We did not know what we did not know.
People often ask us the question, what does it take to have a successful business and/or food blog? We do not have all of the answers, but we thought we’d open the door to you and share a few of the hard-learned lessons along the way. On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, our blog will be just that. In fact, Friday’s post is one we’ve been eagerly waiting to share with you for awhile—like a kid keeping mom’s birthday gift a secret—we are really excited to spring this one on you!
Wilson and I absolutely love providing the best information and products to you all, and we knew that an online platform would be the best fit for such a niche audience—let’s face it—us do-it-yourselfers live everywhere. You might be in the sunny metropolis of Miami, Florida, or on Route 66 near Miami, Oklahoma.
Far and wide, there is a revival of the tastebuds and a growing prudence to “putting food away”. That is our goal and mission.
The internet side of things is the vehicle. Like the cars in your driveway, you are happiest when they hum so quietly you barely notice them. Websites are the same—no news is good news.
Our website launched September 11, 2011 and so we have been doing this less than a year. Those first few months were rocky, to say the least. We went with a common host provider but our service could not withstand the crowd coming through the “front door” of our website in moments when someone like James Wesley Rawles or Jenny from Nourished Kitchen might mention our excellent products and customer service.
Our website would temporarily go offline and it seemed to happen with more frequency. It reminded me of my old Aunt Velma’s car…the thing was temperamental. That 75 lb little old lady with the bright red lipstick was known to hurl a few choice words and insults at that car, to which it frequently purred into submission.
Choice words and insults aside, it was stressful to have the unpredictability of a crashing website when our customers deserved better. In a moment of desperate whining, I shot off an email to Jill Winger from The Prairie Homestead.
She sent an email back that changed the course of our website; she said that she had recently made the switch to Homestead Host, a little “mom and pop” that gave outrageously excellent customer service. I wasn’t so sure.
We sent off an email saying that, since our website had been offline for 2 full days, we had a bit of an emergency and would like to talk about their services. I clicked “send” and stared at the phone. Less than 5 minutes later, it rang. “Hello, this is Erin from Homestead Host.”
We’ve never looked back, and our website has never again crashed. When there are traffic spikes, she catches it and adjusts things accordingly. She offers advice, has caught a few errors on our part, and has improved our website performance drastically. Oh, and she writes a fantastic homesteading blog called Homestead Geek! You saw her as our guest blogger with "All Natural Cleaning Ingredients for the Sustainable Household".
Check out her blog and her webhosting services if you yourself have contemplated (or currently own) a website or blog of any kind. It was one of the best decisions we have made to-date with Pantry Paratus.
It all begins with the support team. You do not go cheap with doctors, lawyers—or web professionals. If you want our suggestion for a designer that listens to you, this one is ours. We recommend FLINT out of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.