In this case it was not purl or perl... but coldfusion and Wordpress. There are just too many puns when it comes to the knitting community, but I just couldn't resist. Over the past few months I have had a full immersion into the world of knitwear design, Ravelry.com, self publishing, and the power of the blog.
In September and October I had the pleasure of working with my friend Gudrun Durham in the transition of her very successful knitwear blog into a full blown web site. She had been blogging at Blogger.com for quite a while and had built up quite a following. She creates her own patterns and has been successful at selling them to a worldwide audience of knitwear enthusiasts. With the help of Ravelry.com, she is able to easily manage the commerce end of things because they provide the shopping cart and the cut-n-paste code that allows knitters like her to put "buy" buttons on their own sites that link back into the Ravelry.
Here is the home page of TheShetlandTrader.com:
Gudrun's website was very enthusiastically adopted by her fans, and helped to launch her first self published book of knitwear designs - The Shetland Trader Book One.
What astounded me was how ravenous the other knitters online were... and this is a huge testament to the power of a good blog based on a niche topic. Hundreds of followers started commenting on the new site praising the simple and understated design, the photography, and many pledged their support for the new book. And they noticed something else... my signature at the bottom of the pages.
That led to a new client for me within two days of launching TheShetlandTrader.com. Wow!
I have now had the pleasure of working with another knitter and knitwear designer, Caryl Pierre.
Caryl lives in NYC and she also has worked the blogosphere building a following, selling her patterns and keeping her thread through the knitting community. She has a very successful pattern called Ruffle My Feathers and with that success she too decided that her Wordpress.com free blog was not enough to really grow her knitting into a full business.
I helped Caryl with her new company concept: CarylStyle. This involved developing a logo, business cards, and the new website. She also uses Ravelry.com to sell her patterns, and has successfully migrated her blog audience over to the new website format... which, of course still includes a blog.
Which leads me to the technical commonality of these two clients. Both come from the blogosphere, and so blogging is their lifeblood.... that is the main marketing activity that makes their businesses grow. But having a free blog on Blogger or Wordpress just doesn't communicate in a way that says "this is my professional enterprise."
Enter WordPress. After these two projects, I am really loving WP as a full blown CMS. There is so much more to Wordpress than blog. The plug-ins, widgets, and overall easy of use makes it a great way to build a website, and have a blog all in one package.
In addition to WP, I also installed one of the modules of my Coldfusion CMS, that allowed for a home page that the client can update outside of WP. I think that with a little more looking, I could do everything within WP, and I already have a few proposals out that will get me deeper into the Wordpress pimp role. Stay tuned!