Yesterday, Jim told his version of the story about how we created and launched this site in a single weekend. He’s right; this was no easy feat for either of us.
A great deal of collaboration had to take place to move all the “She Said, He Said” blog posts from JimRaffel.com (where they first started) to a brand new site with a different WordPress theme framework and child theme. As Jim pointed out, he handled the more technical aspects of the job while I worked on the design, content and navigation points. (No matter what he says, I certainly do more than just make things pretty.)
At the end of our three-day ordeal, it was quite satisfying to see SheHeMedia.com launched that Monday morning in January. This experience proved a few things to me.
WordPress can be a successful, collaborative system
I’ve been working with WordPress for years upon years. With every new version, theme framework, child theme and plugin that is released, I am more and more impressed by the ability to build and maintain a website run by many.
When Jim and I were putting together this site, it was more than a little convenient that we could both be logged in and working on different aspects of the site. Our goal was to be fast and efficient while still creating a site that was attractive and easy to navigate. After going through the process, it’s clear to me that this was not meant to be a one-person job.
Yes, it was great that we had seven months’ worth of content to migrate to this site, but that did make our task that much more time-consuming. While I was re-editing old posts and formatting them for the new framework and theme, Jim was diligently working on the technicalities. Being able to work on a site simultaneously is one of WordPress’s greatest features.
You should take advantage of the WordPress tools
Like most other WordPress users and developers, Jim and I are constantly finding new ways to collaborate on our WordPress sites. There are countless child themes and plugins (and many of them are free) that you can use in your daily workflow.
One of the WordPress plugins we took advantage of when we created SheHeMedia.com was Edit Flow. We learned about this plugin last November when we attended and spoke at WordCamp Detroit. A fellow speaker and attendee made us aware of Edit Flow and, in my opinion, it has drastically changed (for the better) the way that we conduct our blogging on three different WordPress sites.
Edit Flow allows us to create an editorial calendar and share post statuses back and forth so we know where the post is in the editorial process. You can customize your statuses but we normally use “Pending Review,” “Edited,” and “Scheduled.” It also allows for editorial comments so that if we have a question or suggestion, it is all recorded within the post itself. We set it up so that status changes and comments are automatically emailed to us as well.
There are many, many more WordPress tools you can find to help you with collaboration (I also have recently used a pretty cool slideshow plugin for a client), but Edit Flow is probably the one we use the most.
Your collaboration is only as good as your collaborators
Yes, Jim and I have told you before that our partnership is unique. We agree sometimes, disagree a lot of the time, banter, joke, plan and produce. Somehow through all that, we manage to run two virtual businesses together. I won’t lie. This takes a lot of communication, a lot of time and a lot of patience.
But what if I told you – in regard to the creation of this website in a mere three days – that Jim and I were never in each others’ physical presence? From that Friday until the site launched on Monday, our communication – our collaboration – was mostly through email and texts, with two or three phone calls. That’s some serious collaborative effort, folks.
The message I want to leave you with is when you’re considering collaborative efforts on your blog/website – WordPress or otherwise – is to make sure your collaborators really are just that. There is no team effort if you can’t count on your team members. I’m lucky enough that I can.
What about you? Do you collaborate on a website or blog? How do you do it and what tools do you use?