March 19, 2019

The Rest of the Story

I wrote in January about problems with my website, The Homeschool Resource Roadmap, and how I'd seen some spiritual billboards leading me toward a counterintuitive path going forward. Two months later, I'm ready to tell the rest of the story.

I'd initially thought that finding Jonathan, the owner of All Unlimited Design, was God's answer for The Roadmap; in fact, were someone to ask me to recommend a Wordpress web host, I'd send them to Jonathan in a heartbeat. But, as it turns out, Jonathan's help - and he really was a blessing - confirmed an idea I'd been mulling over for some time, namely that I needed to leave my Wordpress site and move The Roadmap over to a new, simpler Blogger space instead.

Of course, that's not how burgeoning businesses "should" operate. I had a growing presence with a one-of-a-kind website - the Wordpress version of The Roadmap had accrued over 212,000 site hits in less than four years' time and I was making some (not much but some) money via my subscriptions - so I "should" have been working to learn marketing and otherwise increase the site's reach. And I wanted to do that. But I was completely buried in the work it took to simply update the site's constantly glitching files on a continuously "improving" platform - when I reached my breaking point with January's malfunction, I was totally overwhelmed at the prospect of tackling the several hundred updates staring me in the face - and had neither the time nor mental bandwidth to take it further.

For several months, I'd been "hearing" a prompt within my spirit to simplify - to make everything on the site free and abandon the complicated, bells-and-whistles Wordpress in favor of a sleek and efficient new version on Blogger, where I've maintained personal blogs since 2008 and where I'd also developed a little informational website in 2018. I kept resisting, thinking it would be crazy to "go backwards" (i.e., "everyone" says that Wordpress is the way to go for professional business sites). But when even Jonathan - a Wordpress expert - struggled to rectify the site's problems, I knew God (as is so often true of Him!) wanted me to trust and obey, as the old hymn says, and go against the cultural norm.

So I've been working hard since then, first to design an alternate version of The Roadmap on Blogger (complete with new URL) and then to migrate some old content and load a bunch of new content using better formats than I'd had before. This, too, was time-consuming. But it was also exciting because I could see a light at the end of the tunnel. And God gave me both peace and motivation through the entire process.

I was able to announce the official launch of the new platform on March 8, 2019, exactly six years after I'd started the research project that eventually grew into this endeavor. I maintain the old URL under Jonathan's protection, but searches for The Roadmap are now all redirected to the new site. And I'm really pleased with its new functionality, which is totally free (!), much more user-friendly than before, and a breeze to update as needed.

Being financially compensated for my work would be nice (1 Timothy 5.18) - I have, after all, developed a unique and really useful product for homeschoolers - but ever since I sent my first query letter, I've wanted to bless my fellow homeschoolers, so I'm at peace in now offering everything on The Roadmap for free. And I have confidence that God will bring about a means to receive remuneration in due time.

In the meantime, I'm resting in the ease with which I can now keep up - I've already made a few tweaks and some updates so I know that to be true - and taking on a new project of sorts: regaining a sense of balance in my life so I can do more than work on Roadmap files in my free time. Having a better product for less hassle is certainly a wonderful place to be.

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