migrating sites back in December, rebuilding not only my own site but the site now available at http://www.berkeleyrunningcompany.com. This initial migration took a long time to complete, as the client needed a custom header developed that I originally couldn’t provide. But everything has been worked-out and the new site went live back in mid-April.

In addition, I’ve developed a very simple site at http://www.statzheating.com to support another long-term client of mine who needed a brand new site to address his heating and air-conditioning business. This site utilized the Nimble theme from the collection of themes I purchased from Elegant Themes a few months ago as well. It’s a simple site but fully addresses the needs of the client and works well in mobile as well as desktop devices.

I’m also working hard on that e-learning project I blogged about last time. Setting up a brand new site at https://www.fistausa.net, I’ve installed the University theme from ThemeForest.net and I’ve started the rebuilding process, selecting appropriate colors and copying initial content to begin emulating the original site located at http://www.fistausa.org. This site will certainly take me months to complete and will contain all the wonderful e-learning modules that will be developed as well.

SEO Module Implementation

Finally, I spent several hours today installing and configuring the Yoast SEO (“Search Engine Optimization”) WordPress plugin into ALL of my client WordPress sites. While everyone wants their sites to appear on the very first page of a particular search engine result, getting listed on the first page can be quite challenging and there are entire businesses out there that specialize in just SEO. For me, it’s something I don’t know much about but as a professional courtesy to my WordPress clients (which, after these upcoming site migrations, will be nearly everyone), it’s a learning curve I’m willing to tackle and help my clients improve their search engine placement. More on this subject over the next few months as my own Yoast SEO understanding improves!


Professional web developer residing in Waunakee, Wisconsin.

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