The Smokey Wire Website Renovation and Current Financial Status

Thanks to David Beebe for reminding me that I had not kept everyone up to speed on how the Smokey Wire renovation project was coming.

First, I’d like  to thank all of our contributors.  I have not gotten a chance to thank each one personally, and some of you have offered to give more.  I appreciate that greatly but have been waiting for others to step up before I accept your generous offers.

The story is a bit confusing because we had a general goal (renovate website), and got caught up in crises (WordPress 5.0 transition and site being shut down due to malware). Between the asterisks** are the technical details.

**Bluehost is the hosting service and charges $155.88 per year, plus $15.99 per year for the domain There has been a site redirect every year with WordPress, for our “old stuff” to be linked to the site. This is $13.  So it used to cost $184 (not $300, that was before we switched to, and I never changed the widget). We have never received more than $100 a year in donations, prior to this year.

However, this year, we discovered that we needed to switch to WordPress 5.0, and our theme was no longer supported. I could see the handwriting on the wall that we needed a renovation.  I called a few people and got the estimate of $3K for updating, getting a better search function, and other tweaks.

Here’s where the urgency began.  While Gil and I were on a WordPress 5.0 seminar, we figured out that we needed a separate backup to the Bluehost backup (so that’s $40/year for Jetpack/Vaultpress).  I also tried to do some troubleshooting with Bluehost and coincidentally (I try to not be suspicious) they discovered the site had malware and shut it down (first shutdown in nine years). I wasn’t in a good negotiating posture, as the site was down, and I had no idea how to clean out the malware, so signed up for Sitelock malware protection, which is $40 a month.  You’re right that’s $480 a year, and I had to sign up for a year.  That’s more than twice the cost of the whole rest of the $184 plus $40 for Jetpack.

After the crisis blew over, we needed to copy our site onto another location so we could test it with WordPress 5 to see if it would work.  At that point, I decided that we needed a pro, so we hired one to do the minimal fixes to test the website on WordPress 5 and make sure it worked, then get us a new theme (a free one) and a donation button.  This cost $292.50 but is a one-time thing.**

So here is how much it is going to cost this year, and possibly recurring if I can’t find something cheaper and as good as Sitelock. $224 plus $480 or $704.

Right now, it has cost $704 plus $292.50 or $996.50. And we have brought in $515.

I’d like to get a donation widget that shows when we are in the hole, but that would cost more for web design 🙁 , unless I updated it by hand).

I would still like to redesign the website, get a better search capability for most users (contributors have a pretty good one), and have the old content moved from WordPress so we don’t have to pay the $18 per year to store it there.  I would also like to apply for 501c3 status, which is $275, as we might be able to bring in grants for specific purposes. Or, at least, those of us who contribute could write it off.

Bottom line, the above, albeit perhaps TMI, was offered in the spirit of transparency.  If you would like to contribute, contribute more, or have cost-saving suggestions, those would all be appreciated.  We depend on the community not only for content, but for keeping the electrons flowing.

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