Money for Nothing

FailYesterday was frustrating.  Very frustrating.

I upgraded my site to premium so that I could use the simple payments option – something WordPress has been lauding as a way to use your site to make money.  Great! That was my eventual goal here – to start selling my mandalas and stickers, but on my own site, so that I wasn’t paying Amazon and Etsy lots of money in fees.

I’ve read so many people who say that they drive their own traffic to Etsy – so if I’m gonna do all that work, I might as well drive people to my own site, right?  Then I’m making the money off my hard work, instead of Etsy.

After upgrading to the Premium plan, I started researching how to use the Simple Payments buttons to sell my digital coloring mandalas.  Turns out, the Simple Payments just lets you collect payments for your products – there is no way to add a link or anything to the payment button.

So, essentially, a person would pay, then have to wait for me to receive the notification from PayPal that I’d been paid, and then wait for me to send an email with the link or file for what they purchased.  Which isn’t horrible, but isn’t at all what I was led to believe I could do with the simple payments.

After more research, I discovered a way to use Google Docs and PayPal to add things to my site for sale.  That was an experience in itself, because what I wanted was for buyers to be taken directly to a download link for the item after they paid.  Making a download link from a Google doc required even more research, because of course it’s not an option in Drive.

During the first test, I got to the document, but it didn’t appear that the file was downloading correctly.  (My husband was testing for me on his iPad.)  After getting the direct download link issue sorted, then I realized that for some reason (I’m assuming because he’s using his iPad and iOS never plays well with others), he isn’t being taken directly to the page with the download link from PayPal.  He has to ‘return to merchant’ inside PayPal and then he gets taken to the correct place for the download.

Soooo frustrating.  This is probably why so many people would rather just use Etsy or Amazon for this.  In fact, I’m debating if this is all worth it myself, particularly since I apparently upgraded my WordPress plan for nothing.  I could have inserted the PayPal buttons and configured it as it without upgrading, because all the payments take place on PayPal anyway.  I guess I could upgrade to the next tier on WordPress, where there are some actual e-commerce options, but after feeling like I’ve already spent some money for nothing, that doesn’t seem appealing.

Aaaaarrrrggghhh.  😦

Late to the Block Party

Ok, I admit, parties aren’t really my thing.  (Introvert, remember?)  A few days ago, when I was upgrading my WP account, I discovered that I am not using the ‘block editor’.

Huh?

I’m a WP user from waaaay back, and I remember when the editor looked like this:

Old WP Editor

So, since my new editor looks like this:

Interim WP Editor

I thought I was using the new block editor.

Nope.

Apparently, that’s the ‘Classic editor.’

The NEW block editor looks like this:

New Block Editor

I tried writing this post in the actual NEW block editor, and it made me want to pull my hair out.  Now, I’m all for learning new things, but it’s always scary to do this on your blog/website.  Because you never know what it will do to your old content.  Maybe nothing?  Or maybe it will break everything?

I mean, unless I’m updating old posts for some reason, after switching to the the new editor, it shouldn’t change anything, right?

The new editor does look like it has some cool features, but it also was frustrating trying to search around and find things, since everything seems to be moved around.

I’m also debating getting a new theme (now that I upgraded and have access to more), but I have the same fear – that changing the theme will somehow break some of the old content.  What to do, what to do.

Are you using the new block editor? Any tips/tricks/horror stories you’d like to share?

Taking the Plunge

photo of man jumping from boat to the sea
Photo by Oliver Sjöström on Pexels.com

With the extra time I’ve had in the last few weeks, I’ve been doing research and trying to figure out how to make my business a good fit for me.  So much research that my brain is now filled with what-if’s – What if it doesn’t work?  What if I can’t figure out the tech pieces?  What if I screw up on taxes somehow?  What if I’ve missed something vital?

The panic and anxiety my brain can produce is endless.

But I’m not going to let it win.  So, I’m going to just take the plunge and hope it works out for the best.  That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to do everything I can to make it successful, but it does mean that I have to let go of my fears and do SOMETHING.

Anything is better than standing still.  A journey starts with a single step.  (Feel free to throw in any other cliches that seem to fit here. 😛 )

What I’ve decided to do to start is to upgrade my plan here on WordPress to Premium.  I already pay for the Personal plan, so upgrading won’t be that much more.  Doing that will allow me to use their Simple Payments for selling digital downloads.  I already have PayPal set up, so it’s just a matter of hosting the files and posting them.

I’m still going to be writing posts about other things, but I will be adding more posts about my mandalas and the stickers I make.  I haven’t worked out all the details yet, because some of the products I want to sell are physical, not digital.  But digital is a good place to start, especially since selling them here on my own site means I don’t have to worry about pesky sales tax!  My state doesn’t collect sales tax on digital goods, and since I’m using my own website for sales (instead of a marketplace like Amazon or Etsy), I don’t have to worry about any other states either – I won’t ever hit their revenue/number of sales limits for small sellers.

In the meantime, there may some changes here and there so I can arrange things on the site for selling some of these goods, so bear with me.

