This will either work, or it won’t. There’s only one way to find out.
I now have a blog, design portfolio, print shop, and vintage shop all using different Content Management Systems (CMS). Normally when building a website I would pick one CMS to house all of my content. Instead, I have purposefully chosen to make my life more difficult in order to squeeze the most referral traffic I can from a handful of platforms.
I simply could have chosen something like Squarespace to manage it all from one admin. The problem is, I haven’t had a website in years. The content would be easy to present and manage, but I need an accelerated way of getting visitors to my content… a jump start to get all the wheels in motion.
I’m going to start by summarizing what I’m doing and in the near future, I will be writing in-depth articles on how to get each setup.
Purpose: I’m writing for a few reasons. First, writing is something I feel benefits anyone. To empty your thoughts on a page, provide value, or share an experience with others to learn from; it’s important. Second, it will likely bring visibility to my other properties – the things I make money from.
CMS: I chose WordPress because it’s dependable and it offers a wealth of useful plugins. It took only minutes to get the blog up and a few hours more to customize the theme I chose. To be honest, the most frustration came from trying to find a decent plugin for those damn social share icons.
Purpose: Purely selfish. I love making prints and I think you should head to my shop and buy some.
CMS(s): I’m using two tools to drive my print shop, and the expenses are minimal. Storenvy powers my e-commerce storefront. It’s free and relatively simple to use. The main reason I chose Storenvy is because of its community. People can search products on Storenvy by keyword and wind up on one of my products. The products themselves are printed using Printful. The print quality is excellent and even better, it integrates with Storenvy. This means I don’t need to hold inventory myself. When someone sees something they like on my Storenvy shop and places an order, it’s sent to Printful where they print, package the items with my branding, and ship it to the customer.
Purpose: If I’m going to be writing about design and giving advice about using design to start businesses or create income, I better show proof of experience.
CMS: My portfolio content is managed from Behance, a massive community for designers to share their work and be discovered. I think I may have actually smiled about how simple it was to add my content. Content preparation for portfolios will always be painful, but it wasn’t so much this time. My portfolio site linked above uses Adobe Portfolio, a new portfolio service included in an Adobe Creative Cloud plan. Adobe Portfolio integrates with Behance so that your projects sync between the two services. This is great because people can discover my work from on Behance or view it from my site and the content will always be in sync. My experience with Adobe Portfolio was magical. After logging in for the first time, I already noticed my projects from Behance were synced. All I had to do was choose a template to start from and seconds later there was a live, presentable portfolio. Adobe Portfolio isn’t perfect, though. I spent some time customizing the theme to match it up with my site and discovered a few things along the way that could be improved. I’ll write about those in a more in-depth review.
Purpose: Some of the most valuable lessons I have learned are from designers and creators of the past. My online vintage shop, MCIA or Mid-Century Intelligence Agency, is one way I have been able to share great design with others. It has proven to be a very rewarding side income for me.
CMS: Currently when you visit the MCIA website, you’ll hit a coming soon page. The shop is not complete, but will launch early 2016. At the moment, my plan is to build out the site using Squarespace. I chose Squarespace because it’s a beautifully designed platform that integrates with Stripe. Setting up a shop with Squarespace and adding in additional pages or a blog in the future would likely be painless.
So far, it’s been less than a week since launching my site and some traffic has already come from the community driven sources I’m using. While I don’t recommend complicating your life by learning a variety of content management systems, it does has a few benefits. Traffic being one, but also if in the future I choose to remove one of these web properties, I can do so without causing a domino effect. Not only that, since my content is hosted in various places, people will always be able to view my content in the event one has downtime. Time will really tell if this experiment is a success or failure.