The HTTS Site Update, Issues, and Changes

What’s Already Changed

Let me address this first, because this was the reason I went out hunting for new site software in the first place, and WHY I’m doing this now, instead of later.

Margaret, who has been helping me run the site for the past seven years, has been experiencing problems with her health for the last several.

However, for the last year or so, working on the site—which for her was supposed to have been just putting together plugins for me from time to time, and doing tricky bits in the databases when students needed to have their usernames changed—became a never-ending, gruelling push for both of us to get everything off the outdated and unsupported software on which I’d originally built classes, and into one big classroom I could keep up with.

I looked for ready-made software that did what I needed it to do, but at the time, there was nothing that met my needs. And I looked everywhere.  Bought a bunch of membership software that I tested, and that failed massively on one or several points.

I found the basic plugins I’m currently using, and Margaret started upgrading them to the course delivery needs of classes like How To Think Sideways, which is complex and getting moreso with every upgrade I add to it.

Her health and the workload got worse. At a point where I realized neither of us was ever going to be free of keeping the NEW software up with things like WordPress upgrades and the changes those require, I started looking for different software again.

This time I found ONE piece of software that actually met every single one of my extensive requirements straight out of the box. I got it.

Margaret helped me set up the DEV site, but then stepped down. Her health and the workload were too much of a conflict.

She’s going to get back to her writing and work on her own business, and I’m delighted for her.

What This Means

You’ll note my mention of how Margaret did tricky bits with the databases. 

Like changing usernames.

Putting multiple user accounts created by one person into single accounts.

I don’t do this.

And neither does the new software.

And I’m not going to be replacing Margaret.

I’ve found software that does what I need as it stands, and I’ve decided that if I need something that it doesn’t do, I’ll do without.

As much as Margaret needed to get out of the site maintenance business, I need to get out of the “having cool new ideas for software that doesn’t exist yet” business.

I’ve hired forum moderator and database expert Watson Davis to move the existing databases into the new software, but this is a one-time thing.

If you have multiple accounts, I can fix this for you BEFORE we move onto the new software. Margaret created a tool for this.

Create a ticket at the help desk, give me all the details about your multiple accounts (except for passwords—I don’t need ’em, and you must NEVER tell anyone your passwords), the courses you’ve purchase, your usernames and email addresses including your PayPal email address, in case I have to connect disconnected classes to, and anything else that will help me find you and get everything you own in one place.

I cannot do anything about usernames.

If you have pre-existing (meaning they already existed before I sent out this email) multiple accounts and one of them has a username you like, and another one has a username you hate, I can, UNTIL WE MOVE TO THE NEW SOFTWARE, move all your courses into the account with the username you like.

This is not an opportunity to create a new account with a different username and ask me to move you. I won’t. I can’t.

I’m buried in the site move. I cannot do anything else until I get us onto the new software because only Margaret is familiar with the existing software, she is the only person on the planet who can do customer service on it, and she’s not in good enough health to do that.

So if WordPress or PHP move to a new version before I can get us moved, or if something breaks, we’re going to end up stranded.

 

The Inconveniences

The forum and shop are going to be closed for a day prior to the database move, so that no posts disappear. There’s no other way we can do this.

The site with the new software is going to be locked down for up to two days  while we do the upgrade, and then the live test payment processors, purchase-to-class linkage, and other critical infrastructure to make sure people get their purchases when they pay for them. We’ll keep this as short as possible, but I have to know people will get what they’re paying for before I re-open the doors.

Right after the new site goes live, there’s going to be a period of time (as short as I can make it) where the forums are not connected to their correct classes. There is no way to connect them until the databases move, and once we move, I then have to go through the new forum, find each board, and connect the board to the right classroom. Until I do this, you won’t be able to reach the forum. There are a LOT of boards and sub-boards. This will take time.

With many classes, there are individual discussion topics connected to the classrooms. HTTS is a major example of this, but so is Mugging the Muse. Each of these links has to be reset.

All of the forum links will change. This means most of the links in most of the courses I’ve ever done will break. I have a plugin that should help me find these broken links and forward them to the correct new links, but this will take Mark and me time.

 

Most of the links on the site are going to change. If you’ve been relying on bookmarks, you’ll probably need to go through and delete a lot of them.

This will be annoying, but the dust will settle, and everything will start working smoothly.

The Good Stuff

I have my older son Mark helping me set up the new site.

He’ll be staying on part-time, adding pages for new courses, setting up new books and classes, connecting forums, forwarding links, and picking up student support/customer service where he can, which will free me up to write more.

More books. More stories. And more upgrades, courses, classes, and workshops.

For me, this will be the biggest change. I’ve never had someone work on the website front-end with me before.

For you, the biggest changes will probably be the addition of Stripe (US/Canada only) and Authorize.net (most places), both of which process credit cards, which means you no longer have ONLY PayPal as an option.

My focus this time is on making the site easy to navigate, and very easy to join and use.

 

  • All products will come with permanent on-page downloads (including ebooks).
  • You’ll be signed into the forums that go with your classes when you sign into the site.
  • If you’re eligible for discounts (if you are an HTTS ULTRA or HTRYN student, for example), these discounts will show up for you automatically on the page, as long as you’re signed in.

The Date? The Site Downtime?

I have a hard date I’m shooting for, but I don’t want to say it until I know I can hit it.

It won’t be this month.

But as soon as I can make it happen. I’ll send out emails when I know for sure so you’ll know when the site will be unavailable.

Customer service/student support is on a different site and will not be affected by any of this.

Meanwhile, write with joy.

Holly

image_pdfDownload as PDFimage_printPrint Page

About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

3 comments… add one
  • Jeanne Thelwell Sep 3, 2013 @ 5:40

    Do what works best for you, Holly. You and Margaret have always been extremely prompt in responding to tickets. I’m terribly sorry to hear that Margaret’s health has suffered; please give her all my best.

  • shawna Sep 1, 2013 @ 14:53

    Wow… thank you for the update. Been hoping everything was OK with you, since it was so quiet.

    I look forward to the changes – seems like I spend more time going around in circles looking for the pages I want then I do actually using them.

    And please, share what software you’ve found that seems to be the ideal? Or if you’re not willing to post publicly, may I email you and inquire? I have an idea for a membership site of my own, but though Wordpress and I get along fairly well, learning how to build a membership site seems pretty intimidating.

  • Michelle Aug 27, 2013 @ 15:36

    Hope the site upgrade goes as well as it can, Holly.
    And can you please pass on to Margaret my best wishes and I hope she beats the health blues soon. I only needed to contact her once, but she is brilliant and she has the same weird sense of humour I do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.