From Holy Crap to Holy Cow

All this from used tires!

Or how to make Vodka Lemonade from a Pile of Used Tires

OK kind friends, let me start this post out by saying that I am not bitching and moaning (really) and this is a heartwarming story about how to look on the bright side of the ol crap pile.

I use WordPress (no secret sauce recipe there) and was using the theme Mystique until yesterday. I liked Mystique, I really did. Lightweight, cool and crisp it was such a nice theme that although I use Genesis or Elegant Themes on all of my other sites, I stuck with Mystique, a free theme, for PlannerWire.

I am a stickler for upgrading my stuff, notoriously on time, with Navy Seal precision (well, not as good as Seals, but pretty good none-the-less) and yesterday was no different. I got a notice that Mystique was ready for an upgrade so I clicked upgrade……….and that was the only mistake I made yesterday.

What happened would make most event marketers faint from fear, dive into a corner and cry for their webmaster……….but there is no need, ya just gotta keep your head.

You see, this little update was not just ANY update, you know those version 2.4 to 2.5…. those are incremental updates that do not have many changes. A bug fix here, a cosmetic thing there… just slapping on a coat of paint or putting in a new washer…..This was much more than that, This was 2.4 to 3.0………the dreaded version update.

Version updates suck. They are not incremental. They are a tearing down of the whole freaking house and putting up a McMansion in its place. This is not something you do on a whim my dear friends, you need a plan for that and I had just clicked the button without even knowing what I was in for. Ooops, My bad.

In defense of the fine folks that created the Mystique theme, they warned us, they told us, they probably even screamed from the top of the hills, the problem was, I was not listening…. I was just clicking my way through the day, happy and oblivious to the pain and suffering I was about to rain down on the residents of the Village of Keith.

I didn’t know until it was too late and even then I didn’t know. I was alerted by Twitter of all things. A post that I had scheduled for next week went live, I had scheduled it for the wrong day and I thought “oh shit” so I clicked through to the post (an accidental Sunday night music club song that I liked) to have a listen and that is when I saw the destruction…..

PlannerWire was a blazing inferno of mess…

All of the changes, all of the plugins, the fancy schmancy header… all of it GONE.

I had no plan, I was not ready and I certainly was stunned but those are excuses so I got to work.

I quickly found out what the issue was and cracked a diet coke to think for a second. Should I reinstall from my backup, should I jump from a bridge!!! What should I do!!!

And then it came to me. Just change the site to Genesis, that is what I have been waiting months to do anyway, just buckle down and get it done, this is an opportunity that has been handed to me on a silver platter, just do it.

I quietly hugged my son goodnight and figured I would be up until the wee hours but as I started to roll I realized a few things:

  • I know what I am doing
  • I know what I wanted
  • I know my plugins
  • I know how to do this thing

In short, I simply made the switch. I uploaded the theme, loaded some new plugins, rebuilt a page or two and got it done. All in about 45 minutes and now the site looks like it does today (which is not too different than it looked before). Better, faster and on a platform that I have been waiting to switch over to because I was afraid to make the leap because I did not want to mess anything up……

Now, there are some things that still need to be done of course. I hate my categories, I want to change the footer and add a few landing pages but those are not mission critical.

It took a messing up to make it better, not the other way around.

The moral of the story for meeting and event marketers and those that work on the websites of conferences, events and meeting, is this:

Do not wait because you are afraid to do something  you know how to do, just pick your time and your hour and make the switch because that is much better than having the time and the hour pick you.

You can do it, go forth and upgrade that site, change that thing that has been bugging you and do it now. Why wait, change is going to come anyway and it is better to have it on your terms.

Keith Johnston

Keith Johnston

Keith is the Managing Partner of i3 Events but is most widely known as the outspoken publisher of the event industry blog PlannerWire. In addition to co-hosting the Bullet List and Event Tech Pull Up Podcasts, he has been featured in Plan Your Meetings, Associations Now, Convene, Event Solutions, and has appeared on the cover of Midwest Meetings Magazine.

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