Side Note:  Did you know that under your media tab here on WP you can access a library of free photos?  There’s a menu option called ‘free photo library’ with a ton of pics that you can use (the attribution is attached to the photo, so you don’t have to do anything except add it).

iPad Posting Fail

img_0087-1I’ve had many blogs over the years and one thing I always wanted was to be more mobile with my blogging.  I’m old and have terrible eyesight, so blogging on my phone has never been an option.  My eyes are too bad, my fingernails are too long, and my patience is too short to write posts on a dinky phone screen.

I’ve always been a PC kinda gal, so I am most comfortable writing that way.  A full-size keyboard is my friend, especially one with a great ‘feel.’  I learned to type on a manual typewriter (yep, I’m that old) and keyboards with no feel drive me batty.

However, over the last year or so, I’ve been using my iPad more and more.  Especially now that I am drawing on it, I tend to take it everywhere.  So I thought I would try out blogging on my iPad.  It couldn’t be that hard – even though I loathe the new ‘block’ editor (it’s not that new anymore, I suppose), I’ve been doing okay with it on the PC.

My thoughtful husband bought me a bluetooth keyboard that I could use with the iPad so that I could type with an actual keyboard rather than the on-screen one.  (I am active on some forums and let me tell you, trying to select text with the built-in keyboard is a freaking nightmare!)

I also had intentions of participating in Inktober (notice the past tense there) and had drawn up a mandala for the first prompt.  I drew it up, decided to post about it, and wrote up the post.  Simple, right?

As if.  :/

It took forever for the iOS WordPress app to load up my jpg image of the mandala.  I think it took about 5 tries before it finally loaded.  I finished up my post, proofed it, and published it.

I tried to, anyway.

After hitting publish, the app just sat there with the loading wheel spinning and spinning.  So I closed it and tried saving the post.

Nope.  Wouldn’t save either.

I tried publishing it again.  Again with the loading wheel.  I thought, well, I’ll just give it a few minutes and see if it worked.  I did a few chores around the house and came back.  Nope – still the spinning wheel.

Argh.

After about an hour of trying to post, I finally gave up.  I don’t know if WordPress hates Apple or Apple hates WordPress or they both hate me, but I was so frustrated I was ready to spit nails.  Oh, and during this whole process, I also discovered that posts I had saved to come back and read later in the app have also disappeared.

All of them.

Sigh.

So for now, I’ve resigned myself to drawing on the iPad and posting on the PC.  Not exactly what I wanted, but we can’t have everything, right?

Who Should I Follow?

img_0087-1Alternative Title: I Suck at Search

A few days ago, past me was be-bopping along, writing some posts (ahead of time, gasp!) and reading through the other blogs I follow.  And I thought, I need some new blogs to add to my reader feed.  So I’ll do a search and find some new and interesting and exciting blogs to follow.  Right?

Sigh.

Maybe it’s because my blog isn’t really a ‘niche’ blog.  Or maybe it’s because I’m interested in everything. (Except creepy crawlies – those can f*ck right off.)

I’m interested in photography, editing photographs, writing, blogging, creating, dungeons and dragons, painting miniatures, mandalas, stickers, self-publishing, running my own business, virtual reality – the list goes on and on.

But I have had no luck just doing searches on WordPress and trying to find other bloggers/writers to support and read.  I mean, I’ve found some that look interesting, but I feel like I must be missing a whole huge lot of them.

So – who do you follow?  Who’s funny? Who makes you think? Who posts pretty things?  I need AALLLLL the links!  Post them below – don’t forget to include your own blog so I can follow you too!

 

You Can’t Know Everything

You can’t know everything – a fact which frustrates me often. Take today, for example. I was doing some research to see what counted as views on my blog. Because WordPress has set up this fantastic Reader which lets me follow and comment on all the millions of blogs out there, so surely using it helps the people I’m following, right? And vice versa?

Turns out, not so much. From what I was able to find, the answer about whether it’s counted as view is – it depends. But essentially, unless I go to the actual URL of a blog/site, it probably isn’t counted as a view. Which I get. But then, why have the Reader? Convenience, sure, but is that enough?

So then I thought – well, what if I use Feedly (that’s still around, right? Or did I just date myself?) or some other RSS aggregator? That would count as view since I have to actually put in the blogs/sites I want to follow, surely.

Nope.

Viewing a site using RSS doesn’t count. I think.

You know, I’m an educated person and, I’d like to think, a fairly quick learner. But I can’t know everything. Dealing with the internet makes me think I have to. It seems like there is never a straight-forward answer, and what answers there are contain a bunch of jargon that I don’t understand.

With all the wonders the internet has provided (including memes and hilarious animal videos), following blogs I like all in one place, while also providing a view to those blogs doesn’t seem like a huge undertaking, does it? I’m not a tech person, so there’s probably nuances to this issue I don’t understand or haven’t thought of.

So, for now, this will have to be one of those topics that doesn’t make sense to me. I could spend more time doing research, but it will probably frustrate me and it’s not a topic I want to spend a lot of time on. I mean, views are nice, but they are not the reason I started this blog. I will use the Reader to follow other blogs that interest me, and I hope others are doing the same. If it doesn’t count as a view on my blog, it’s not the end of the world for me.

Organic growth is what I’m hoping for – that what I put out here has some value to others and that my writing speaks for itself. If it doesn’t, and it fails, then that’s another lesson for me, right?